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Saturday, September 24, 2011

S.I.: Sheehan: The Moneyball revolution from someone who helped it happen

Given that, we were taken aback when Federal Express delivered a letter…

The revolution is over. Well, that one, anyway. The new ideas earned a place at the table on merit, by being good ideas that contribute to winning baseball games. While I’m no capital-S stathead, I was fortunate enough to work at Baseball Prospectus for a dozen years alongside some of the best in the field, from Clay Davenport and Gary Huckabay, through Rany Jazayerli and Keith Woolner, through Dan Fox and Nate Silver.

...All of this probably happens without Prospectus. The ideas were too important and there was too much money to be made for them not to become the way in which baseball teams were run. Nevertheless, Prospectus happened, and became the way in which many people within the industry were introduced to these ideas. Prospectus was, for a time, the center of the stathead world, publishing research that would set the discussion for years to come, that would change the way players were evaluated. Fielding Independent Pitching ERA shows up on the MLB Network. Felix Hernandez is honored with a Cy Young Award with 13 wins. Every team has a Peter Brand or three, collecting, parsing and presenting data, gaining credibility every time a defensive shift or pitch sequence or lineup change puts a W on the board.

Moneyball captures the tipping point in that revolution, when a team embraced something new because it had to, and won a lot of games because of it. I’m proud to have been a part of the history. The smoke has cleared and the guns have been laid down, and I’m excited to see what will come now that so much less energy is being spent drawing lines between two sides that both want the same thing: great baseball.

Repoz Posted: September 24, 2011 at 03:10 AM | 66 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: books, community, history, media, sabermetrics, site news

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   1. Walt Davis Posted: September 24, 2011 at 03:35 AM (#3934546)
The revolution will not be televised ... it will be made into a movie starring Brad Pitt!
   2. God Posted: September 24, 2011 at 03:43 AM (#3934551)
I know these guys don't write their own headlines, but Joe should probably ask his editor for a headline that doesn't make him look like a complete a-hole.
   3. Don Malcolm Posted: September 24, 2011 at 03:48 AM (#3934555)
I know these guys don't write their own headlines, but Joe should probably ask his editor for a headline that doesn't make him look like a complete a-hole.

I blame YOU, God...damn it, you're supposed to intervene in these situations!
   4. LionoftheSenate (Pirates v A's World Series) Posted: September 24, 2011 at 04:00 AM (#3934564)
The Stats guys certainly shaped the game. Now they can go back to their mom's basement, the scouts will take it from here - Keith Law
reductio ad absurdum version of a scout.
   5. tshipman Posted: September 24, 2011 at 04:13 AM (#3934570)
Joe Sheehan sure does have a fine opinion of himself. By the way, hasn't B-Pro been mostly passed by? What is their legacy? Pitcher Abuse Points? PECOTA?

All the interesting stuff was Nate's work, and he does politics now.
   6. Robert in Manhattan Beach Posted: September 24, 2011 at 04:14 AM (#3934571)
Wake me when the Moneyball circle jerk is over. How ridiculous.
   7. SoSHially Unacceptable Posted: September 24, 2011 at 04:18 AM (#3934574)

DePodesta, who himself advanced to GM of the Dodgers and helped build division winners in Los Angeles before being scapegoated by an owner desperate to curry favor with the craven local media.


Division winner. And he didn't contribute a whole lot to the division titles won during Ned's reign.
   8. Dan Posted: September 24, 2011 at 04:24 AM (#3934577)
Division winner. And he didn't contribute a whole lot to the division titles won during Ned's reign.


Yeah, Andruw Jones, Juan Pierre, and Jason Schmidt had a lot more to do with those. Ned really turned the team around after that DePodesta bum was run out of town.
   9. LionoftheSenate (Pirates v A's World Series) Posted: September 24, 2011 at 04:24 AM (#3934578)
DePodesta was a bust. Just as the Josh Byrnes admistration was a bust.
   10. SoSHially Unacceptable Posted: September 24, 2011 at 04:35 AM (#3934586)
Yeah, Andruw Jones, Juan Pierre, and Jason Schmidt had a lot more to do with those. Ned really turned the team around after that DePodesta bum was run out of town.


You may have to point out where I said Ned's done some kind of super-terrific job (or that Depo should have been run out of town - he clearly wasn't given enough time). I was merely noting that Joe's commment about division titles was wrong, and that Depo didn't have much of a hand with the division titles they won a few years later (if that's what he was getting at). The organizational products were brought in during the previous management's tenure and the MLB moves had already been largely shuffled out of the organization.
   11. God Posted: September 24, 2011 at 04:47 AM (#3934592)
Regarding DePodesta, unless one has a gigantic ax to grind, it seems fairly obvious that 18 months, and only one off-season, is not nearly enough time to call a GM either a success or a failure.
   12. LionoftheSenate (Pirates v A's World Series) Posted: September 24, 2011 at 05:07 AM (#3934599)
11# God you are right. I forgot to sign it "Keith Law - Scout, Reductio ad Absurdum"
   13. Robert in Manhattan Beach Posted: September 24, 2011 at 05:33 AM (#3934604)
Regarding DePodesta, unless one has a gigantic ax to grind, it seems fairly obvious that 18 months, and only one off-season, is not nearly enough time to call a GM either a success or a failure.

If you get yourself fired from a job before you've really even had a chance to do anything, it was a failure. Glad I could clear that up for you.
   14. Shock Posted: September 24, 2011 at 05:57 AM (#3934613)

Wake me when the Moneyball circle jerk is over. How ridiculous.


Ah yes, if there's one term I'd use to describe the theme of the articles posted here, circle jerk would be it...
   15. KT's Pot Arb Posted: September 24, 2011 at 07:22 AM (#3934629)
DePodesta was a bust. Just as the Josh Byrnes admistration was a bust.


Well, Josh's team just won another division title.

And I'm pretty sure the cleanup work on the Dodgers payroll and key players Depo brought in didn't help Colletti much.
   16. Jolly Old St. Nick Still Gags in October Posted: September 24, 2011 at 11:00 AM (#3934646)
Sometimes it's hard to separate the insights of "moneyball"** from all the hype, but wasn't it pretty obvious right from the git-go that as soon as its principles became recognized by teams with bigger payrolls, its long term advantages to teams like Oakland could be negated?

I remember a thread here 9 or 10 years ago where the topic was which team was going to have the best record over the next 5 years, and IIRC more people picked the Braves and the Mariners than picked the Yankees. At the time*** the Yankees were at the height of their "let's throw money at the problem" phase, but when it was pointed out that there was nothing to prevent the Yankees from hiring Billy Beanes of their own, or from letting Cashman have more autonomy over signings, it didn't seem to register.

The point here obviously isn't that the principles behind "moneyball" (looking for market inefficiencies) aren't sound, or that if new inefficiencies can be discovered, they can't help small and mid-market franchises compete for a few years, especially in weak divisions. The point has always been that when the big market teams catch on to these principles, you're going to be pretty much right back where you started when it comes to which teams are going to rise to the top and which teams are going to remain stuck at the bottom in the overwhelming majority of years.

And where does that leave us compared to (say) the time when Branch Rickey developed the farm system in order to enable the Cardinals to compete with the Giants? Or when Clark Griffith managed to keep the Senators in perennial first division contention for over 20 years? In the long run, how is "moneyball" really going to change the balance of power within the game? Or to put it another way, how is it anything more than a realization that all other things being equal, it's better to be smart than stupid?

**put in quotation marks in order to distinguish it from the book or the movie, not for purposes of disparagement

***I'm almost certain it was the 2001-02 offseason, hence all the swallowing of the Mariners' Kool-Aid
   17. SG Posted: September 24, 2011 at 02:58 PM (#3934720)
I know these guys don't write their own headlines, but Joe should probably ask his editor for a headline that doesn't make him look like a complete a-hole.


I'm fairly certain the title fits the author.
   18. Forsch 10 From Navarone (Dayn) Posted: September 24, 2011 at 03:22 PM (#3934737)
If you get yourself fired from a job before you've really even had a chance to do anything, it was a failure. Glad I could clear that up for you.

And how did he get himself fired from that job?
   19. Lassus Posted: September 24, 2011 at 03:34 PM (#3934746)
If you get yourself fired from a job before you've really even had a chance to do anything, it was a failure by the people who hired you. Glad I could clear that up for you.
   20. Bob Tufts Posted: September 24, 2011 at 03:45 PM (#3934762)
St. Nick - the same line of thought regarding competitive balance applies to building new stadia to enhance revenue streams. If all teams get a new park, we are back where we started.

I'd prefer to put the book in the broader context of advancing the quantification of compensation and production, which is always a good business idea.
   21. Rickey! In a van on 95 south... Posted: September 24, 2011 at 03:54 PM (#3934767)
I'm glad Sheehan agreed to come down from the heavens and grant us his insights. Else, no one would have ever known how to do math.
   22. Gaelan Posted: September 24, 2011 at 04:06 PM (#3934778)
I know these guys don't write their own headlines, but Joe should probably ask his editor for a headline that doesn't make him look like a complete a-hole.


Not to pile on but if there was anyone that seems like a complete ####### it is Sheehan. He's impossible to read without wanting to punch in the face. I have never seen a greater discrepancy between someone's actual intelligence and his own estimation of that intelligence. He represents everything that is wrong about saberists.
   23. Jolly Old St. Nick Still Gags in October Posted: September 24, 2011 at 04:11 PM (#3934780)
St. Nick - the same line of thought regarding competitive balance applies to building new stadia to enhance revenue streams. If all teams get a new park, we are back where we started.

No argument there. The only real real variables are money and brains, with "moneyball" insights being but one variant of the latter. Without money, unless you're in a weak or braindead division you're going to be hard pressed to be able to compete for more than a few years in a row. Without brains you'd better have Yankee-level money to throw around. And without either you're pretty much stuck with being the butt of Yankee Redneck's zingers.

I'd prefer to put the book in the broader context of advancing the quantification of compensation and production, which is always a good business idea.

It is indeed, but unless you're in a weak division its advantages are only temporary if other teams catch on, or until NFL-style revenue sharing kicks in and you've got a much more level playing field.
   24. Forsch 10 From Navarone (Dayn) Posted: September 24, 2011 at 04:16 PM (#3934784)
He's impossible to read without wanting to punch in the face.

This sounds like your problem.
   25. Rickey! In a van on 95 south... Posted: September 24, 2011 at 04:16 PM (#3934785)
Not to pile on but if there was anyone that seems like a complete ####### it is Sheehan.


I bears noting that Sheehan's role in the early days of BP was to be the guy that non-statheads would likely read. He was basically the Jim Rome of that crowd, by my recollection.
   26. Dan Posted: September 24, 2011 at 04:18 PM (#3934786)
The point here obviously isn't that the principles behind "moneyball" (looking for market inefficiencies) aren't sound, or that if new inefficiencies can be discovered, they can't help small and mid-market franchises compete for a few years, especially in weak divisions. The point has always been that when the big market teams catch on to these principles, you're going to be pretty much right back where you started when it comes to which teams are going to rise to the top and which teams are going to remain stuck at the bottom in the overwhelming majority of years.


It will be interesting to see how long the Rays can keep fielding competitive teams in the AL East. They certainly seem primed to extend it for at least 3-4 more seasons with a rotation of Shields - Price - Hellickson - Moore and Davis or Niemann. They've also got Longoria, Jennings, and Zobrist locked up for several more years. If any team is going to have an extended "moneyballing" run, it'll be the Rays. They should be a good litmus test for seeing just how sustainable success is for a low payroll team when you're doing most things right.
   27. Robert in Manhattan Beach Posted: September 24, 2011 at 04:21 PM (#3934787)
18 & 19 are funny. As always, no accountability, just the man keeping him down. GM is a PR job too, and he failed that aspect of the job in a comically awful fashion.
   28. tshipman Posted: September 24, 2011 at 04:24 PM (#3934791)
It will be interesting to see how long the Rays can keep fielding competitive teams in the AL East. They certainly seem primed to extend it for at least 3-4 more seasons with a rotation of Shields - Price - Hellickson - Moore and Davis or Niemann. They've also got Longoria, Jennings, and Zobrist locked up for several more years. If any team is going to have an extended "moneyballing" run, it'll be the Rays. They should be a good litmus test for seeing just how sustainable success is for a low payroll team when you're doing most things right.


It's funny because Evan Longoria is basically Eric Chavez before Chavez decided to get injured all the time.
   29. Robert in Manhattan Beach Posted: September 24, 2011 at 04:27 PM (#3934798)
The Rays are good because they churn out good young players. When that stops, they'll stop being good. And despite what Moneyball sold you, thats the reason the A's got good for awhile, and that's why they stopped being good.
   30. Forsch 10 From Navarone (Dayn) Posted: September 24, 2011 at 04:30 PM (#3934800)
GM is a PR job too, and he failed that aspect of the job in a comically awful fashion.

What are your recollections of his most grievous PR errors?
   31. ray james Posted: September 24, 2011 at 04:37 PM (#3934808)
This is an unbelievable statement by Sheehan:

Prospectus was, for a time, the center of the stathead world, publishing research that would set the discussion for years to come,


I mean, I don't even know how to reply to that. If BP never existed, I doubt things would have been any different by 1 iota. How did it "set the discussion"?

Maybe he's referring to the annuals, but all the annuals are is an expanded version of James' player section in his old abstracts and the basic information is available elsewhere. I also don't think the BP annuals are all that well written, unlike James' stuff.
   32. Robert in Manhattan Beach Posted: September 24, 2011 at 04:47 PM (#3934822)
30 - man, take your pick. Would you say he did a good job of getting out in front of the LaDoca story? Constantly talked passed the local media and alienated them (the same idiots Coletti has wrapped around his little finger by just playing along a little). If you were smart you could see he was doing some good things but that message wasn't getting out there.
   33. cardsfanboy Posted: September 24, 2011 at 04:54 PM (#3934836)
I love the prospectus annual, but the second BP went behind a paywall it became irrelevant to the "movement" as a whole. Them going behind the paywall was pretty much guaranteeing their work will never become completely accepted in the mainstream. Without the ability to peer review their stuff, nobody bothered to forward their work, link their work or barely acknowledged what they were doing except to criticize their obvious failures such as their defensive numbers. I personally heard of Warp/EQA long before I heard of War or wOBA, but War has become the stat of choice because it was able to be refined/designed based upon tons of research from outside sources.
   34. Bob Tufts Posted: September 24, 2011 at 04:57 PM (#3934839)
The Rays are good because they churn out good young players. When that stops, they'll stop being good


Perhaps we should examine how they are able to do so. How do they draft, how do they shorten the time players spend in the minors to get ready, how do they get more production out of players pre-arbitration and pre-free agency, developing left handed pitchers like Price and Moore as opposed to having to pay the premium for a Santana, Sabathia or Lee required in the free agent market....

Churning out good young players - is it an accident or a process that can be managed?
   35. Steve Treder Posted: September 24, 2011 at 04:58 PM (#3934840)
FWIW, here was my THT take on DePodesta, the LoDuca trade, and so on. The short version: just because ownership is rotten doesn't mean the GM is blameless.

But, of course, there was quite a bit more to it than that. The Dodger GM who pulled this off was young Paul DePodesta, a rookie in the role, and a former protégé of Billy Beane in Oakland. DePodesta's brash "sabermetric" approach to things had already stirred up a whirlwind of defensiveness and derision in the LA sports media. Trading LoDuca, a huge media favorite, turned that whirlwind into a firestorm. Managing relations with the press is, like it or not, a major part of any GM's job, and DePodesta, already off to a bad start in that regard, was splashing gasoline all over himself here.

Moreover, it's apparent that DePodesta wasn't doing too well on the making-friends front within the Dodger organization, either. Most importantly he didn't get along with field manager Tracy, another media favorite. Tracy appeared to be displeased with the acquisition of Choi, and deployed the big-swinging young power hitter in a manner that appeared almost intended to cause him to fail: this wasn't good for Choi, it wasn't good for the team, and given that the media sided with Tracy in his too-obvious organizational dispute with DePodesta, it wasn't good for DePodesta.

When the Dodgers suffered a plague of injuries and collapsed over the second half of 2005, the LoDuca trade continued to be called out in the press as somehow having caused their problems, despite the fact that it had done no such thing. (Among the wrong-headed claims was that star closer Eric Gagne's 2005 injuries were directly caused by Mota's absence down the stretch in 2004.) The team's bad showing in 2005 led to DePodesta's firing that fall, but a case can be made that it was the LoDuca trade—even though on balance it helped the team, and had nothing to do with the problems they encountered in 2005—that sealed DePodesta's fate.

The sports media, particularly as shrill and reactionary as that which dominates the scene in Los Angeles, shouldn't have that much impact on the operation of a franchise. Strong ownership, and a GM with strong press-relations skills, should see to it that it doesn't: but neither was in place with the Dodgers. Owner Frank McCourt let his GM hang out to dry, mauled by the media, and defied by an insubordinate field manager. DePodesta was surely not blameless, but on balance he was set up to fail in a sourly dysfunctional situation. We armchair analysts who dream of how well we would do in the GM role should view this as a sobering reminder that real life is often very complicated, very unpleasant, and very unforgiving.
   36. Jolly Old St. Nick Still Gags in October Posted: September 24, 2011 at 05:22 PM (#3934862)
It will be interesting to see how long the Rays can keep fielding competitive teams in the AL East. They certainly seem primed to extend it for at least 3-4 more seasons with a rotation of Shields - Price - Hellickson - Moore and Davis or Niemann. They've also got Longoria, Jennings, and Zobrist locked up for several more years. If any team is going to have an extended "moneyballing" run, it'll be the Rays. They should be a good litmus test for seeing just how sustainable success is for a low payroll team when you're doing most things right.

Right now the Rays are the showcase for a smartly run small market team, but isn't their success due more to good scouting than "moneyball"? (coke to Robert on that point) And not to thrown cold water on them, but they're a weak hitting team with major holes in their lineup that've been exposed down the stretch, when the wild card was theirs for the taking. Their team OPS+ and ERA+ are 104 and 103, which isn't the sort of numbers one usually associates with champions. They're certainly in a position to contend, but the question is where they're going to be able to get the money to plug the holes once they have to begin signing some of those players who aren't already into long term contracts. And that's going to determine whether or not they can ratchet it up to the next level on an ongoing basis.

And to illustrate the point about the ability of other teams to use "moneyball" tactics, think about which team managed to pluck Colon, Garcia, Martin and Andruw Jones for a total salary of $7.9 million. That's less than 3 million more than the Rays are paying Johnny Damon.
   37. Jolly Old St. Nick Still Gags in October Posted: September 24, 2011 at 05:28 PM (#3934868)
Perhaps we should examine how they are able to do so. How do they draft, how do they shorten the time players spend in the minors to get ready, how do they get more production out of players pre-arbitration and pre-free agency, developing left handed pitchers like Price and Moore as opposed to having to pay the premium for a Santana, Sabathia or Lee required in the free agent market...

Since 2007 the Yankees have developed Hughes, Chamberlain, Ian Kennedy, Nova and David Robertson. Injuries have held back the first two, and caused them to trade Kennedy (for whom they effectively got Granderson), but in terms of scouting pitching talent that's not exactly a terrible record, especially considering their perennially bad draft position.
   38. Jose Can Still Seabiscuit Posted: September 24, 2011 at 05:29 PM (#3934872)
man, take your pick. Would you say he did a good job of getting out in front of the LaDoca story? Constantly talked passed the local media and alienated them (the same idiots Coletti has wrapped around his little finger by just playing along a little). If you were smart you could see he was doing some good things but that message wasn't getting out there.


But was that his fault or was that the fault of a media that came in with preconceived notions.

When the Plaschkes of the world go nuclear because Paul Freakin' LoDuca gets traded there is just a limit to how much blame gets placed on the person making the deal. I mean at some point people are blind to the truth and no amount of PR is going to work when the people writing the stories are the ones who are blind.
   39. Steve Treder Posted: September 24, 2011 at 05:34 PM (#3934878)
But was that his fault or was that the fault of a media that came in with preconceived notions.

Why must it be one or the other?
   40. Forsch 10 From Navarone (Dayn) Posted: September 24, 2011 at 05:48 PM (#3934895)
30 - man, take your pick. Would you say he did a good job of getting out in front of the LaDoca story? Constantly talked passed the local media and alienated them (the same idiots Coletti has wrapped around his little finger by just playing along a little). If you were smart you could see he was doing some good things but that message wasn't getting out there.

Opinions will vary, of course, but I'm not sure there was anything he could've done to win over the true opinion-shapers in L.A. Before he spent a day on the job, DePo was branded as the subversive nerd who was hostile to all that was wonderful and timeless about baseball. I think Colletti was spared that reaction precisely because he wasn't a "Moneyball" guy."

FWIW, I have no idea whether DePo is a good GM or a lousy one. He simply wasn't given the opportunity to succeed or fail.
   41. cardsfanboy Posted: September 24, 2011 at 06:04 PM (#3934914)
Right now the Rays are the showcase for a smartly run small market team, but isn't their success due more to good scouting than "moneyball"?


I think the Rays are more than just scouting though, teams get talented players all the time who never amount to much, somehow the Rays have taken great talent and fairly consistently churned out mlb players, I think anybody who wants to emulate their success needs to look at how their farm system is being run(of course having great draft picks helps, it's not an either or proposition) and try to figure out what they are doing that works.
   42. Greg K Posted: September 24, 2011 at 06:09 PM (#3934921)
I think the Rays are more than just scouting though, teams get talented players all the time who never amount to much, somehow the Rays have taken great talent and fairly consistently churned out mlb players, I think anybody who wants to emulate their success needs to look at how their farm system is being run(of course having great draft picks helps, it's not an either or proposition) and try to figure out what they are doing that works.

If you ask me there's a good book just waiting to be written about it.
   43. Jolly Old St. Nick Still Gags in October Posted: September 24, 2011 at 06:13 PM (#3934927)
I think the Rays are more than just scouting though, teams get talented players all the time who never amount to much, somehow the Rays have taken great talent and fairly consistently churned out mlb players, I think anybody who wants to emulate their success needs to look at how their farm system is being run(of course having great draft picks helps, it's not an either or proposition) and try to figure out what they are doing that works.

Up to now, I agree that their scouting has been terrific. But's see if they can keep it up when they're consistently drafting around 25th instead of 5th.
   44. tshipman Posted: September 24, 2011 at 06:20 PM (#3934940)
I think the Rays are more than just scouting though, teams get talented players all the time who never amount to much, somehow the Rays have taken great talent and fairly consistently churned out mlb players, I think anybody who wants to emulate their success needs to look at how their farm system is being run(of course having great draft picks helps, it's not an either or proposition) and try to figure out what they are doing that works.


Serious question:
How do you tell the difference between the Early 2000's A's, who drafted great and had great success in developing players, and the Late 2000's Rays?

If Evan Longoria starts missing 100 games a year, how was it predictable? If Ben Zobrist breaks his wrist and starts to suck, was that forseeable?

I think people on this site like to give credit to randomness a lot more than they think. I believe that there may be more efficient methods of turning out prospects, but to my knowledge, no one has claimed that the Rays do things differently. Sometimes you just get lucky.
   45. JJ1986 Posted: September 24, 2011 at 06:20 PM (#3934941)
Up to now, I agree that their scouting has been terrific. But's see if they can keep it up when they're consistently drafting around 25th instead of 5th.


Hellickson and Moore were picked in the 4th and 8th rounds respectively. They're not only getting great prospects by drafting at the top.
   46. Greg Franklin Posted: September 24, 2011 at 06:23 PM (#3934943)
Obligatory wiki gonzalez page: Feud with Baseball Prospectus
Nowadays, some Primates (as opposed to BBTF moderators) continue to take advantage of every opportunity to criticize Prospectus authors, regardless of whether said criticism is legitimate. They claim that Prospectus arrogantly thinks of itself (or projects an attitude) as the sole distributor of intelligent baseball information on the Internet.
That text basically hasn't changed since 2004. Reading this Sheehan piece, I see why.
   47. Maury Brown Posted: September 24, 2011 at 06:26 PM (#3934952)
I miss Nate Silver doing baseball.
   48. Maury Brown Posted: September 24, 2011 at 06:28 PM (#3934956)
Let's not forget, Dan Fox really got his wheels rolling at The Hardball Times. Great guy. Smart as they come.
   49. cardsfanboy Posted: September 24, 2011 at 06:34 PM (#3934963)
How do you tell the difference between the Early 2000's A's, who drafted great and had great success in developing players, and the Late 2000's Rays?


I don't, I think that a gm should get credit for not doing something totally stupid in the draft, for players he acquired (either draft or trade) who make it to the majors for his ability to identify and keep the right players, let the others go and acquire free agents and of course team record/standing. Ultimately injuries are going to happen, a random one or two is not a big deal and the gm shouldn't be faulted for it, but a predictable injury(say signing Kerry Wood to a multi year deal type of thing) or a trend should be something that the gm should be held accountable for.
   50. Bob Tufts Posted: September 24, 2011 at 06:55 PM (#3934978)
Keri in "2%" describes how the Rays examine pitcher's arm angles and potential for injury, another program that may allow them to maintain an advantage.

Minor leagues are the manufacturing part of a MLB franchise. If you improve/shorten the process, you will keep some form of an edge. I know that the Phillies also have a detailed program for each minor league pitcher tailored to their individual talents and abilities.
   51. Jolly Old St. Nick Still Gags in October Posted: September 24, 2011 at 06:55 PM (#3934979)
Up to now, I agree that their scouting has been terrific. But's see if they can keep it up when they're consistently drafting around 25th instead of 5th.

Hellickson and Moore were picked in the 4th and 8th rounds respectively. They're not only getting great prospects by drafting at the top.


That's very impressive, and let's see if they can keep it up. I hope they do, because the Yanks can always use a team in their division to torture the Red Sox.
   52. Jolly Old St. Nick Still Gags in October Posted: September 24, 2011 at 06:58 PM (#3934983)
Minor leagues are the manufacturing part of a MLB franchise. If you improve/shorten the process, you will keep some form of an edge. I know that the Phillies also have a detailed program for each minor league pitcher tailored to their individual talents and abilities.

I wonder how much of that was foreshadowed by the famed "Oriole way", when Baltimore was churning out one first rate pitcher after another from about 1959 through 1983.
   53. Steve Treder Posted: September 24, 2011 at 07:02 PM (#3934986)
I wonder how much of that was foreshadowed by the famed "Oriole way", when Baltimore was churning out one first rate pitcher after another from about 1959 through 1983.

The "Oriole way" (conceived and developed by Paul Richards, honed by Lee MacPhail, Harry Dalton, and others) was surely brilliant. But it was essentially carrying on an approach already in full flower in the Dodger organization, from where it had been imported from the Cardinal organization, by some GM named Rickey.
   54. fra paolo Posted: September 24, 2011 at 07:05 PM (#3934992)
Let's not forget, Dan Fox really got his wheels rolling at The Hardball Times.

In terms of being central to sabermetrics (and this may be simply a writing of history to suit my own perspective) Baseball Primer and the Hardball Times probably deserve the description of being "the center of the stathead world, publishing research that would set the discussion for years to come, that would change the way players were evaluated."

Many more interesting ideas were floated here and on THT during the crucial 2002-5 period, in my opinion, than appeared at Prospectus. THT produced a much better annual, in terms of generating ideas, than BPro's fantasy market-oriented book.

'Open source', not pay-wall, proved the right direction. SI should be asking Furtado, Szym, Studes and Gleeman for articles on the Moneyball revolution and the statheads on the Internet.
   55. Voros McCracken of Pinkus Posted: September 24, 2011 at 07:12 PM (#3934996)
From my personal experience, Rob Neyer probably had the biggest effect. My e-mail inbox changed dramatically after Neyer mentioned DIPS (granted he mentioned it after seeing it on Prospectus). I'm not sure the word "dramatically" is sufficient to describe it.
   56. bobm Posted: September 24, 2011 at 07:16 PM (#3935000)
[2] I know these guys don't write their own headlines, but Joe should probably ask his editor for a headline that doesn't make him look like a complete a-hole.

How about: Listen up you petty, jealous, economically illiterate #######.

:)
   57. cardsfanboy Posted: September 24, 2011 at 07:19 PM (#3935004)
From my personal experience, Rob Neyer probably had the biggest effect. My e-mail inbox changed dramatically after Neyer mentioned DIPS (granted he mentioned it after seeing it on Prospectus). I'm not sure the word "dramatically" is sufficient to describe it.


I think Rob Neyer fully deserves credit for bringing stat discussions to a lot of people, not just readers, but for getting readers interested in becoming researchers. Obviously then ESPN deserves accolades for hiring Rob Neyer. I don't think Prospectus, THT or Primer combined had even 10% of the influence that Neyer brought to the 'game'.
   58. Dan Szymborski Posted: September 24, 2011 at 07:27 PM (#3935007)
I'll agree with Voros. Moneyball may have had more of an effect within organizations, but without *Neyer* it takes a *lot* longer for the conversation to reach a mass market.

Rob opened the way for a lot of writers to be taken seriously in mainstream press, and that includes myself.
   59. Steve Sparks Flying Everywhere Posted: September 24, 2011 at 07:28 PM (#3935011)
I think the Rays are more than just scouting though, teams get talented players all the time who never amount to much, somehow the Rays have taken great talent and fairly consistently churned out mlb players, I think anybody who wants to emulate their success needs to look at how their farm system is being run(of course having great draft picks helps, it's not an either or proposition) and try to figure out what they are doing that works.


I mentioned in the Billy Rowell thread a few days ago, but I wonder how much it has to do with the "makeup" of the player. It seems like that's an area of scouting and player development we don't often hear about.
   60. Dan Posted: September 24, 2011 at 07:38 PM (#3935016)
One area the Rays are really ahead of the curve is defensive positioning. They have good defenders too, but these guys don't seem like otherworldly defensive talents. The Rays have a .721 defensive efficiency this season. No other team in MLB is over .706.
   61. cardsfanboy Posted: September 24, 2011 at 07:40 PM (#3935018)
I mentioned in the Billy Rowell thread a few days ago, but I wonder how much it has to do with the "makeup" of the player. It seems like that's an area of scouting and player development we don't often hear about.


Which is funny when it comes to talking about the Rays prospects and some of their big failures early on(including Hamilton)
   62. fra paolo Posted: September 24, 2011 at 07:42 PM (#3935020)
Sheehan doesn't mention Neyer either.

I don't want to take anything away from Neyer, or Baseball Prospectus for that matter. In the end one hopes it's an 'all for one and one for all' kind of thing.

Neyer's role as a publicist for stathead ideas was irreplaceable.
   63. Jolly Old St. Nick Still Gags in October Posted: September 24, 2011 at 07:45 PM (#3935023)
I wonder how much of that was foreshadowed by the famed "Oriole way", when Baltimore was churning out one first rate pitcher after another from about 1959 through 1983.

The "Oriole way" (conceived and developed by Paul Richards, honed by Lee MacPhail, Harry Dalton, and others) was surely brilliant. But it was essentially carrying on an approach already in full flower in the Dodger organization, from where it had been imported from the Cardinal organization, by some GM named Rickey.


You got it. IIRC the Dodgers yearbooks in the early 50's even called it "the Dodger way" for a while. What's different about our era is that new tricks are copied much more quickly, and the most blatant market inefficiencies like racism and the neglect of international talent have gone by the wayside.
   64. zenbitz Posted: September 26, 2011 at 03:58 PM (#3937342)
I think you guys are being a little hard on Sheehan and co. They weren't the only ones, but those guys on asbb and the early BP annuals taught me about baseball stats in the early 90's. I agree they became irrelvant behind the paywall, but a little credit is due here.
   65. Der Komminsk-sar Posted: September 26, 2011 at 04:29 PM (#3937386)
I think you guys are being a little hard on Sheehan and co. They weren't the only ones, but those guys on asbb and the early BP annuals taught me about baseball stats in the early 90's. I agree they became irrelvant behind the paywall, but a little credit is due here.
Agreed (well, apart from Sheehan who I'm not sure I've ever learned anything from). I don't begrudge them the paywall at all - but the one year I subscribed wasn't really worth it and, when they do produce good stuff now (like Mike Fast's recent framing article), I'm unlikely to hear about it.
   66. McCoy Posted: September 26, 2011 at 04:39 PM (#3937396)
Like what DK said I think early BPro was useful but Sheehan was just another columnist. I'd say he is the Charlie Silvera of sabermetrics.

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