entence - 'Baseball is pitching and three run homers.'

Posted by: Jack Tanner at December 11, 2003 02:28 PM

Matt-

My problem with Lewis' book is that he too attirbutes undeserved credit to sabermetrics for the A's success. If you just read Lewis book, you'd get the impression that the A's win by signing cheap high-OBP guys like Scott Hattenberg.
Now I like Scott Hattenberg as much as the next guy, but the fact, of the matter, it's not the Hattenbergs who are responsible for the A's success. It can't be, because the A's OBP has declined every season since 2000:

2000--.360
2001--.345
2002--.339
2003--.328


It's the Zitos, Mulders, and Hudsons who've been carrying the A's the past 4 years. Not that I think *Billy Beane* shouldn't get credit for building such a great pitching staff. My point is that it has nothing to do with *sabermetrics*, because sabermiticans are clueless about building a good pitching staff But I guess this would have made for a less interesting book on Michael Lewis' part.

Posted by: Peter at December 12, 2003 09:20 AM

Peter -- Don't be too sure. Sabermetrics also places high value on research into preventing injuries to young pitchers, and my understanding is that the A's are better in this regard than just about any other organization (yeah, it's good fortune to have the Big Three, but note that the Big Three haven't been plagued by the arm injuries that wipe out a majority of promising young careers). And defense -- the area in which the A's really improved the most last year -- is still the most fertile ground for interesting new sabermetric research, and I've heard that Beane's proprietary stuff on this is very interesting indeed.

It was *Lewis*, not sabermetrics, that focused like a laser beam on OBP and Misfit Players with physical defects. The A's have mined -- and valued -- plenty of other aspects of sabermetric thought, which, after all, is a flexible way of thinking & exploiting inefficiencies, and not a one-size-fits-all doctrine of how teams must win.

Posted by: Matt Welch at December 12, 2003 12:52 PM
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