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by kylewanda
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“The pleasure of rooting for Goliath is that you can expect to win. The pleasure of rooting for David is that, while you don’t know what to expect, you stand at least a chance of being inspired" (Lewis 143).

Part One: Billy Beane was a highly recruited high school baseball player, with outstanding physical tools that allow him to excel at almost every area of the game. After high school, Billy had planned to go to college at Stanford and play baseball, but the New York Mets drafted him in the first round of the MLB Draft, despite a drastic decline in his batting average from his junior to senior year. Billy decided to skip college at Stanford and instead make the jump from high school to the big leagues, a decision he himself wasn't even prepared to make. Billy was a major bust in the minor leagues, mainly because he never truly commited to being a professional baseball player. In his heart he had always wanted to go to Stanford, but chose the MLB when he got $150,000 was thrown at him as a first round draft pick. Billy's own experience plays a large role in how he manages and builds the Athletics when he is the general manager. He was evaluated because of his physical tools and what he may become, rather than what his statistics said about him. This is a major difference from how Billy scouts players when he is general manager.

Moneyballby Michael Lewis

Part Two: Billy Beane needed to find a way to build the cheapest team possible, because the Oakland A's did not have the budget of the Yankees or Red Sox. The best way to do this was through the draft, and Billy's method of scouting was different than all of the other scouts. He would not draft high schoolers or any guy just because of what they may become. He drafted Jeremy Brown, a fat catcher from the University of Alabama, in the first round because of his ability to draw walks and get on base. He probably would not have been drafted based on the older method of player evaluation. This concept, called Sabermetrics, was developed by Bill James, who argued that stats like runs batted in can be inflated if the players batting in front of him are able to get on base. He concluded that OBP is the most important stat in evaluating players. Billy Beane had very little money to use to build his team, so finding misvalued players who he could pay very little money to play solid baseball was a must. The way he did this was applying statistical analytics to players based on the ideas of people like Bill James, when before, the only way to evaluate players was as baseball players and not as mathematical quantities.

Part Three: In baseball, unlike other sports like basketball and football, there is no salary cap preventing certain teams like the New York Yankees from outspending other teams during free agency. Logically, this would mean that the Yankees would be worlds better than a small market team like the Athletics, because they can afford to buy much more talented players, like how they paid Jason Giambi $120 million to leave Oakland for New York. The misvaluing of players is how Billy Beane is able to pay guys who should cost millions per year about $255,000. The players Billy signed in the offseason after the 2001 season, like Scott Hatteberg and Chad Bradford, or traded for, like David Justice, are examples of this. Scott Hatteberg had an elbow problem, and Chad Bradford had a freaky submarine delivery, while David Justice was a former All-Star who was deemed too old to play baseball, so the Yankees ended up paying half of his salary so he would play against them. They all ended up playing big roles on the 2002 Oakland A's team that won 102 games, the same as the Yankees.

Part Four: The 2002 Oakland A's not only finished first in the AL West, but also set a record for consecutive victories in a season with 20. Earlier in the same season, the A's were in last place and considered a bust by many who watched the sport. But then they won 19 straight games and seemed destined to win number 20 when they dashed out to an 11-0 game against the Kansas City Royals. But all of a sudden, the Royals mounted a comeback to tie the game at 11, punctuated by a home run by Mike Sweeney. In the bottom of the ninth, Scott Hatteberg, one of Billy Beane's big offseason additions, is called in to pinch hit for a batter, and hits a walk-off home run to win the game for the A's and give them the record. The fact that they were able to accomplish this validated Billy Beane's talent evaluating philosophy which focused more on analytics than natural talent. In many ways, Billy was a pioneer who led the way for a more analytical way of watching baseball and building baseball teams.

A scout who evaluated Billy Beane said, ""I never looked at a single statistic of Billy's. It wouldn't have crossed my mind" (Lewis 9).

"A twenty-two-year-old phenom with superior command wakes up one morning in such a precarious mental state that he's hurling pitches over the catcher's head. Great prospects flame out, sleepers become stars. A thirty-year-old mediocrity develops a new pitch and becomes, overnight, an ace" (Lewis 222).


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