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Archive for March 23rd, 2011

(In addition to appearing at The Captain’s Blog, this post is also being syndicated at TheYankeeAnalysts.)

Ever since “Moneyball was published in 2003, authors have been lining up to tell the next best tale of mind triumphing over money when it comes to building a winning baseball team. Michael Lewis’ controversial look inside the front office of the Oakland Athletics not only spawned needless controversy and endless debate, but also inspired a litany of books, essays and articles about how various teams had broken the mold to uncover the keys to success.

According to Lewis, the Oakland Athletics were successful because GM Billy Beane had adopted a philosophy that embraced non traditional means of player evaluation. Contrary to the initial reaction, it wasn’t so much a tale of scout versus calculator, or a treatise about the value of OBP, but really a story about how a small market team could compete without the same financial resources of the monoliths in the bigger cities. In other words, the book wasn’t really about a particular stat or means of player evaluation, but a more traditional tale of David versus Goliath. Since Moneyball, books like Tom Verducci’s “The Yankees Years” and Jonah Keri’s “The Extra 2%” have presented similar arguments for how the Red Sox and Rays, respectively, were able to compete toe-to-toe with the Yankees, although in Boston’s case, their sling shot was much bigger.

Did the Athletics considerable success in the early part of the 2000s stem from the realization that drawing a walk was an undervalued talent, or because Beane relied more on statistics than scouting reports? Were the Red Sox successful because they employed the sabermetric formulas of consultant Bill James? Could the Rays have risen from the ashes without the Wall Street strategies used by the team’s new ownership group? Although all seem like very simplistic assumptions, let’s leave those debates for another day. In the meantime, I am more interested in the story of how Goliath got to be so big.

The Growing Value Gap Between the Yankees and the Average MLB Team

Source: Forbes.com

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