Is there an equivalent of a "Moneyball" for the NHL?
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04-11-2009, 10:29 AM
Join Date: Apr 2006
Originally Posted by
Moneyball isn't necessarily about stats. It's about finding undervalued players created by inefficiencies in the marketplace. It just so happens that Billy Beane did it by evaluating players based on stats. However, since every team in MLB has adopted it, the strategy isn't as effective anymore since the reason why the strategy worked so well in the first place was because only a few teams that were using it.
I don't think that the NHL or NBA would adopt a moneyball-esque strategy based on stats because of the nature of the respective sports but based on the Lewis article about Shane Battier, good players are slipping through the cracks in sports that you can measure as accurately with statistics.
I kinda think the NFL has a moneyball method. Just look at the Indianapolis Colts. For a decade, they've been hovering near the NFL hard salary cap and every year they lose seemingly important pieces of their team yet every year they make the playoffs. If you look through their current roster, you'll see a lot of late round picks (save for Peyton Manning) and players that go against conventional football wisdom due to being undersized (Bob Sanders, Dwight Freeney). For the Colts, moneyball isn't so much about stats but finding undervalued players that are suited to playing their particular system.
The guys at BP point out that organizations can also gain efficiencies by doing things other than using stats. For example the Houston Astros are more willing to give short right handed pitchers a shot in the draft than your average MLB team and that has landed them some good MLB guys. The Atlanta Braves heavily focus just on players from the south--they get focus on one area and see those players more often (i.e. larger sample for each player) and they draft pretty well.
In hockey, I'd point out that I think the Buffalo Sabres have an organizational efficiency advantage--they seem more willing to draft smallish forwards--and they Sabres have drafted more NHLers than the average NHL franchise. Now I haven't crunched any numbers on this, but I suspect that Buffalo is exploiting the size fetish most other NHL teams have when it comes to prospects.
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