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09-24-2011, 12:37 PM
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Originally Posted by Jester View Post
He's not paying nearly enough attention to the "other team" factors. Most especially, Theo Epstein and everything that went on in Boston after the fact.

At the same time, Lewis certainly undersold other aspects... a good player is a good player, and there is no hiding that. The real value of "moneyball" is how you evaluate the periphery, the guys that you plug in around the obviously good players.

More importantly, how do you invest your limited money. The author acknowledges that in the critique, but blows past it a bit too quick.

The reality is that the inequalities in baseball fiscally are terribly hard to overcome. In 2002, the Oakland Athletics spent $40M on their team, the Red Sox spent $108M and the Yankees spent $125M. The situation has only grown worse... meaning the minor advantage you can get by exploiting inefficiencies is easily getting overrun by the spending power of certain clubs.

Even with the TB Rays, sort of the current equivalent, despite super human scouting ability by that organization over the last decade or whatever you want to peg it, they really struggle to overcome the Red Sox and Yankees spending abilities on a yearly basis -- and now they're starting to bleed talent away.

The power of the idea that the As were following isn't really measured in their success, though. It's measured in the copy-cats that have proliferated. Interestingly, the Phillies are one of the teams that hasn't really embraced advanced statistics... one of the reasons that their methods towards success have revolved so heavily through brute force acquisitions and massive expansion in salary.
I think part of the problem with the Phillies is that they didn't have to embrace moneyball principles because of who they were drafting in the early part of the decade. Rollins, Hamels, Utley, Howard, Ruiz, etc.

But you are right, their method of filling in the periphery is through rule 5 picks (Victorino, Werth) and throwing money at things (Ibanez, Polanco, Lee, Halladay). It works, but it is not a sound long term solution (look at the current situation in the outfield and the absence of really good infield depth).

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