Winning An Unfair GameHow Do The Oakland A’s Win With a Poor Team? By: Kolton Donovan
Introduction Team Payroll Average Salary 2002 RecordNew York Yankees: $ 125,928,583 $ 4,342,364 103-58Oakland Athletics: $ 40,004,167 $ 1,481,635 103-59 (for every $1 the Oakland A’s make, the New York Yankees make $4) Why is the “money” part of baseball not talked about? How can the Oakland A’s have the same record as the New York Yankees? How can “failure” players win as many games as “star” players?
Important Information Person DescriptionBilly Beane General Manager of the Oakland A’sPaul DePodesta Assistant to Billy Beane/creator of the baseball theoryJ.P. Ricciardi General Manager of the Toronto Blue JaysBill James Author of the “Baseball Abstract”Jeremy Brown 1st Round Draft choice of the Oakland A’sJason Giambi Former Oakland A’s player/Current New York Yankees playerScott Hatteberg Oakland A’s first baseman
The “Oakland A’s” Idea With the lowest budget in all of baseball, the Oakland A’s had to win with lower paid players. The Oakland A’s needed a plan, a strategy, to win with these “failure” players. How? Get more runs than the other team while preventing outs.
Offensive Strategy Runs: score more than the opposing team by having players put the ball into play. Prevent Outs: Do not steal bases, do not bunt (unless if it is call for), and do not play for yourself. ERA (Earned Run Average): Be able to tell the difference between balls you can put into play and those you can’t Walks: Get to first base by not swinging at every pitch that is thrown at you. Be smart, it is a guaranteed base.
Defensive Strategy Well, for the Oakland A’s, there is no “real” defensive strategy. According to the book “Baseball Abstract” written by Bill James (which Billy Beane read): Defense is less than 5% of the game of baseball. The Oakland A’s do more than believe that, they actually do it.
Jason Giambi The miracle player of the Oakland A’s. He could do everything when it came to offense and even defense. Jason was a fan favorite of the Oakland A’s franchise and was considered the reason of why they did so well. His last game was a playoff game against the Yankees. A couple days later, the Yankees gave him a multi- million dollar deal to lure him away from Oakland. The Oakland A’s organization had a situation on their hands. How were they supposed to replace Jason Giambi? The answer: with someone better on offense and cheaper.
Scott Hatteberg Scott Hatteberg played catcher for the Boston Red Sox. He had a very high ERA and batting came natural to him. During the 2000 season, he injured a nerve in his throwing elbow which required surgery. He could not grip a baseball after it so the Boston Red Sox traded him to the Colorado Rockies. While in Colorado, he played back-up catcher and did not see a game that season. The Rockies considered him a disabled player, so they released him after that season. The Oakland A’s knew he had a problem with his elbow, but that did not stop them from seeing his ability to hit the ball and get on base. On Christmas day, the Oakland A’s offered him to come play in Oakland… not to be a catcher, but their starting FIRST BASEMAN to replace Jason Giambi.
MLB Teams Scouting The Five Tools: listed on next slide. Traits Prospects Must Have:high energy, hit home runs, steal bases, bunt, “good face", “goodbody“. Quotes from MLB Scouts:"Stats do not matter."“We do not look at performance, we look at talent.""I never looked at a single statistic...""Attitude doesnt matter.““Imagine what the player will become, not what he is now.“ -Unnamed Scout (Moneyball).
The “FIVE” ToolsThe Five Tools:-The ability to run-The ability to throw-The ability to field-The ability to hit-The ability to hit HARD
Oakland A’s Scouting Requirements: Played in College, Desire to play Major League Baseball, Cheap to buy, No off-field problems, Attitude, Good History, Plate Approach, ERA (Earned Run Average), Walks, Great Hitter (Does not mean power), Take pitches, Mentally tough, overlooked/unknown, No reinventing. The scouts for the Oakland As graduated from IVY League Schools (Harvard, Yale, Columbia, Stanford, etc.). "You dont change guys, they are who they are." -Billy Beane (Moneyball) Example: JEREMY BROWN (University of Alabama) - 390 at bats, 98 walks, 38 Ks (strikeouts), 21 Home Runs
Jeremy Brown Senior catcher for the University of Alabama. He broke almost every offensive record at Alabama and South Eastern Conference (SEC). He was drafted the year before in a late round and turned it down to return to Alabama. In the listings of the top 20 catchers in baseball, he was not among them. He was not even talked about around baseball; no one knew who he was. He was drafted by the Oakland A’s in the 1st round with the 35th pick in the draft. He signed for $350,000; which was about $1,000,000 dollars less than the average draftee was paid in the first round.
Comments The Oakland Athletics are a team in and of themselves. They produce runs and win games because of the runs. The players they hire and draft are usually players that are considered “failures” which gives them more reason to want to win. I believe that “stars” in baseball are no more than players who have a talent on getting on base. In that same case, several players labeled as “failures” are labeled that because they can get on base. Therefore, a baseball player is a baseball player.
FAQs Why does it seem Billy Beane is taking all the credit? A: Yes, the book does talk a lot about Billy Beane. That does not mean he is taking all the credit. If this book was meant for someone in the Oakland As front office to take the credit for himself, it would be Paul DePodesta. Why does this system the Oakland A’s use work? A: Walks + Hitting Smart + Desire = Runs. That is the answer. If you take walks (you get on base) and you hit (and you get on base) and you are being smart so you can win (additional base) means you will score runs. Therefore, you will win the game because you produced more runs than the other team.
Others That Use TheSystem J.P. Ricciardi – Toronto Blue Jays Paul DePodesta – New York Mets Billy Beane – Oakland A’s Bill James – Boston Red Sox
Final Thoughts How do you win an Unfair Game?Find the players that are different. Find the playersthat have above average stats. Most of all, look forthose players ignored by the other teams because oftheir weight or low stock. This is how the Oakland A’s win an Unfair Game.
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