Friday, July 8, 2011

Moneyball The Movie

Hallelujah the Moneyball movie has finally been made and ready for release! This was one of the defining sports economics books of the last decade and ushered in a new method of evaluating talent based on statistical analysis over traditional scouting methods. Billy Beane became not only a hero among baseball stat geeks, but in Wall Street and the business world alike by trying to find value where the market can't see it. After reading the book I chose to do my honours thesis in Mathematical Economics on the Market Value of Human Capital in Professional Sports, so Moneyball has had an effect on my own life.

The whole Moneyball strategy however has not been all sunshine and lollipops, as many of Beane's disciples have gone on to manage their own teams and failed miserably. Part of the problem also is that when the book became a national hit, several secrets of the Oakland A's became public knowledge. Beane was exploiting flaws in the market of talent evaluation, but after publishing the book these flaws and techniques became shared knowledge with every other GM in the league. Therefor, the market corrected itself and Beane lost an advantage.

Some other thoughts on Moneyball:

*The team has not been the same since losing Mulder, Zito, and Hudson; also called The Three Aces. One of the theories is that Beane only had the success he did because he got lucky on a crop of young pitchers and has not since been able to replicate that.

*Jeremy Brown, heavily featured in the book went on to a glorious major league career of 10 at bats. That's it.

*Billy Beane consistently bashed Prince "the fat kid" Fielder and was excited when he was drafted ahead of Oakland's pick instead of Nick Swisher. Well the fat kid has gone to hit 214 Home Runs before his 28th birthday, and while Swisher has been a good major leaguer, he ain't on Prince's level.

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