Monday, September 3, 2012

“Moneyball” Paying Off for the Oakland A’s

Brad Pitt as Billy Beane

If you didn’t see “Moneyball” because you don’t like baseball then you really missed a very good movie. Brad Pitt plays the current general manager and minority owner of the Oakland A’s, Billy Beane. Beane defied baseball logic and used economics and statistics to build a team that wins on average and nearly always makes a profit.

Today, the A’s are once again doing something amazing on the field and probably in the profit column as well. 

Just like in the movie, this year's team is made up of misfits and leftovers; the players have been traded frequently, had injuries, were getting older or were too quirky to earn a $10 million salary.The players are essentially working class commodities who play baseball for a living.

They lead baseball in late-inning comebacks

None of the players are stars. The are paid to provide just enough to pitch in long relief, or get on base and steal a base, or hit left-handed pitchers, or get late-inning strike outs,or move guys on base with rbi's, and occasionally hit a home run. The stats prove this is how a baseball team wins in Moneyball, a term from the title of author Michael Lewis' book, from which the movie is based.

In Moneyball terms, the bottom line comes down to this:  A’ players earn $150,000 a season compared to the New York Yankees, who pay an annual average of $1.5 million per player. If the A's get to play the Yankees in the playoffs it doesn't matter if the Yankees win, the A's have already won in Moneyball.

The A's are just three games behind the Texas Rangers who lead the division. The Rangers are expected to make the World Series, largely because they pay their player some of the largest salaries in the business.

As of this writing, the A's are heading into September on a winning streak, similar to the one portrayed in the movie. 

Seemingly, the A’s are doing it with smoke and mirrors. The A’s have won more games on the final at bat than any other Major League Baseball team this season. 

Moneyball is working just the way the economists and statisticians said it would. You wouldn't want to bet against it.

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