Billy Beane: 7 Ways the Oakland A's GM's Career Looks Worse Since "Moneyball"
Moneyball will be coming out in theaters soon. Billy Beane had a strategy that was phenomenal for the first couple of seasons.
As the years went on, Beane and the Oakland Athletics were less and less successful. Their efforts to build a talented, cost-efficient team have not worked.
These are some reasons why Moneyball has hurt Beane’s career much more than it has helped it.
The 2002 draft is an example of the way Billy Beane and his management chose prospects. Beane made a few good picks in Nick Swisher and Mark Teahen.
However, using the sabermetric approach led them to pass on prospects throughout the years that ended up turning out pretty well.
Emphasis on Some Unhelpful Stats
Strategies for a full 162-game season don’t always have the same effect on a short playoff series.
Plate discipline is a good way to increase pitch counts. That does not matter as much when a team is facing excellent pitching that is either conditioned to pitch longer into a game or pitches for strikes, though.
Walks might help a team get to the postseason, but not much is guaranteed after that.
No Adjustments to the Competition
Billy Beane’s original plan was great when he was the only one doing it. However, more teams have adopted his approach.
Beane has continued his same plan without really adjusting it to address the changes around the league.
Not as Much Talent Diversity
Finding under-the-radar picks are great, but farm systems should be diverse—mixed with bigger- and smaller-name guys.
Getting some big arms and bats as well as the under-the-radar guys to develop could have really helped the A’s. Right now, for example, their lineup is anemic and really lacking a reliable star hitter.
Dealing Away Players in Their Prime
It’s awesome when management finds some hidden gems in the draft, but it does not help when that talent does not stay around long.
The Athletics’ payroll is not Billy Beane’s fault, but he does have a say in trades. An example would be the Nick Swisher for Ryan Sweeney and Gio Gonzalez trade.
Gonzalez has shown to be a core part of the A’s rotation. Swisher could have continued playing a big role in Oakland’s system as he was entering his prime, so it's debatable whether this trade actually improved the team.
Last year the Athletics finished their season with an 81-81 record. They had losing seasons the three years before that.
This year they will most likely end with another losing record. The results speak for themselves. Billy Beane will need to do something different to steer the A’s in the right direction.
Nothing to Show
Moneyball has been popular in both the news as well as among other scouts and managers. It is somewhat surprising to think that the Athletics have only been to the postseason twice after 2002.
In 2003 they were eliminated in the ALDS and in 2006 they were swept by the Detroit Tigers in the ALCS. If we are to believe that Beane and Co. are on to something that much of the rest of the league isn't, the proof doesn't seem to be there anymore.