People need to get over “Moneyball” and the “genius” of Billy Beane. Michael Lewis’ 2003 book about the Oakland Athletics and Beane turned him into an almost mythological figure.
The book is well-written and the principles discussed are solid (OBP, OPS, etc.), but the idea that Beane built his team through some stroke of genius is bollocks. Beane built a good, contending team exactly how every general manager did ever: he drafted well and made key trades. And no, the players he drafted or found were not “hidden gems” only discovered through Beane’s genius.
Just look the cornerstones of the A’s mini-dynasty from 2000-2006.
Eric Chavez, Barry Zito, Mark Mulder, Nick Swisher and Ben Grieve were all first -round picks drafted exactly where they were predicted to go.
Tim Hudson was a great pick in the sixth round, but he was the reigning SEC Player of the Year and an All-American. Not exactly a miraculous find.
Rich Harden in the 17th round, I’ll give him that.
Jason Giambi and Miguel Tejada were both drafted or signed before Beane joined the organization.
He also drafted good players he later used as trade bait, such as Andre Ethier, Ryan Ludwick, Gerald Laird, Mark Teahan, Jeremy Bonderman and Mark Bellhorn. All of these players were drafted in the first two rounds, exactly where they were supposed to be drafted.
Beane drafted extremely well by drafting players exactly where they were expected to go. That makes Beane a good general manager. But a “genius” who was doing something that had never been done before? Um, no.