"As portrayed in that book," Schuerholz writes, "it is a bogus concept because I know you can’t make baseball judgments entirely on statistical analysis to build a team."

10 bucks John Schuerholz didn’t actually read "Moneyball", such is his apparent failure to understand it’s main thesis, which, if I remember correctly, is not that you can select talent based on statistics alone and ignore scouting, but rather that one can exploit the market and find players who have skills that are undervalued and build a competitive team even at a fiscal disadvantage.  The model of "Moneyball" is also scaleless, so employing it even with a larger payroll is still possible: value is value, no matter what the pursestrings, and stockpiling value gives a team the opportunity to be agile with their roster. Hence, Schuerholz’ use of the 2004 Red Sox as proof that Moneyball is BS is BS itself.  Schuerholz, who has nothing to prove as an executive, is clearly feeling a little professional jealousy.  It’s unbecoming.

3 comments… add one
  • at least he knows it’s not written by Billy Beane. That’s a start.
    Actually, while I agree that Schuerholz misses the main point of “Moneyball” I still think there’s an obvious divide between stats and scouts that Lewis is more than happy to talk about. I’ve heard him in interviews (on EEI) talk about the politics of the new era and the ways certain front offices approach this divisive issue. He uses the example of the Sox front office, specifically what they say and what they actually do. You always catch Theo talking about how he uses a blend of statistical analysis and scouting when arriving at personnel decisions. He makes it sound as if each side is equally represented in his front office. Not so, says Lewis (I heard him say all this in an interview with Dale Arnold a couple of years ago). Theo’s politicking when he says this. He sees no reason to antagonize scouts so he speaks respectfully of their importance, but the truth is that Theo uses 95% stats and 5% scouting. In Lewis’s view (and he holds no punches), Theo is intelligently pandering to the luddites.

    NickYF March 12, 2006, 2:26 pm
  • Nick, how exactly do you come up with the 95%-5% breakdown? I don’t necessarily question whether or not Theo may rely on stats more heavily than he says he does (though I do question your assertion that Theo always represents that it’s a 50-50 split – I have listened to many interviews with him and this breakdown hardly ever comes up as a subject). But it seems like you are hyperbolizing for your own sake. How well does Lewis really know the Boston front office? When was he given access to it like he was with Oakland? I am interested if you have an article where he discusses the Red Sox, outside the context of the Dale Arnold show, frankly. It might be that Lewis, like Schuerholz, thinks he knows more than he really does.

    SF March 12, 2006, 3:37 pm
  • I guess I didn’t articulate my point well, but I was pointing out that Lewis is a staunch proponent of the view that statistical analysis is the primary tool being used by smarter and more effective baseball front offices. You can read between the lines of Moneyball to see that view, or you can hear him in interviews. I’m not trying to say that Lewis has any more insight into what’s going on with Boston than Schuerholz does. Rather, I’m pointing out that the Braves GM is in conflict with the author of Moneyball over the Lewis’s clear support of one school of thought on performance analysis over another’s. I remember being surprised that Lewis was so candid in attacking the scouting view on Dale Arnold’s show, but that is in fact what he was. As I remember things, he said that Theo’s public voice on the issue was quite at odds with what was really going on behind the scenes. HE was the one that claimed that Theo overstated the importance of scouting in the front office so as not to stir up unnecessary hurt feelings. As Lewis saw it, scouting was close to irrelevant in the Sox front office. Myself, I’ve heard plenty of interviews with Theo in which he’s spoken about taking components of both views and working from there. I guess it’s hyperbole to quantify it, but the impression I get from his ambiguous public words is that it’s a balancing act (50-50).
    So Schuerholz is annoyed with an outsider belittling the importance of scouting. I don’t agree with him, but I also don’t think it’s professional jealousy. I think he just disagrees.

    NickYF March 13, 2006, 12:45 am

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