If You Start At The End, You'll Get There Eventually
Tim Brown presents another piece for his Angel job portfolio! My mom always told me that if I wanted something bad enough, I shouldn't hesitate -- I should just do it.
While Brown's piece, compared to the absurdities of the Plaschkers, appears to be facially interesting, even a casual reading reveals that, as usual, it's just another pointless piece using selective information. The Angels have an OBP of .308? Sounds low, until you consider the A's OBP of .299. You say the Mariners have an OBP of .315? The Angels slug .412; the Mariners slug .358 (and Oakland -- yikes -- .338). And Texas? The Angels team ERA is 3.83; the Rangers 5.22.
In other words, we have here one or two pieces of information, selected only because they support the author's already formed prejudices. Even that information given is woefully incomplete -- just because the Angels took third on more singles means nothing without an analysis of how many of those extra bases turned into runs. If Billy Beane is right, and that extra base is meaningless (or at least not worth the risk of taking it), then it follows that one can go from first to third 1,000 times, or 1,000,000 times, and it would make no difference. Brown presents the numbers, then asks us to accept, seemingly by faith, that going from first to third 60 times over the course of the season was worth something. Again, the lesson of Moneyball was not that one play the game a certain way; it was measuring what things are worth and creating an efficient market for the services different players provide. Brown's raw data is certainly measurable, but he doesn't do it.
Nor, of course, is it ever considered that the Angels might be better than 11-8 if Mike Scioscia didn't do retarded things like hit-and-run with Bengie Molina on 3-0 counts.