Why MoneyBall Won’t Work in Seattle

Cover of "Moneyball: The Art of Winning a...

Cover via Amazon

As everyone who follows baseball knows, Michael Lewis’s book “Moneyball” is about Billy Beane and his new age baseball thinking in building a team with little financial resources by signing players with a high on-base percentage.

It is derived from Bill James and his sabremetrics where certain statistics translates to wins. Now the movie is out staring Brad Pitt, so more people will wonder why their team does not take the same approach. 

For my review of movie here is the link http://terrynelson.net/moneyball.html

Other than old line thinking that does not see the merits of Bean’s approach there is another reason.

Seattle is last in the league in on-base percentage with a woeful, pitiable .294. That means that on average for  very time through the Mariner line-up 2.6 men reach base. Ouch! No wonder they have trouble scoring runs.

The Mariners have a long climb ahead of them. Even good pitching does not keep them out of last place.

Presuming that the Mariners see the wisdom of Moneyball, sabremetrics, and the numbers game and take that approach they will still have trouble getting to the World Series.

This would look good at Safeco

In case you missed it, Oakland has not gotten there either. While they had success using the formula with first and second place finishes, they are no better off then before. The year prior to Beane taking on-base percentage to heart his team won 102 games; with the approach the next year they won 103. Point is they had a good team to begin with.

But the reason it has not worked in Oakland and that it will not work in Seattle is Boston and New York. Boston also took the Moneyball approach and they won two World Series. They and the Yankees both have what Seattle and Oakland does not. MONEY.

When you combine sabremetric Moneyball with piles of green cash that Boston and New York have then on-base numbers won’t matter. By the way, Boston and New York are first and second in on-base percentage.

Money always wins out.


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