Billy Beane

If you’ve read Moneyball (and if not, why not?) you’ll know about Billy Beane, the Oakland Athletics General Manager who’s trick is to build very successful teams without spending much money.  He’s doing it again this year: the A’s are the best team in baseball; their payroll is 25th out of 30.

1. LA Dodgers $235,295,219
2. NY Yankees $203,812,506
3. Philadelphia Phillies $180,052,723
4. Boston Red Sox $162,817,411
5. Detroit Tigers $162,228,527
6. LA Angels $155,692,000
7. San Francisco Giants $154,185,878
8. Texas Rangers $136,036,172
9. Washington Nationals $134,704,437
10. Toronto Blue Jays $132,628,700
11. Arizona Diamondbacks $112,688,666
12. Cincinnati Reds $112,390,772
13. St. Louis Cardinals $111,020,360
14. Atlanta Braves $110,897,341
15. Baltimore Orioles $107,406,623
16. Milwaukee Brewers $103,844,806
17. Colorado Rockies $95,832,071
18. Seattle Mariners $92,081,943
19. Kansas City Royals $92,034,345
20. Chicago White Sox $91,159,254
21. San Diego Padres $90,094,196
22. NY Mets $89,051,758
23. Chicago Cubs $89,007,857
24. Minnesota Twins $85,776,500
25. Oakland A’s $83,401,400
26. Cleveland Indians $82,534,800
27. Pittsburgh Pirates $78,111,667
28. Tampa Bay Rays $77,062,891
29. Miami Marlins $47,565,400
30. Houston Astros $44,544,174

So when Beane speaks, it’s worth listening.  Here’s his take on the future of sports, and the role technology might take.

(to save you the bother, no, baseball is not like football.)

One thought on “Billy Beane

  1. There was an article in New York Magazine recently about how the Athletics have been achieving this level of success over the past few years (they won their division in 2012 and 2013 as well) despite the big-budget teams (note that they’re in the same division as the LA Angels and the Texas Rangers, 6th and 8th in payroll spending respectively) having largely co-opted some of the more specific ideas that were described in Moneyball. A couple of takeaways from the article and how they might apply to Fulham:

    “[D]on’t spend a lot on a little; spend a little on a lot.”
    Or: rather than spend a lot of money on one or a few top players (who, though they might be more likely to be successful, could also turn out to be more wasted money), pick up a greater number of less expensive players and see who pans out. As applied to Fulham, this might be seen in bringing in three new full backs to compete with the youngsters rather than breaking the bank on, say, Aaron Cresswell (yes, I know he went to West Ham, but just go with it as an example).

    “[F]ocus on what your employees can do, not what they can’t.”
    Or: maximize your players’ strengths by playing them in situations where they’re likely to succeed and not when they’re likely to fail. Taking last year’s Fulham, this might mean playing Kieran Richardson if the opponent has a very fast right wing and John Arne Riise if they don’t; more generally, it might mean playing fast strikers against a team that has slow defenders. Or, considering more current events, playing Jasper Cillessen for an entire match and then bringing in Tim Krul for penalties.

    Full article, if you’d like to read it:

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