The book and soon to be movie, Moneyball has been a hot topic since the day it came out as it seems to have caused a decently sized large rift between the old school style of baseball and the new school.
Lately people seem to be turning around to its way of thinking though as advanced statistics become more prevalent. Even during yesterday’s pregame show on YES, announcer David Cone ran explained some of the more popular modern statistics, what they are and why they are important. It’s getting to the point where even Michael Kay is beginning to understand.
However that doesn’t mean that statistics have taken over the game. They certainly have become a big part of the game, but traditional scouting is in no danger of going away. The best teams are the ones who seem to be doing a good job of recognizing this and combining the two.
That’s where the quote from the headline comes in. In a recent column from Fox Sports’ Ken Rosenthal he discussed the Yankees and how they’ve adjusted in the wake of the Moneyball movement.
It was slow going at first for the Yankees who didn’t exactly let Brian Cashman run the team until 2006. Even after Cashman took control and started moving toward more statistical analysis there was resistance from then manager Joe Torre.
That all changed thanks to the Red Sox of all teams. They embraced Billy Beane‘s philosophies early on and forced the Yankees to adapt. Today the Yankees are not only ahead of the curve when it comes to statistical analysis, Diamondbacks GM Kevin Towers says that the Yankees and Cashman are doing a great job merging the two.
“Cash does it the right way,” Towers told Rosenthal. “The way he works the room in meetings, it works. If he wants the analytical view, he asks (the analysts) a question and they provide the information. They usually only speak when asked.
“With the Yankees, it’s not, ‘these guys and us.’ They’re all kind of one.”
That bodes very well for us fans. The Yankees have long had the monetary advantage, but for various reasons they didn’t always have an advantage in other areas. That has changed and to paraphrase something Brian Cashman said a few years ago, ‘God help the rest of baseball.’
Just take a look at the way the current team in contracted. Even ignoring the core
four three, the Yankees have a very solid base of young players contributing regularly, like Robinson Cano, David Robertson, Brett Gardner, Ivan Nova, and lots of other players filling all sorts of roles. They also have used prospects to add important players to the team like Curtis Granderson and Nick Swisher.
Of course those players are supplements to the Yankees biggest area of strength, their ability to outspend. Yes, CC Sabathia, Alex Rodriguez, and Mark Teixeira are big contributors, but you can’t win in baseball by spending alone.