Billy Beane: Always ahead of the curve

Billy Beane has been called a genius on more than one occasion. Nowadays it seems like a lot of people will say that the whole Moneyball concept was blown out of proportion, but that’s just because it seems so obvious now. Beane was the first guy to seriously look at OBP as a key stat, and I fell in such love with the concept when I am evaluating a player’s worth I key on OBP (that is when better stats like EqA, WARP, etc. aren’t handy). A guy who hits .230 but has an OBP of .410 is more valuable to me than one who hits .320 with a .350 OBP.  He also adopted the small market attitude of drafting slight lower ceiling college players who are closer to the majors vs. high ceiling high school guys who had a lot of growing to do.

It seems Beane is ahead of things yet again. Beane realizes that trading veterans near the end of contracts for prospects just doesn’t happen anymore.  The trend is to trade young stars who have cheap years left for free agents. Like he did with Danny Haren, like the O’s did with Eric Bedard, and like Beane is about to do with Joe Blanton. I am not an A’s fan so I don’t know how I would feel about what Beane is doing. These are the same young future stars that he acquired in previous trades of his stars (Mulder and Hudson) and now he is flipping them for more talent.

Looking back the Hudson and Mulder deals look good. If you use the transitive property the amount of talent he got for those guys is phenomenal. But there has to be a payoff. I understand it’s hard to win in Oakland, and Anaheim and Seattle are primed for runs in the next couple of years. I am sure Beane is positioning himself for a couple years from now, but how long will he play this game? What do A’s fans think?


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