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Murray Chass on the Twins

moneyball murray chass terry ryan
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#1 Parker Hageman

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Posted 12 March 2012 - 08:04 AM

Here's former New York Times baseball writer Murray Chass gushing over the Twins system in his recent conversation with Terry Ryan, which is interesting because of that. Of course, it wouldn't be a Chass piece without him showing some contempt for the "Moneyball" method:

Terry Ryan is one of the reasons I never liked the book “Moneyball” and have refused to see the movie. I have always felt that the Michael Lewis book glorifies Billy Beane, the Oakland general manager, whom I also like and respect, at Ryan’s expense when in reality Ryan has been at least as successful as Beane, winning despite small payrolls.

The difference between them has been their methods, Beane building the Athletics through statistical analysis and Ryan the old-fashioned way, through scouting. My preference is for scouts, for whom I have great respect, over computers.


If I've said this once, I've said it a million times: It's not an either or situation. It's both. Every organization should strive to be top of their class in both scouting and statistical analysis, not choose one over the other.

#2 dave_dw

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Posted 12 March 2012 - 08:33 AM

The A's also did it with a tremendous pitching staff.

#3 mike wants wins

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Posted 12 March 2012 - 08:41 AM

False premise that it is either or. It's a tired, old, argument made by tired old guys who don't like science and college educated people trampling on their nostalgia. Also, how'd that work out the last few years, with Ryan's drafts? Valencia and who, have come up the last three years and made a difference? If they are so great at drafting, why are only 2 starting pitches draft picks of the Twins? I can't name the last legit MLB starting MIF they drafted and developed, Knoblauch? Where is the league average catcher to back up Mauer? Where is the power hitter to play 1B or DH? Much of what we believe is mythology, plain and simple.Once a person or team has a reputation, it's hard to shake that reputation, despite evidence to the contrary.

What I just typed is probably an opinion, not a fact. I mean, I'm usually right, so you should maybe assume it is or will be a fact soon, but that's up to you. :)


#4 James

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Posted 12 March 2012 - 08:45 AM

You're right. It should not be an either or situation. Scouting has clearly predicted quality players, and so has the Sabermetrics. Realistically, they should show you the same things. I'm a science type guy, so I like seeing evidence behind decisions. That's easily done through stats. But stats aren't always going to show you things that might be important, like a pitcher with mechanics that will lead to injury or a batter with a relatively low bat speed. A team should really strive to be the best at both.

#5 Parker Hageman

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Posted 12 March 2012 - 08:47 AM

Much of what we believe is mythology, plain and simple.Once a person or team has a reputation, it's hard to shake that reputation, despite evidence to the contrary.


Well said.

#6 TwinsTakes-RD

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Posted 12 March 2012 - 09:17 AM

Does Mr. Chass actually believe the A's don't scout anymore and just use statistical analysis?



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#7 diehardtwinsfan

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Posted 12 March 2012 - 09:52 AM

False premise that it is either or. It's a tired, old, argument made by tired old guys who don't like science and college educated people trampling on their nostalgia.

Also, how'd that work out the last few years, with Ryan's drafts? Valencia and who, have come up the last three years and made a difference? If they are so great at drafting, why are only 2 starting pitches draft picks of the Twins? I can't name the last legit MLB starting MIF they drafted and developed, Knoblauch? Where is the league average catcher to back up Mauer? Where is the power hitter to play 1B or DH? Much of what we believe is mythology, plain and simple.Once a person or team has a reputation, it's hard to shake that reputation, despite evidence to the contrary.


I'm guessing Todd Walker... Ryan's last few drafts were pretty bad, and I'll give Bill Smith credit there as this was one area that (from the looks of it) was done well under his tenure, though I suspect that is because he let his scouts do their thing and mostly stayed out of it. Hopefully this track continues, as it would be a shame to waste this many top 100 picks...

#8 spideyo

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Posted 13 March 2012 - 08:38 AM

Gotta point out too...the A's didn't exactly turn into a powerhouse dynasty or anything.

#9 Thrylos

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Posted 13 March 2012 - 09:28 AM

Gotta point out too...the A's didn't exactly turn into a powerhouse dynasty or anything.


Exactly.
Both the Billy Beane As and the Terry Ryan Twins won the same World Championships: Zero.
I dare to say that the Marlins and Diamondbacks have been more successful than either club based on winning it all. The Rays already done more than either the As or the Twins also
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#10 whydidnt

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Posted 13 March 2012 - 09:57 AM

How many world series appearances to the Twins have under Ryan? ZERO. Relying purely on scouting while ignoring sabermatics is as silly as ignoring scouting. The best system would seem to be to use a combination. The Twins haven't ignored "numbers" under Ryan/Smith - however, they have constantly focused on the wrong numbers, such as BA, RBI, Wins and Saves.

#11 Andrew Bryz-Gornia

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Posted 13 March 2012 - 10:51 AM

The Twins haven't ignored "numbers" under Ryan/Smith - however, they have constantly focused on the wrong numbers, such as BA, RBI, Wins and Saves.


From chatting with Dave St. Peter, it's clear that the Twins care about more than batting average and RBI when it comes to offense.

#12 Parker Hageman

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Posted 13 March 2012 - 10:59 AM

In speaking to the Twins person in charge of statistical analysis, I got the impression that there is plenty of research being done that goes beyond the BAs, RBIs, etc, but that the decision-makers are not interested in using the more advanced statistics despite some in the organization using them. Apparently -- and I'm not sharing this just to toot my own horn -- but after the interview I did with Rob Antony two springs ago, he's gone on a mission to educate himself and the baseball ops team on more advanced stats.



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