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Will Mets Success Advance Sabermetrics?



By Mike Silva ~ November 11th, 2010. Filed under: Mike Silva, Sabermetrics.

Rival executives with a background in scouting are privately snickering at the Mets for their newfound tilt toward objective analysis. Statistical analysts and like-minded bloggers are publicly rejoicing over the Mets’ shift, as if numbers are the One True Way to baseball success. I’m calling B.S. on both. – Fox Sports Ken Rosenthal

Since Moneyball was released in 2003 you have seen two extreme ideologies fight over intellectual superiority in front office philosophy. On one side you have the old school baseball people who rely on strict scouting principles to drive the philosophies of their ballclub. On the other you have those that lean towards logic and use data, information, and analysis as the driver behind their decision making. In reality I don’t believe any good front office is as extreme as those that fight, typically on the internet, believe it to be. The Boston Red Sox and New York Yankees are held to the standard of sabermetric or Moneyball teams. I believe both those organizations are well run because they take they combine all the tools at their disposal and create a homogenous organizational philosophy. If Sandy Alderson, J.P. Ricciardi, and Paul DePodesta are able to create a similar model in Queens it could do more to advance Moneyball than anyone else.

DePodesta said it best when explaining that moneyball is simply a concept of exploiting market inefficiencies. Whether that is through statistics, scouting, advanced metrics, or another method every team has aspects of Moneyball, even the San Francisco Giants who publicly denounced it after winning the World Series.

The Mets are a team so dysfunctional in organizational structure that even the clubhouse manager was used to assess performance. Many believe the Mets, and more specifically, the Wilpon’s are a hopeless cause when it comes to baseball rehabilitation. Sure, they will have a short run of success, but it will immediately be followed by embarrassment, dysfunction, and pain. This is because ownership can’t stay in the ivory tower and fancies themselves as a poor man’s version of George Steinbrenner.

What if moneyball takes nearly 50 years of New York Mets precedent and changes it overnight? What if just 24 months from now the Mets are looked at as the same model franchise as the Yankees and Red Sox? They won’t be working on an Oakland budget, but I don’t expect Sandy Alderson to be sporting a $200 million dollar payroll. Doesn’t this sound an awful lot like the Red Sox? Sure, but many now view Theo Epstein in the same way as Brian Cashman: more money than Moneyball. It’s unfair, but true. Perception is often reality, and the Mets are a more likeable franchise- think mistreated puppy- that any of the same principles used to rebuild the Red Sox will be glamorized if successful in Queens. Also remember that Alderson is walking into a worse situation than Epstein. Many forget the 2004 World Series was won thanks to the work of the Dan Duquette regime. The Mets don’t nearly have the same resources in place.

You almost have the perfect front office with its diversity. Alderson the lead general who shoots it straight and holds everyone accountable. Ricciardi is the talent evaluator, and DePodesta the numbers guy.

Moneyball 1.0 was positioned as OBP. Along the way it got lumped into statistical analysis that could only be useful to win a fantasy baseball league. The message has been clouded for so long, but no longer. Now Moneyball has the biggest stage in the world, with a team that many believe can never be fixed. If Moneyball 2.0 turns the Mets into a success anything is possible. What’s next? The Chicago Cubs? The baseball world wants to see more out of this dream team front office. What really is this Moneyball that everyone talks about? Class is in session and Moneyball is front and center. It now has its chance to clarify any misconceptions and shine.

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Mike Silva has hosted sports shows on 107.1 FM Champions ESPN Radio Long Island ,1240 AM WGBB , Blog Talk Radio and live from Mickey Mantle’s Restaurant. He’s also built and maintained two popular social media hubs: New York Baseball Digest and Sports Media Watchdog. Mike has broken national and local stories, as well as been mentioned on the YES Network, SNY.tv, WFAN, Sports Illustrated, ESPN, NY Daily News, New York Magazine, Journal News and the NY Post. Contact Mike professionally at mikesilvamedia.com

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2 Responses to Will Mets Success Advance Sabermetrics?

  1. Eagle

    Well, it was Epstein who got rid of Nomar, no? That was steely and brilliant move. Not sure if that’s a Moneyball or trad move, but it worked.

  2. Shamik

    Well, there is talk about getting rid of the well-liked shortstop here too…

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