Monday, May 15, 2006

"Moneyball" review

Moneyball: The Art of Winning an Unfair Game
by Michael Lewis

Of sabermetrics and pudgy catchers, May 15, 2006
Greg A. Locascio (DeKalb, IL USA) - See all my reviews "Moneyball" is an inside look into the mind and habits of Billy Beane, the general manager of the small market Oakland A's. Faced with the daunting project of building a roster on peanuts, Beane turns to the statistical analysis of Bill James, an outsider to baseball, a fan, a former bean factory employee. James now works for the Boston Red Sox.

This is a book about baseball statistics. But it is not boring because Lewis profiles the players behind the numbers, like Chad Bradford, a terminally shy pitcher with a knuckle-scraping-ground underhand delivery, and Scott Hatteberg, the catcher with a bad arm who thought his playing days were over, only to be resurrected as a first baseman because Beane saw something valuable in Hatteberg's on-base percentage and ability to work the count (Hatteberg's lifetime batting average and power, stats most scouts consider essential, are nothing special).

Jeremy Brown, the pudgy, overweight catcher (5'10'', 210)profiled in "Moneyball," made his major league debut May 9, but has yet to appear in a game."

Moneyball" is a fun, brisk read. It gives a human faces to the baseball cattle market even as it portends the rise of the Harvard grads with their laptops.

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