Tuesday, August 27, 2013
Revisiting “Moneyball” with Paul DePodesta
Have you ever been surprised by a player who outperformed his statistical profile?
Oh, yeah. A main part of our reasoning is to put ourselves in a position to get lucky. With the amount of competition there is in the industry, it’s hard to put together 25 players that are just way better than everybody else. We drafted some college players at Oakland who we knew would probably be Major League players, but there was a limit to how much impact they might have. We had made the mistake of taking what they were then, and projecting it indefinitely into the future. But they got better. Guys like Eric Byrnes and Barry Zito. We had expectations for them; don’t get me wrong. They were talented players, but they made themselves even better.
What do you mean by putting yourself in a position to get lucky?
Failure is a huge part of our industry. The best players fail every day. It’s no different than a championship poker player or a card-counter at the blackjack table. They lose all the time, too, but they put themselves in a position to get lucky by using pot odds or having an idea what’s remaining in the shoe. Over time, they win, even though there are a lot of losses along the way. We try to do the same. We know we’re still going to be wrong often, but we’re at least trying to give ourselves positive odds.