You’ve all heard about “Moneyball.” Most of you have seen the movie. Many of you have also read the original book the movie was based on. I can say with all sincerity that as far as the Rangers are concerned, “Moneyball” is working once again for the Oakland A’s and Billy Beane.
For the few who aren’t aware of the premise behind “Moneyball,” it is that Oakland A’s General Manager Billy Beane was one of the earliest GM’s to take advantage of advanced metrics in building his baseball team. Operating under a small-market budget, Beane’s A’s were perennial contenders but couldn’t afford to keep all of their home-grown stars. How, then, to remain competitive?
In Beane’s case it meant looking for undervalued commodities. Back then, Beane looked for players with great on-base percentages. In other years it could be other stats that are being undervalued, like FIP for pitchers or Runs Created for batters.
I can now say with certainty what Billy Beane’s coup for 2012 was. Thus far, the A’s have managed a very decent 6-6 record against the Rangers. Overall, the A’s are a surprising four games over .500. Most of it can be directly attributed to Beane’s picking the most undervalued asset of all, one nobody but Beane could have thought of. The undervalued asset? Guys named Brandon.
In 2012, the A’s have carried five players named Brandon on their roster. Brandon Inge. Brandon Moss. Brandon Hicks. Brandon McCarthy. Brandon Allen. Except for Allen, all the Brandons have been instrumental in Oakland wins over Texas. Brandon McCarthy has one win against the Rangers and pitched well in a no decision as well. Brandon Inge has two home runs and 7 RBI against the Rangers for the A’s. Brandon Moss has only four hits against the Rangers in six games, but two of them are solo home runs, one of them the icing on the cake of a 3-1 win over Yu Darvish. Lastly, Brandon Hicks’ first major league home run came on Wednesday. It was a walk-off shot to give the A’s a 4-3 win over Texas.
Remember this, saberists. It’s not always statistics that show you undervalued players. Sometimes it’s all in a name. Billy Beane, you are one smart dude.