Moneyball is about a new approach to baseball, hiring Harvard statistics nerds to scout talent, going deep inside the stats to find the most effective players. Oakland A’s GM Billy Beane, portrayed as an obsessive perfectionist lead the A’s to the play offs several times early in the noughties with a fraction on the budget of most teams. Using number crunching to scout meant the A’s recruited players who were fat, old or just had weird technique who, crucially, got the job done – on paper.
Michael Lewis is one of the smartest writers around, and he brings this world of number crunching and hours alone with Excel to life. This book caused a storm in Baseball with theories that flew in the face of what ‘traditional baseball guys’ valued. It would be fascinating to see this approach applied to Cricket, another sport that lends itself to statistical obsession.
Michael Lewis article on Moneyball in Basketball (NY Times).