Moneyball, Revisited

Hmm, this seems to be a good time to take another look at Moneyball. The Oakland A’s have made another of their patented runs through the second half of the season – validating their statistical approach to building a team for the regular season.

One of the premises of their statistical approach is that defense is overrated. So it’s quite interesting that the Marlins have just eliminated the Giants on the basis of a bad defensive play by the Giants in the 8th and a good defensive play by the Marlins in the 9th.

I can’t help but question whether statistics based upon a 162 game season are applicable to short playoff series. Nothing in the regular season compares to the pressure of a playoff series. The pressure could make the playoffs significantly different than the regular season.

It seems to me that good defense is relatively resistent to pressure. Pressure forces players to think too much. Batters have time to anticipate their next at bat and they know they’re going to make an out more than half the time. Fielders don’t know when they’ll need to make a play and they’re programmed for success.