Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Moneyball now a movie - Hollywood Formula to sell Revolution Story

The Toronto Blue Jays just came off their Moneyball experiment under former General Manager JP Ricciardi.

Ricciardi rose up through the scouting department in Oakland under General Manager, sabremetrics devotee - and cost cutter - Sandy Alderson. Ricciardi hit the front office in 1996 (Director of Player Personnel) and apprenticing under Moneyball Legend, General Manager (1998) Billy Beane and with Assistant General Manager (math genius) Paul DePodesta (1999). Beane and Ricciardi both rose up through the A's scouting department under GM Alderson.

In 2002 as GM in Toronto JP Ricciardi laid-off a Blue Jay brain-trust in scouting and player development - a 30 year legacy - as part of a restructuring towards the more objective - and cost effective - sabermetric scouting approach. The result was a terrible dive in the standings to last place in 2004 - 33 (!) games out.

Looking back through the trades he made, there doesn't seem to be a lot of sabremetricing in his general managing - when he thought he was close after guts and glory 2003 season (re: Roy Halladay 22-7 3.25ERA) he simply signed high priced big name free agents. When that didn't work he did more of the same. After a horrible 2004 season Rodgers upped the budget to $70M/year ($210 Million over 3 years) and Ricciardi took on big payroll in Lyle Overbay and Troy Glaus. The same year he signed 1B Adam Lind which lead to a clubhouse disease as neither player was signaled as the starter at 1B yet no one said they were a tandem either.

The player development stream never really started flowing before Riccairdi was fired after a terrible 2009 season (4of5 .463 29GB).

Moneyball at Oakland

The story of the Oakland A's as underdog franchise succeeding over stick-in-the mud organizational metrics with a brilliant new way of seeing the universe with-in the highly complex game is a good one. Moneyball is due out in theatres September 23rd.

I'll watch for it online (I don't do theatres or television).

'Box Office Gold', actor Brad Pitt plays Oakland's GM Billy Beane.

Here's the Trailer from Youtubes MoviesYahoocom.

How's that Working for You?

The Blue Jays achieved 2nd place in 2006 (87-75 10GB NYY) after a dip and then a 2 year rise under Ricciardi's watch (2002-2009) - with a third of the payroll of the Evil Empire. It is important to note that many of the prospects coming up to Toronto this year were Ricciardi regime picks.

AL East 2006 - Final Standings

Team                 Finish   Win%  Games Behind
New York Yankees      97-65   .599       -  
Toronto Blue Jays     87-75   .537      10.0
Boston Red Sox        86-76   .531      11.0
Baltimore Orioles     70-92   .432      27.0
Tampa Bay Devil Rays  61 101  .377      36.0

Wild Card: AL Central - Detroit Tigers (95-67 .586)

Billy Beane's Oakland A's had more success, quicker.

Oakland Athletics 1995 - 2006
Year      W  L   W-L%   Finish   
2006      93 69 .574   1st of 4
2005      88 74 .543   2nd of 4
2004      91 71 .562   2nd of 4
2003      96 66 .593   1st of 4
2002     103 59 .636   1st of 4
2001     102 60 .630   2nd of 4
2000      91 70 .565   1st of 4 
1999***   87 75 .537   2nd of 4
1998**    74 88 .457   4th of 4
1997      65 97 .401   4th of 4
1996*     78 84 .481   3rd of 4 
1995      67 77 .465   4th of 4(Tony LaRussa's last year)
*** Paul DePodesta hired
** Beane takes over from Alderson as GM
* Ricciardi makes Front Office

Don't get me wrong here, I'm not interested in the macho posturing that coloured the shift to better statistical analysis. The Oakland experiment was a brilliant reconfiguring of a Major League Club's organizational structure that started with a re-visioning of the fundimental precepts of the organization. A daunting task in any organization - and the numbers show the theory and practice in Oakland worked. The A's were competative with the New York Yankees franchise in 2002 even thought the Oakland player salary budget was $84 million less (<1/3) than the Yankee's budget ($41- $125).

In its wake, teams such as the New York Mets, New York Yankees, San Diego Padres, St. Louis Cardinals, Boston Red Sox, Washington Nationals, Arizona Diamondbacks, Cleveland Indians,[1] and the Toronto Blue Jays have hired full-time Sabermetric analysts.


The Boston Red Sox (Front Office Directory) have Sabrmetric's inventor and guru Bill James hired as Senior Advisor/Baseball Operations. The franchise uses both a great and extensive farm system, plus the more objective sabermetric measuring gauges to build and maintain the organization.

Part of the value of the 1999 - 2003 Oakland A's Moneyball organizational pricipals was the idea that other Major League Baseball organizations were over-valuing certain qualities of baseball players, caused by a fuzzy view of player value as a function of imprecice statistical instruments - and exacerbated, magnified, by the Collective Agreement between the Player's Association and MLB - and particularlly the arbitration process which codified specific statistics (the result of a consultation between baseball operation people, financial operations people in MLB franchises and at the head offices of MLB - and in combination with a similar consultation with-in the MLBPA), and thusly massively distorted the relative worth of certain kinds of baseball players. Home Run hitters and RBI leaders were very highly valued (and add here the distortion to player value caused by the American League's DH rule which adds a demand for power hitters to the mix), while players with essential baseball tools like catch, read, run, speed, throw and baseball intellect were institutionally undervalued.

Sabermetric anaysis alowed the Oakland A's to find cast-off players who together and in the right proportions could be key elements in a great team - at that time at a third the cost. Now that the 'cat is out of the bag' so to speak, or the numbers are in - and the theory and practice is being adopted by more and more franchisees - the relative advantage gained through the use of sabremetric analysis is declining.

Enter the Next Generation GM

Toronto general manager Alex Anthopoulos, along with super-genius Paul Beeston have instituted a new system in Toronto, the 'We're-smarter-than-you-and-we've-got-more-and-better-people-at-all-levels' system.

So far so good. I'm too close to be objective, but this new player development system - and with one of the craftiest deal makers I can remember since Pat Gilick - this team seems to continuously funnel great looking ball players up to the major league level form the AAA Las Vegas 51's. With the 40 player roster now allowed, September will be a 'Back to the Future' month here in Toronto; and there's many more prospects coming in the years ahead. This year the Bue Jays signed 4 of 5 so called 'hard to sign' prospects from the amateur draft - leveraging their people power, hands on, Canadian nice-ness to attract and sign player that other clubs thought would be impossible to sign and thus likely turn out to be wasted picks.

Enough Scouting for You?

Toronto Blue Jays' Player Development and Scouting Staff 

Front Office Directory
Revised: August 30, 2011

Toronto Blue Jays
Rogers Centre
Address: 1 Blue Jays Way, Suite 3200
City: Toronto, State: ON Zip Code: M5V 1J1
Website: www.bluejays.com
Phone: 416-341-1000


Vice Chairman, Rogers Communications Inc.
Phil Lind
President and CEO, Rogers Media
Keith Pelley
President and CEO, Toronto Blue Jays & Rogers Centre
Paul Beeston
Senior Vice President, Baseball Operations and General Manager
Alex Anthopoulos
Senior Vice President, Business Operations
Stephen R. Brooks
Vice President, Special Projects
Howard Starkman
Special Assistant to the Organization
Roberto Alomar
Executive Assistant to the President and CEO
Sue Cannell


Senior Vice President, Baseball Operations and General Manager
Alex Anthopoulos
Vice President, Baseball Operations and Assistant General Manager
Tony LaCava
Assistant General Manager
Jay Sartori
Special Assistant to the General Manager
Dana Brown
Cito Gaston
Administrator, Baseball Operations
Heather Connolly
Baseball Information Analyst
Joe Sheehan
Executive Assistant to the GM
Anna Coppola
Director, Team Employee Assistance Program
Ray Karesky
Director, Team Safety
Ron Sandelli
Director, Team Travel and Clubhouse Operations
Mike Shaw
Head Trainer
George Poulis
Assistant Trainer
Hap Hudson
Equipment Manager
Jeff Ross
Clubhouse Manager
Kevin Malloy
Visiting Clubhouse Manager
Len Frejlich
Strength and Conditioning Coordinator
Bryan King
Video Operations
Robert Baumander
Coordinator, Advance Scouting & Video
Brian Abraham
Team Employee Assistance Program
Brian Shaw
Medical Advisor
Dr. Bernie Gosevitz
Team Physician
Dr. Ron Taylor
Consulting Massage Therapist
Todd Earl
Consulting Neurologist
Dr. Jonathan Gladstone
Consulting Orthopedic Surgeon
Dr. Allan Gross
Consulting Orthopedic Surgeon
Dr. Steven Mirabello
Consulting Orthopedic Surgeon
Dr. Jason Smith
Consulting Orthopedic Surgeon
Dr. John Theodoropoulos
Consulting Podiatrist
Dr. Glenn Copeland
Consulting Internal Medicine Physician
Dr. James Fischer
Consulting Chiropractor
Dr. Pat Graham
Consulting Chiropractor
Dr. Mark Scappaticci
Consulting Chiropractor
Dr. Mike Preberg


Director, Information Technology
Mike Maybee
Manager, Information Technology
Anthony Miranda
Voice/Data Network Operations Specialist
Donny Catinari
IT Support Analyst
Yvan Duval
IT Support Analyst
Arsian Khan
IT Support Analyst
Richard Solis
IT Support Coordinator
Katrina LeCavalier


Director, Minor League Operations
Charlie Wilson
Minor League Field Coordinator
Doug Davis
Roving Hitting Coach
Anthony Iapoce
Roving Infield Coach
Mike Mordecai
Roving Outfield & Baserunning Coach
Rich Miller
Roving Pitching Coach
Dane Johnson
Rehab Pitching Coach
Rick Langford
Minor League Athletic Training Coordinator
Mike Frostad
Minor League Equipment Coordinator
Billy Wardlow
Minor League Strength & Conditioning Coordinator
Donovan Santas
Coordinator, Minor League Administration
Joanna Nelson
Assistant Latin American Administration
Blake Bentley
Administrative Assistant
Kim Marsh


Director, Amateur Scouting
Andrew Tinnish
Director, Professional Scouting
Perry Minasian
Special Assignment Scout
Jon Lalonde
Director, Latin American Operations
Marco Paddy
Assistant Director, Amateur Scouting
Ryan Mittleman
Coordinator, Professional Scouting
Harry Einbinder


Major League Scout
Jim Beattie
Major League Scout
Russ Bove
Major League Scout
Sal Butera
Major League Scout
Ed Lynch


Professional Crosschecker
Mike Mangan
Professional Crosschecker
Gary Rajsich
Senior Advisor/Professional Scout
Mel Didier
Professional Scout/Director, Canadian Baseball
Kevin Briand
Professional Scout
John Brickley
Professional Scout
Tom Clark
Professional Scout
Steve Connelly
Professional Scout
Kimball Crossley
Professional Scout
Bob Fontaine
Professional Scout
Bob Hamelin
Professional Scout
David May Jr.
Professional Scout
Wayne Morgan
Professional Scout
Brian Parker
Professional Scout
Marteese Robinson
Professional Scout
Jim Skaalen
Professional Scout/Performance Coach
Steve Springer
Professional Scout
Dale Sutherland
Professional Scout
Doug Witt
Professional Video Scout
Joe Barbera
Professional Video Scout
Pete Holmes
Professional Video Coordinator
Ryan Mabry


National Crosschecker
Dean Decillis
National Crosschecker
Marc Tramuta
Regional Crosschecker
Matt Briggs
Regional Crosschecker
Tom Burns
Regional Crosschecker
Dan Cholowsky
Regional Crosschecker
Steve Miller
Regional Crosschecker
Tim Rooney


Joey Aversa
Fountain Valley, CA
Darold Brown
Elk Grove, CA
Jon Bunnell
Overland Park, KS
Dan Cox
Santa Ana, CA
Blake Crosby
Gilbert, AZ
C.J. Ebarb
Friendswood, TX
Kevin Fox
La Mirada, CA
Ryan Fox
Yakima, WA
Bobby Gandolfo
Lansdale, PA
Joel Grampietro
Tampa, FL
John Hendricks
Mocksville, NC
Randy Kramer
Aptos, CA
Nick Manno
Brunswick, OH
Eric McQueen
Acworth, GA
Mike Medici
Naperville, IL
Nate Murrie
Bowling Green, KY
Matt O'Brien
Clermont, FL
Cliff Pastornicky
Birmingham, AL
Wes Penick
Clive, IA
Michael Pesce
New Hyde Park, NY
Jorge Rivera
Puerto Nuevo, PR
Rob St. Julien
Scott, LA
Darin Vaughan
Tulsa, OK
Michael Wagner
Addison, TX


Jamie Lehman
Brampton, ON
Don Cowan
Delta, BC
Jim Fanning
Ambassador, Amateur Baseball
Sean McCann
Ambassador, Amateur Baseball


Miguel Bernard
San Pedro de Macoris, DR
Robinson Garces
Maracaibo, VZ
Pablo Leal
Maturin, VZ
Erick Medina
Cartagena, Columbia
Rafael Moncada
San Diego Valencia, VZ
Lorenzo Perez
Manoguayabo, DR
Hilario Soriano
Santo Domingo, DR
Domingo Toribio
San Pedro de Macoris, DR
Greg Wade
Queensland, Australia


Brian Johnston
Los Angeles, CA
Matt Bishoff
Tampa, FL
Coulson Barbiche
Houston, TX

Via "Front Office Directory" (toronto.bluejays.mlb.com)

(list edited to show only people directly involved with player development and scouting - full list at the link.)


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