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Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Ultimatenyg Book Club: Moneyball

Moneyball by Michael Lewis

It has business. It has sports. It has the GM and the draft. This is as close as it comes to Ultimatenyg required reading. What more can you say when a General Manager turns the sports world upside down by listening to the statistics which work and transforming a 100+ year old pastime? The lessons for football are incredible. Pay attention to what works. Go for the steak in Round 2 instead of the sizzle of Round 1. Look at stats in college that will make a player stick in the pros. Respect the work of scouts but respect the stats that matter for a player's chances more. Ultimatenyg already mentioned how the 40 yard dash time is not statistically correlated with success. We found out that Jerry Reese looks at the 3-cone drill.

Baseball is radically different from football because it does not share revenue equally. But that does not mean the front office is less important. It simply means that if Billy Beane as GM has more money he is competing for championships and perpetual winners instead of trolling for good players and always watching them leave. The Eagles are trading down because they see the merit in Round 2. The experiment is two drafts (only one season) old, so the dividends will take years to be seen. But you can already see that the Eagles are getting lots of 2's 3's and 4's for their trouble. And they have two #1's next season. It is exasperating their fans, as this is the equivalent of being down by 4 and punting. But quietly the Eagles are beginning to load up. They are going to wreck that draft value chart, which I have already speculated is too top heavy. Read the links, see how second round draft picks do and you will begin to understand that you are better off trading down. That is the Moneyball conclusion Ultimatenyg has reached without a computer.

2 comments:

Cody said...

The biggest challenge of playing in the NFC East is that the stakes are *SO* high. The level of play is often the highest in the entire NFL (perhaps I'm slightly biased, but look at the power teams year-in, year-out and often they're in the NFC East). Furthermore, the margin of error is razor-thin, so I think teams in the NFC E really need to do things differently to really stand out - so obviously Eagles are trying to mimic the Patriots and strengthen the heart of team throughout those 2/3/4 rounds (the Asante Samuel signing notwithstanding).

I know this is restating the obvious, but I think what this tells me is that you simply *cannot* afford to whiff on a high proportion of draft picks in the NFL (see Redskins, Washington).

Jeremy said...

I think the biggest draft decisions come with picks in the top 10. Basically, your drafting a franchise player with them never having played a down in the NFL and you're going to give them a huge signing bonus and a large contract. With a lower choice in the 1st round, or more choices in the 2nd round, you get more player for your money. Especially with a hard cap in the NFL, it makes more sense to buy more player - especially the unproven player. Then you have $ for the Asanti Samuels of the world.

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