Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Billy Beane = Hall of Famer?

Anyone knows me knows the respect for the job Billy Beane has done in Oakland. Beane is part of a group of 3 that can be considered the best general managers of our generation along with Brian Cashman and John Schuerholz. Beane's run of success seemed to be over the past two seasons as his A's team missed two straight playoffs, however the A's have come back with a vengeance and should easily take the American League West pennant. This off-season, the A's did their best to continue adding players whom they valued more than other teams, something they are known for ever since the publication of Moneyball. They signed oft-injured Frank Thomas to an incentive-laden deal, traded for troubled Milton Bradley and even signed...gulp...Esteban Loaiza to a fat contract. All the critics were out in full force saying that Bradley and Thomas would destroy the clubhouse atmosphere(if Thomas played enough for it to matter) and that Beane had overpaid for Loaiza. But here we are again and the A's have a 5.5 game lead in their division with a payroll that ranks 21st in the league.

None of this is news to anyone...but this may be. The A's had 22 wins in August against only 5 losses!! 22-5! They won 81% of their games in that month! And this is nothing new for this franchise, over the last six years Oakland has a winning percentage of .734 in the month of August. I don't even know how to explain this...is it because their teams are often young and therefore they have more energy at the end of the year? Or that there skills better themselves as the year goes on? Is it a killer instinct that the team has? Is it part of the coaching strategy to peak around August-October? Or does Billy Beane target players that play their best late in the season? Looking at Thomas and Bradley's stats quickly doesn't suggest that these athletes play at their best late in the season. So the question remains, why is August so hot in Oakland? Any thoughts?

No comments: