Case Analysis: Billy Beane, Changing the Game

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Case Analysis: Billy Beane- Changing the Game (2005) HBS Q1. Describe the traditional "Old Guard" system of identifying and selecting baseball players. What were its primary shortcomings? Traditional methods of attracting players involved 'throwing money' at top talent that had been recruited based upon the speculative 'eyeing' of a scout. However, the Oakland A's low payroll and surprising success record seemed to defy the wisdom of this technique. Billy Beane used the technique of Sabermetrics, which argued such controversial positions such as the fact that that errors were overly subjective as a way of 'grading' players and that clutch hitting was overrated as a judge of someone's ability to turn a game around. Beane emphasized statistics over scouting. Q2. Describe the Sabermetrics approach and the new insights it provided about identifying and selecting baseball players. In the former 'Runs Created' model of judging the value of the player, too much emphasis was placed upon batting averages and stolen bases versus the Sabermetrics approach which used an equation computing the value of a player based on walks, steals, and doubles. On-base percentage versus the traditional metric of a 'batting average' was used to determine hitter effectiveness. Sabermetrics also suggested that certain tried and true techniques such as sacrificial bunting were less effective than originally presumed. A great deal of the analysis supported the notion that succeeding in baseball was

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