Athletics

Billy Beane explains how A's, 'Moneyball' sped up MLB analytics revolution

Athletics

The book "Moneyball" -- and the movie it inspired -- is synonymous with the A's. And, well, that's because the movie is about how the 2002 Oakland A's brought about the baseball analytics revolution.

Numbers came in between the Jonah Hill fist clench and reminding yourself that there's always something romantic about baseball ... and numbers don't lie. Billy Beane himself said the book and the subsequent film stuck mostly to the script, so to speak.

"[I have] zero regrets because my life has changed because of it," Beane told Josh Lewin and Jon Heyman on the "Big Time Baseball" podcast.

There weren't any "secrets" the A's executive vice president of baseball operations was worried about giving away, and he credited the sabermetrics pioneers who came before him.

"What was in the book was really just taking the ideas of a Bill James and Pete Palmer," Beane said,  "some of the baseball academics who thought for years there were some baseball inefficiencies in the game, and we were evaluating some of the wrong skills."

It wasn't something the A's organization invented, by any means. All of that information and data had been out there, but the A's use of it created something great. 

"I do think it accelerated, to some extent, the analytics revolution," Beane said. "The fact that not only baseball teams but businesses, in general, had access to a lot more data."

 

Now, all teams have created their own proprietary analytics. That was stuff Beane and company didn't have to give away.

"At some point, people were going to figure it out and do it anyway," Beane said. "Once the book came out we were on to creating our own stuff, because we were able to keep that secret for a while."

He also credited the Houston Astros for their successes on the field with the team's use of analytics in player development. I mean, this is a team that took Justin Verlander, who is a great pitcher, and made him even greater. Which, I didn't think was possible, but here we are.

Beane added the Astros are the team that will cause the most difficulties for the A's, and for a while.

"The road to the division title will go through Houston for a few more years," Beane said.

[RELATED: Beane's plans for A's around trade deadline]

And believe it or not, he even brought the term "chemistry" into the conversation. The A's have it, and the confidence shown when the Green and Gold is winning is easy to see. But still, the "Moneyball" era was something special to Beane

From his standpoint, it was life-changing.