The Huskies in Relation to “Moneyball”


Recently, the movie “Moneyball,” based on the 2003 book by Michael Lewis, was released into theatres. The story depicts the Oakland Athletics’ success despite having the third smallest payroll in the MLB, presents radical ideas for how a baseball team can and should achieve success.

The controversial Moneyball system popularized by A’s general manager Billy Beane, has been widely disputed within baseball and has been adamantly opposed by some members of the baseball community.

I thought it would be interesting to compare last year’s Husky baseball team to some of the Moneyball tactics seen in the book and movie.

One of the most emphasized strategies in “Moneyball” was the importance of on base percentage. On base percentage (OBP or OB%) calculates how consistently a player reaches base through hits, walks, or being hit by a pitch.

The principle behind the seeking a high OBP is that, getting on base, whether with a hit or walk, prevents an out from being made and can translate into runs being scored.

The Huskies had the

lowest team on base percentage in the PAC-10 last season at .337. The trend within the conference was that the higher the team’s OBP, the higher they were ranked in the PAC-10.

A second pillar of the Moneyball belief system is the importance of not giving up outs on the base paths, especially through stealing. The Huskies fit this description well last year, as they were only caught stealing 21 times, third lowest in the conference.

Another Moneyballism is the importance of not walking batters from the pitching aspect. Just like you want to get on base for free, you don’t want to give up bases for free.

The Husky pitching staff excelled in this aspect. They had the lowest number of walked batters in the past season in their confrence with 146, which equals around only 2.7 walks per game.

The final emphasis of Moneyball that I will touch on is the need to strike out batters. The thought process is that in order to get a hit, you need to put the ball in play; and in order to put the ball in play, you can’t strike out.

The Husky pitchers struggled to strikeout batters and finished in the PAC-10 cellar in the batters struck out column. The batter struck out rankings and batting averages against rankings in the conference were nearly identical in the 2011 baseball season as well as in the 2010 season.

Due to the controversy surrounding Moneyball and its ideas, I have tried not to insert an agenda into this article. I do not intend to push you the reader towards a pro or anti Moneyball perspective, please just take these statistics for what they are.

Whether you do or do not have an opinion on Moneyball ideals, I recommend this book and movie simply to add to your knowledge of baseball, and from there you can make a decision on which side you will take on the topic.