Thanks to Brad at No Pepper, everyone in the baseball blogoshpere seems to have tacked onto Perfect Game’s interview with Braves Scouting Director Roy Clark. Based on one of Clark’s comments Tom at Balls, Sticks, & Stuff (via Offwing) makes an interesting observation regarding the Braves market response to a new market inefficiency.
Eager to copy what works, many teams have begun to focus particularly on college players in the draft. So what was once an undervalued commodity, is now possibly overvalued, and so by focusing on high school players, the Braves are taking advantage of what has become a market inefficiency.
Like the story of Billy Beane told in Moneyball, John Schuerholz (as well as all other good GMs) is always on the lookout for the next great bargain. To most Braves fans this is old news. Schuerholz has been the master at picking up formerly overrated veterans after they swing to being underrated (see Bonilla, Franco, and now Mondesi and Jordan). And what he does with pitchers under the watchful eye of Leo and Bobby no one else has yet to figure out. One Braves commentator often touts the Atlanta approach as proof that the sabermetric Moneyball stuff is garbage. I didn’t get it when I first heard it, and I still don’t. Does JS do things deferently than Beane? Of course, all GMs do. The other officially licensed Moneyball GMs — DePodesta, Ricciardi, and Epstein — do things different from each other, too. The point is, for the past few seasons the Braves have not gone after any standard big free agents, yet they keep winning with teams that look like losers to the masses on opening day. JS isn’t just stumbling onto these guys. His approach is unique and it works. And though it involves scouting, it is also clear that JS is quite stat savvy.