The new Mets front office has taken the time to explain that “Moneyball” is not a game they will be playing in Queens. Paul Depodesta and J.P. Ricciardi have even criticized Michael Lewis for his characterization of their personas. I’m sure I wouldn’t appreciate being called a nerd either. Sandy Alderson, in a recent quote, told the press he would not have come to Queens if he had to instill the tactics used in Oakland.
Although I do believe the Ivy League squad running the Mets, one of the few moves made this winter seems like a chapter directly from the book. Kevin Youkilis, a key figure in the “Moneyball”, was a prime example because of his ability to walk and not strikeout. He was unappealing to most scouts because of his lack of “tools”. Billy Beane perceived “tools” a less tangible marker for a successful big leaguer. He was called fat and a bad fielder and was unnoticed through most of baseball. Nevertheless, Youk was a star in Paul Depodesta’s computer. He was a break from what a time honored scout would particularly look for.
This brings me to the Rule 5 draft. The resemblance to the the Moneyball school of thought was undeniable. J.P. Ricciardi’s familiarity with a prospect in Toronto led Sandy to scoop up Brad Emaus. Emaus has nothing flashy or exciting in his bag of tricks. He is not the “toolsy” raw talent that scouts drool over. He was brought aboard, not surprisingly, because of his ability to draw walks and not strike out. Pitch selection and on base percentage have brought him to the Mets roster.
I don’t believe the trio will be pinching pennies in years when the funds are more available. Emaus however, is an early indicator that the new regime has an idea about picking out under appreciated talent. Emaus will be the first in a list of benchmarks to judge if they can still scoop these under the radar contributors. At the very least it makes for interesting debate.