Ben Lindbergh and Travis Sawchik, The MVP Machine: How Baseball’s New Nonconformists Are Using Data to Build Better Players
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The MVP Machine by Ben Lindbergh and Travis Sawchik has been hailed as the successor to Moneyball (Lewis 2003), according to some reviewers in the popular press (Hamilton 2019; Torres 2019). To set the stage for The MVP Machine, let us first consider Moneyball. In the era covered in Moneyball, Major League Baseball teams were stuck in their ways, and the cursory application of data analytics demonstrated that teams were simply not correctly valuing certain skills that were valuable for winning games, especially the skill of reaching base (i.e., on-base percentage). Subsequent analysis has shown these disparities were very much real (Hakes and Sauer 2006). Billy Beane, the general manager of the cash-strapped Oakland Athletics, was the first to act on these disparities and was able to turn it into success by finding undervalued players until his competitors caught on to the strategy.
The popular interpretation of Moneyballis that it is a book about the application of statistics to...
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