Friday, March 25, 2005

Angels Embrace 'Dearth of Walks'

In a CBS Sportsline article, there is yet another Angels vs. Athletics (Free Swingers vs. Moneyball) comparison. It is a good read, particularly the quotes from Darin Erstad, the poster-boy for anti-sabermetrics baseball.
"When you hit and run, certain percentages in your game are going to go down," Erstad says. "There are not going to be many walks because you're swinging early in the count. That's just the way it is.

"You know what? It's aggressive, but it's not crazy. You still understand there are parts of the game where you need to take advantage of certain situations. Compared to other teams, we sure don't walk much."

But compared to other teams, well ... the Angels won the World Series in '02 and gave themselves a chance to win again in '04. Whatever gets you through the night.

"There are different philosophies, but who's to say which one is right?" Erstad says. "You can analyze it until you're blue in the face, but this is the way Sosh wants to play ball. This is the way they set this team up.

"This is the way we're going to do it."

I have to agree with one thing, it is a different philosophy and it has proven successful. But I would further submit that there is no right or wrong philosophy - just different ones that work with different players.

The Angels won the World Series in 2002 because they were the hottest team going into October and they played well enough in the regular season to get them in the postseason. The Red Sox won last year because they began a run late in the summer that was one of the most incredible hot-streaks I have ever witnessed. That team was untouchable from August until near-elimination at the hands of the Yankees. But as you know, they quickly regained their momentum and never looked back. The Angels should make the playoffs, the question then will be how are they playing going into October? For my money, I'll take a free-swinging team that probably has a 50/50 shot at being hot at the right time over an even-keeled walk-happy club that will get on base at a .380 clip but likely won't have hot-hitting momentum to carry them to the next level.


Anonymous Dodger Hater said...

I am about 2/3rds of the way through Moneyball and I am totally sold on the concept. It baffles me how anyone could argue with it. I wish the Angels would embrace the idea.

6:23 PM  
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