Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Why Billy Beane is a Great GM

I believe that I've found the answer to why Billy Beane is a good GM and excellent at finding talent. After just reading an article about why he hasn't been successful in the postseason, I've decided to go back to Moneyball to see if I could find the answer as to why he's such a smart GM. And I found it.

I believe that Billy Beane had a life changing experience while playing the game of baseball. As written in Moneyball, Billy Beane had all the talent but he just didn't have the mental makeup that other young players had. The reasons are: first, because he was a perfectionist, second, because he didn't know how to accept failure, and third, because he was smarter than all the other players. These things that hindered him as a player help him succeed as a GM. He has an exceptional sense for picking ballplayers with the right mindset and makeup for playing baseball.

In his playing days, Billy Beane was picked in the first round, 23rd overall in the '80 draft by the Mets and was rushed through their system. He was drafted on the basis that he was a terrific athlete with all the tools a scout could wish for. The only problem was that he had low self esteem and a poor self image. Because of this, Billy Beane never succeeded as a hitter. The reason is that every time he had a bit of a slump, he had a mental breakdown. He could not accept his failure and this caused himself to fail more. This all took a toll on Billy. But since he's a smart guy, he learned from his problematic career as a ballplayer. His methods for finding talented players are drawn from his playing career. He suggests not to draft high schoolers early in the amateur draft, to judge players by what they have accomplished and not by what they can accomplish, not to draft athletes but ballplayers and to draft guys that are mentally fit for playing the game of baseball. All these traits make up the exact opposite player that he was, meaning that every year he makes sure not to draft himself.