Developing on the work of others, like baseball statistics expert Bill James, Beane designed an aggressive group on a limited price range. Again, he did it by finding players that nobody else desired. For example, trainers and supervisors undervalued players who do not swing at pitches and, thus, attracted more walks. These players were underrated because they had low batting average. But they got on base which, of course, is a requirement for scoring. As James outlined, a batter should be assessed by his capability to make runs. Everybody decided that developing runs was essential, but nobody else saw what these players were doing in those conditions. These days, plate discipline and the capability to draw walks are seen as a useful resource and a player’s ‘on-base percentage’, or OBP, is an essential statistic. But back in 2002, baseball undervalued these players , which permitted Beane to sign them to the Oakland A’s. Of course, he was belittled at times by scouts and other baseball associates. Although his techniques were unorthodox at first, ten seasons later, they are considered as the conventional wisdom.
“If total miscalculations of an individual’s value could happen on a baseball field, before a live audience of 30, 000, and TV viewers of millions more, what did that say about the statistic of efficiency in other lines of work? If expert baseball players could be over- or under-valued, who couldn’t?”
A startling query. It’s been my argument for a while that humanities degrees are underrated by the industry. There are a lot of people out there whose abilities are ignored by the ruling business culture. What we need are some businesspeople, some Billy Beane-type visionaries, who will see what we humanities graduates have to provide and give us opportunity. There happens to be a big industry ineffectiveness here patiently waiting to be utilized by some smart people. Not only would this cause to more applied humanities graduates, but their companies would be getting a lot too. Actually, they would be getting great value: a solid expertise set for less than the cost of an overvalued MBA. It makes perfect business sense to me.