Saturday, September 24, 2011

Moneyball Review: Scott Hatteberg or Carlos Pena?

The face of Moneyball is Scott Hatteberg. Who can replace Jason Giambi? Hatteberg. Why? Because he can get on base. "Play Hatteberg" becomes the mantra of Billy Beane, much to the dismay of Art Howe, who wanted to play Carlos Pena. So who was right? Despite being one of the big decisions, if not the key decision of Billy Beane's moneyball A's, some have suggested that the move is actually antithetical to the principle of moneyball. In 2002, Carlos Pena was making just $202,000, while Hatteberg was making $900,000. Pena was also a much younger player, although this doesn't really matter to Beane. The first question is whether Hatteberg or Pena was better in 2002 for the Athletics. The answer is easily Hatteberg. Hatteberg posted a 2.7 WAR (he bizarrely had a .7 WAR on defense, when the big question was whether he could play first base, he obviously could), while Pena posted just a .4 WAR in his time with the Athletics. Carlos Pena played in 40 games, giving him a WAR per game of .01, while Hatteberg (played in 136 games) had a .02 WAR per game. Hatteberg post a 333 WASP (if you are unsure what any of these statistics mean, check the tabs above), while Pena had a 505. While both numbers are great, Hatteberg was better value, despite having a bigger salary. For what it is worth, Hatteberg was also better in his Athletic career than Pena's Tiger (Pena was traded to Detroit by the A's) career. The big number for Beane and the A's though was OBP (on base percentage), and in 2002 it wasn't even close. Hatteberg had a .374 OBP, and Pena had just a .302. Pena had a PAPP of 2.88, while Hatteberg had a better PAPP of 2.57. Pena's PPG was a bad .875, while Hatteberg's was a better, but still not great .99. So yes, it seems that Beane was right, the stats were on his side in the Pena versus Hatteberg fight.

1 comment: