Sunday, October 2, 2011
Moneyball Review: Is Johnny Damon really overrated?
After the 2001 season, the Athletics had to replace, as emphasized in Moneyball, Jason Giambi, Jason Isringhausen, and Johnny Damon. After Billy Beane hires Jonah Hill's character, we learn that Johnny Damon is "overrated" and not worth the money the Red Sox gave him. Now regular readers of the blog know that I am very much on the Johnny Damon bandwagon, so we will see if the numbers side with Moneyball's assessment, or what I have said in previous articles on Damon. First let's tackle the claim that Damon was not worth what the Red Sox paid him. In his 4 years in Boston, Damon's WASP's were as follows: 1542, 12500, 1818, 3437. So two years, he was very much worth it, had one really bad season, and was slightly overpaid his final year. This makes the claim that he is not worth it shaky at best. In Damon's one year in Oakland, his WASP was a very solid 2629, and he only made $150,000 less than he did in his first year in Boston. According to the main statistic of Sabermetrics, Wins after Replacement, he was very much worth his salary, contrary to the claims of Moneyball. The main problem Moneyball raised with Damon was On Base Percentage. In Oakland, it wasn't that good, at just .324. However, as you learn in statistics there are always outliers. Damon's Oakland season was certainly an outlier as far as OBP goes. His career OBP is .353. In Boston, it was .362, New York was .363, Kansas City .351, and Detroit .355. In his career, he has had a nice 1.4 PPG and a pretty good 2.52 PAPP in his career. I think this is one of the (few things really) things that Billy Beane's Moneyball A's got wrong (to be clear, they didn't resign Damon because they couldn't, not because they didn't want to. I am just referring to the notion that Damon isn't worth it).