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Wednesday, August 13, 2003
not so fast?
there is a popular perception, fueled by moneyball, that the oakland a's are a bunch of slow, fat guys who walk a lot and hit home runs. that the pitchers are all deformed in some way, and get outs by weirdness. the reason for these things, we are told, is that the a's need cheap talent, and the only cheap talent is rejects.

that's a nice story, but it's just not true. the only hitter like that is erubiel durazo. and the pitchers are mostly tall and left-handed, about the scarcest resource you can find.

terrence long: fast. chris singleton: fast. eric byrnes: fast. jose guillen: fast. billy mcmillon: fast. those are all outfielders. but the infielders are fast, too.

they may not have a lot of stolen bases, but they have one of the best percentages in the majors:

Atlanta .77
Seattle .76
Tampa Bay .76
Oakland .74
Baltimore .73

bottom 5:

Cleveland .62
San Francisco .61
Arizona .60
Detroit .56
Toronto .54

another speed-related stat is gidp. the a's are fifth:

Detroit 70
Pittsburgh 76
Cincinnati 79
Texas 82
Oakland 84

the worst:

Cubs 108
San Diego 109
Milwaukee 110
Yankees 113
Montreal 114

also, the a's have great defense at every position. great defenders tend to have speed.

of course, people don't realize the a's defense is good. they can't imagine it, because they still have the image of matt stairs in their heads (who is an underrated outfielder, btw.)

tall left handers: lilly 6-1, zito 6-4, mulder 6-6, halama 6-5.

this is not the team that people think it is.
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