“People are overlooked for a variety of biased reasons and perceived flaws. Age, appearance, personality. Bill James and mathematics cut straight through that. Billy, of the 20,000 notable players for us to consider, I believe that there is a championship team of twenty-five people that we can afford, because everyone else in baseball undervalues them.”
This was the thinking that Peter Brand (played by Jonah Hill in the movie Moneyball) brought to Billy Beane, General Manager of the Oakland Athletics in 2002. In the previous year, Beane’s team had made it to the postseason, but were defeated by the Yankees. The team then lost three star players to free agency, and Beane didn’t have the budget to replace them. But baseball analyst Brand showed him that Beane could do big things with his small budget, and as a result, the A’s went to the World Series the very next year.
Turning to data to find undervalued players didn’t stop with the A’s. Beane and Brand started a trend in baseball that changed the game forever, and the use of data has only gotten more complex and competitive as the types and amount of data have exploded over recent years.
This was the focus of Dean Allemang, Tim Harsch, and Amar Shan’s presentation at the recent SemTechBiz Conference, Big Data Analytics for Baseball. The three men from YarcData showed a roomful of baseball and semantic technology fans how in the current world of Big Data, RDF is not only a great solution for health care, government, and media organizations, but for America’s favorite pastime, as well. Read more