Anyway, in and high school and college both were (obviously) huge on-base guys; but what's happened since then is that everyone they've been around since being drafted has tried to make them hit for power. What's ridiculous is that this is from within the A's organization, the club which has popularized the importance of OBP over slugging. Listening to all the advice about hitting may have ruined Stanley's career, though Teahen chose to ignore them, and is now a major leaguer (probably thanks to the Beltran trade, sending him to KC, who needed a 3B -- unfortunately he's now on the DL).
So there's some pretty interesting insights into the way farm systems work. A couple other random notes from the article:
- In a refreshing change from his writing in Moneyball, Lewis seems to have added some (healthy) skepticism to Beane's views:
Oakland's first hypothesis was that a college player who got himself on base at an extraordinarily high rate, and who drew many bases on balls, possessed a core competency: an ability to judge, and control, the strike zone. A keen eye, and the discipline to use it, reduced the risk that a hitter would fail completely as a pro...The Oakland hypothesis might prove to be right; it might prove to be wrong. It might give Oakland a better-than-average shot at finding big-league players, or it might not.[His point, though, is a good one: franchises can't be worse than they already are at picking talent, so why not gamble?] He also portrays Beane as a little more human, not guy who always knows what he's doing and who always alienates "the old scouts": when Stanley (5'7") first took the field, Beane blurted out "God, he's a little runt! Take a deep breath and say, 'This can work.'"
- A while back, when Giambi's admitting steroid use was leaked and the Yanks were trying desperately to get out of his contract, I was laughing at the Teahen section of Moneyball:
Everyone stares silently at Teahen's name for about thirty seconds. Eric says, "I hate to say it but if you want to talk about another Jason Giambi, this guy could be it." Giambi was a natural hitter who developed power ["developed"...yeah right] only after the Oakland A's drafted him. In the second round. Over the objections of scouts who [rightfully] said he couldn't run, throw, field, or hit with power. Jason Giambi: [steroid-powered] MVP of the American League in 2000.Okay, sorry, I couldn't help myself with the editorializing. Anyway, Giambi was a 3B then too; also in the article baseball people compare him to George Brett. And Wade Boggs. Amazing how baseball people -- even nerdy Oakland front-office types -- can be so small minded, only describing players in terms of other similar players -- who play the same position. Isn't it possible that Teahen has a fairly unique set of skills? Or is more like, say, someone else who doesn't play third base?
- Finally, I have new-found respect for Mark McLemore.