Astroball Is a Must Read Book on Change

Future Hall of Famer Carlos Beltran.
In 2017, he was a charismatic positive influence upon many of the younger Astro World Series Championship players.

In the December 3, 2018 meeting of our Larry Dierker Chapter of SABR, writer Ben Reiter have a rousing presentation of his new book, “Astroball: The New Way to Win It All” before a packed house of members at the Spaghetti Western Cafe on Shepherd Drive in Houston.

The author started with a well written reading from the text that dynamically addresses how the Astros rose from the depths of a multiple year dip into the well-above 100 season losses early in this decade to becoming World Series Champions in 2017 and an ongoing contender this year forward as a result of the constantly refining influences of a system that combines the best of futuristic analytics and traditional scouting on the talent recruitment and deployment side of things ~ and with an eye toward finding ways to quantify contributing morale factors ~ like the presence of a big positive clubhouse presence of Carlos Beltran as a value to the winning formula.

In 2017, the aging Beltran was often referenced as the guy who just seemed to inspire winning and improved play by the others on the team ~ and, maybe especially among the younger guys, who enjoyed his company on the club, or in the dugout, or the clubhouse, or on the road ~ or any other travel moment when they had a chance to either observe what he was doing during the games ~ or saying to them, both personally and in general.

Does the Beltran 2017 experience suggest that teams should be looking for those kinds of qualities in one or two older players in ways that have only occurred by coincidence in the past?

Good Luck to MLB Thinkers who find an efficacious way to include the intangibles in a more tangible form that does not bastardize the big picture on what it takes to win it all. Otherwise, what good would a definable “charismatic positive influence” be if it left out all those great Yankee champions who apparently hated each other through their ways to World Series victories on the heels of internal discord?

Astroball, the book, is much more than a look into the problems of quantifying the subjective. Ben Reiter has done a first class, thorough job of charting out the change in things from Moneyball through the introduction of Analytics and the integration of new statistical evaluative techniques with traditional scouting evaluations that have gone into putting the Astros championship face together during the successful Jeff Luhnow tenure as General Manager.

Reiter’s book templates an evolving process of change. It’s well written and a must read for everyone who cares about the inner workings of the club and the future of MLB roster planning.

And good luck to you, Ben Reiter, for a book that screams the truth we all seem to put aside too quickly, too often. Life is a constant process of change. And all of us, even the game of baseball, have two choices on how to respond. ~ We can either find a way to participate in and grow with the change ~ or we can just close our eyes and ears and allow ourselves to be swallowed up by it.

 

******************************

 

Bill McCurdy

Principal Writer, Editor, Publisher

The Pecan Park Eagle

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