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A Moneyball Look at the Draft

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Moneyball is an idea of finding a market inefficiency. Billy Beane's use of a different approach, sabermetrics, to try to get an edge on opponents who can buy better traditional talent through free agency. The concept took off leading to most teams hiring their own stat people and the popularization of advanced statistics for fans as well, as we at SB Nation proudly provide at Beyond the Box Score . With Moneyball now at the point in which it is gracing the big screen, we need to ask ourselves what the newest market inefficiency is. Let me say first that I am biased, but it doesn't come from a long history of feeling this way. I believe the draft is Major League Baseball's biggest current market inefficiency. I have not felt that way for a long period of time, but I do now. Billy Beane had his own idea of how the draft could provide Major League talent quickly through drafting collegiate players. My idea for exploiting the market inefficiency is taking top prep talent and paying them what it takes to sign them away from college commitments. I demonstrate my idea by doing a at shadow draft for the Astros trying to jump start that poor farm system. High school players are playing in more competitive games and tournaments like the Area Code Games, East Coast Pro, Team USA, the prospect classic, PG national and the annual games at Wrigley and Petco. These show the best of the best talent going head to head and allows scouts to judge these players better than they ever have before. It allows the talent to be judged more accurately than ever and I think the best talent is found in the prep ranks. It is rare when the best talent makes it to college. Josh Bell, the Pirates second round pick is a good example. Getting a potentially elite player for the first 6 years of his big league career is worth the investment of whatever it takes to buy out his commitment. This inefficiency will last until more teams jump on this bandwagon along with the Nationals, Royals, Red Sox and Pirates.