Hoosiers is my favorite sports movie. Although I know millions of others feel the same way about this film, for me it was personal. When the movie was released in 1986, I was a senior at a small high school in Indiana and we were expected to advance far in our state tournament – never mind the size of the schools we had to defeat. Our team was on a mission to create the modern-day Hoosiers story – how could this movie not be my favorite of all time?
Fast forward 20 years and a business career later and the movie Moneyball sure made a run at replacing Hoosiers as my favorite sports movie. When I read the book in 2003, I felt it was perhaps the best business book (out of many) I had ever read. So much of what I had been taught and experienced in business was captured in this book – a rich combination of both management and leadership by Billy Beane. The added bonus for me was it just happened to be about running a professional sports team.
At the same time I began to develop XVAL in 2011, I discovered the movie Moneyball was about to start filming. I eagerly awaited the release of the movie and went to see it the morning it opened. I loved the movie and left the theater with a confirmed desire to fill a void that existed for a measurement of the Moneyball concept.
There are some amazingly insightful stats regarding player performance that exist due to some incredible work by very smart people, starting with Bill James many years ago. You can find a measurement of a player’s performance of almost anything imaginable these days. Hits? Runs? Errors? Batting average? On-base percentage? On-base plus slugging percentage? Walks/hits per inning pitched? You want a stat? There’s probably one that exists – except for the measurement for a player’s “Moneyball” – until the creation of XVAL.
In its most basic form, Moneyball is a management approach to pay the least amount of money for the highest amount of production with the goal to receive the most amount of excess value from each player – good, sound, basic, admirable Business 101 stuff. XVAL (eXcess VALue) represents this specific measurement in an easy-to-understand dollar amount. With XVAL, you can see how any given player, at any given time during the season, would rank within the Moneyball concept.
At XVALsports.com you are able to find the amount of XVAL, WAR and salary information on every MLB player. You will also find great commentary and interactive visualizations that easily compare players’ XVAL here on our blog. The XVAL metric was created for the fan who not only enjoys the game, but might also enjoy a unique business perspective of professional sports.