Students always want to know where the math they learn in school can be applied for something real. Well, what happens in the movie “Moneyball” is an example of doing just that...using real math to do something that you would actually want to do!
We watched Moneyball in class. In the movie, the Oakland Athletic's Billy Beane and his staff use statistics to make decisions about the operations of their team. Their strategy includes using a statistical formula to predict the expected win percentage based on runs scored and runs allowed. You can see the original formula that they use in the movie below.
This formula is reminiscent of the Pythagorean theorem (look at all the "squared" numbers). Read about Pythagorean winning percentage (expectation) at baseball-reference.com here.
In the movie, The Oakland Athletics need to compete with teams like the New York Yankees. The difference in the teams' spending on player salaries can be seen in this image from the movie.
Using statistics and data they try to build a team with the money they have. Their objective is to win as many games as possible.
Runs = Wins
Note: Since the original incarnation of the formula, many versions have surfaced. It is common for many statisticians to use an exponent of 1.83 instead of 2 to get a better prediction.