Since the book “Moneyball” was published in 2003, professional sports have embraced analytics, but none more than baseball.

Baseball executives initially hated the book because it made them look incompetent. Then, one by one, teams started to experiment with analytics. In particular, two teams with new owners who had gotten rich using analytics elsewhere.

Today, all professional baseball teams have large analytics departments and most coaches and players make analytically based decisions for every pitch on offense and defense. “Moneyball” no longer is innovative. It’s now a common industry language.

However, this is not the case for distributors who are using customer and SKU profitability analytics.

In a new book called “Astroball” that was published in July, author Ben Reiter recounts how analytics eventually swept through baseball.


A business analytics case study in disguise

Whether you know or care about baseball or not, you should read “Astroball,” or at least skim through it for tips on how to implement big analytical insights over natural human resistance and create a growth mindset culture.

The author successfully predicted in 2014 that the league’s worst team, the Houston Astros, would win the World Series in 2017. And he recounts how the organization did it with analytics. Baseball fans will double-love this book.


Successful Astro implementation guidelines

Distributors can take lessons from the Houston Astros:

  1. The use of big data must be guided by smart theories. They exist. Borrow them!
  2. Once new and/or shocking insights are discovered, courageous, prudent, persistent experiments must be done. Borrow these, too!
  3. These steps won’t be done by veterans pontificating conventional wisdom. An investment must be made in new talent.
  4. Perform successful experiments in one organizational silo or branch at a time.
  5. Successes in one silo won’t be readily copied by the rest and some of the most resistant folks may have to go.
  6. You will need new coaching to educate everyone on the benefits of better statistical decision-making.
  7. If competitors copy you, then make your capability for continuous statistical learning and implementation your sustainable edge.

For those who want more, I’ve created an “Astroball” discussion questions document and I also have inked a document detailing a general path forward for implementing best customer-profitability practices called “The Core Renewal Roadmap.” Request one or both free by email to

And please check out the details for my forthcoming one-day seminar roadshow series at