A double feature for this week’s Roundup after both Jonathan and I were on vacation last weekend.
Working in sports analytics: We’ll start off this week with Trey Causey’s post about working in sports analytics. Trey, a data scientist in Seattle, followed up on a Twitter conversation started by Austin Clemens.
I don't understand how sports analytics salaries could be as low as figures I see. $1bill business not willing to invest in data?— Austin Clemens (@AustinClemens2) August 4, 2014
Trey himself has had experience with NFL teams. But his response is a fantastic conversation-starter about the value that all professional sports teams place in highly-trained analysts.
Baseball (part one): Jared Cross ran the math on designing heat maps that better reflect hitter strengths and weaknesses. August Fagerstrom detailed the crazy improvement of White Sox rookie slugger Jose Abreu. Russell Carleton looked into the gory math behind whether to extend a homegrown talent. Jack Moore teed up some conversations on how we talk about baseball statistics. And Rany Jazayerli theorized whether the Cubs are correct for emphasizing position players in their rebuilding strategy.
Basketball (part one): The Memphis Grizzlies announced the hire of Trevor Moawad, a mental-endurance coach who has worked with the Alabama and Florida State football programs. The much-anticipated “DataBall” full-length research paper from Kirk Goldsberry et al was released last week. Seth Partnow introduced a True Usage model to better measure efficiency of turnovers and assists. Mike Honkasalo ran the numbers on NBA title odds based on regular season record. And over at WFNY, I wrote about a massive post on what we know from all of the Kevin Love stats available.
Football (part one): The Miami Dolphins announced the hire of agent Mike Tannenbaum, the former Jets general manager, as a consultant for innovation, analytics and sports science. Doug Farrar was one of the many to look into whether Andy Dalton was worth his recent contract extension. Tom Gower estimated the Bills to have the highest probability of moving from last place to first place in their division. Chase Stuart looked into completion percentage by position. Neil Paine continued a comparison of NFL wide receivers to college football teams. And Jason Belzer said Notre Dame’s Brian Kelly has been the best college football coach for the money.
Hockey (part one): There has been a huge run of high-profile analytics hires in the hockey world in the past few weeks. Edmonton hired Tyler Dellow (@mc79hockey). Florida hired Brian Macdonald (@GreaterThanPM). And Eric Tulsky (@BSH_EricT) will be consulting for an unnamed team. The moves, coupled with ones from earlier this summer, have set off a flurry of reactions from around the league.
Fluto Shinzawa said the league is on the brink of an intelligence explosion. Dimitri Filipovic declared this the Summer of Analytics. James Mirtle mentioned how it deepens the league’s continuing interest in analytics. Michael Pachla asked if this is the apex of the analytics movement. And former player Jason Strudwick shared his perspective on the rise of analytics.
Soccer: Simon Creasey wrote about how analytics assist with player valuation. Ed Burns looked into how the Seattle Sounders are innovating with analytics. And Hudl, the sports video software company based out of Lincoln, Nebraska, acquired Replay Analysis, a London video company focusing on soccer and rugby.
For your roundup intermission, I don’t think I can promote these tweets enough. Thank you, Jonathan.
But sometimes, something severely important comes along and makes sports relatively meaningless. #Ferguson is one of those things. (2/2)— SportsAnalytics Blog (@SAnalyticsBlog) August 14, 2014
Joint Statistical Meetings: Michael Lopez posted the essential recap from last week’s Joint Statistical Meetings in Boston. He shared slides and mp3 files from various talks, while adding in his take on the panels on player-tracking and hockey analytics. This was perhaps the most interesting comment from the event, relating back to Causey’s post from earlier in the roundup.
"We're seeing snake oil salesmen come in and take teams for rides"- Goldsberry on analytics people working for NBA teams at #JSM2014— Michael Lopez (@StatsbyLopez) August 4, 2014
Baseball (part two): Dave Cameron had a really fascinating post on random variation and the Orioles’ odd success again this season. Jonathan Judge looked into how much we can blame the shift for the gradual decline in offense. Zack Meisel profiled the Indians analytics department. Tim Britton shared how Red Sox pitcher Burke Badenhop looks at BrooksBaseball stats after every outing. And Sean Doolittle, Athletics reliever, had a hilarious first-person post at ESPN on playing for the “Mathletics.”
Basketball (part two): Evans Clinchy asked if point guard scoring really matters and Andrew Johnson analyzed how much guard defense really matters. Adam Mares debunked five common myths of the NBA. Steve Ilardi and Jeremias Engelmann, the innovators of ESPN’s real plus-minus, crunched the numbers on how rookies are rarely productive players. The Milwaukee Bucks signed on with Vantage Sports. And Zachary Bennett shared some fun data from a recent basketball blogger survey.
Football (part two): Dennis Dodd provided an inside look at the statistical outlets changing the game in college football. Chris Brown shared how Philadelphia’s Chip Kelly is changing the ways of the NFL. Scott Kacsmar shared that "Seattle led the league by using four defensive backs on 57 percent of its plays." Chris Andrews had a massive post on determining NFL home-field advantage. And Jay Ulfelder turned crowdsource ratings into game-level predictions for Week 1 of the NFL season.
Hockey (part two): Greg Wyshynski previewed the upcoming legal battle over who “owns” hockey statistics. Steve Burtch wrote about why analytics have helped and what’s coming up next. Kevin McGran looked back at Jim Corsi, the relatively obscure namesake for one of the most popular advanced stats. Chris Peters said that the new player-tracking technology could change the way we analyze the game. David Johnson began a introduction series on advanced stats. And stay tuned for the Alberta Analytics Conference on Saturday, Sept. 13.
Tennis: And we end today’s Roundup with this report from Michael Traikos on the upcoming revolution of advanced stats in the tennis world.
"Still, change is coming. Since 2008, IBM has been tracking advanced stats and in the last two years it has started using the same Hawk-Eye ball-tracking technology that allows players to challenge calls to track everything from the speed and placement of certain shots to how much distance a player covers during a match."