Editor’s note: This is the first post in our new Sports Analytics Roundup series and the first contribution by Jacob Rosen. You can read more about the new series or Jacob here. One of the goals of this new series is to foster engagement within the analytics community. Thus, I encourage you to comment with your opinions and thoughts.
Whither college football analytics? And you thought all of the 2014 Sloan Sports Analytics Conference coverage was all done already. … SB Nation’s Bill Connelly has perhaps my favorite Sloan article yet (and not just because he linked to my recap). The college football analyst put together his own panel, in revolt of the still-not-quite-there yet one that actually happened in Boston. This was perhaps the money line:
“Baseball analytics is like a full-grown adult with a pretty good job. Basketball analytics is the soon-to-be high school valedictorian voted most likely to succeed. Pro football analytics is the second-grade son of the famous businessman who nobody's really sure about yet. (College football analytics: pro football's three-year-old younger brother.) And as a friend put it at a bar on Friday night, ‘Hockey analytics are sperm at this point.’”
Hockey analytics update: As Connelly noted, hockey analytics are certainly in the infancy stage of acceptance and adoption. TSN’s Scott Cullen has some harsh words about the continued frustration of anti-analytics opinions at the Sloan Sports Analytics Conference. Teams, such as the New Jersey Devils, are just starting to experiment here. It will be fascinating to see where this subset industry will be in 3-5 years.
Two catcher articles: The Hardball Times’ Max Weinstein has some phenomenal research on pitch location effects on caught stealing percentages. He shared some future avenues for analytic exploration. I’d wonder if most MLB teams have this data already; it’s pretty new to me.
And does the National League prioritize catching? Beyond the Box Score’s Jeff Wiser asks if this is one of the related effects of still not having a designated hitter. NL catchers have provided far more value since 2010 than their American League counterparts.
Worth of a college star: Creighton’s Doug McDermott is the rare All-American that stayed in college for all four years. USA Today’s Nicole Auerbach then asked: How much value has McDermott (the latest SI cover boy) provided to the university on and off the court? He’ll likely be a first-round draft pick in June, finally earning himself some hard-earned money. But at Creighton, it’s likely he’s provided well over eight-figures of value based on all of the available metrics and immense media exposure.
Shot Analytics’ Dylan Burkhardt also has some shot charts and GIFs on the ACC Player of the Year T.J. Warren. The NC State scorer has a very impressive floater. Burkhardt said that Warren might be college basketball’s second-best scorer after McDermott.
Dribbling heat map: Dean Oliver, creator of the Four Factors in basketball analytics, is mostly behind the scenes these days with ESPN Stats & Information. But he shared some really interesting charts (here and here) about Memphis guard Mike Conley the other day. The images, which compared Conley’s dribble zones and shot charts, aren’t that aesthetically pleasing; I’d love it if Oliver collaborated more with Grantland’s Kirk Goldsberry, a geography PhD who has made some phenomenal shot charts of late.
NBA ASPM chart: This is a really fascinating tool here for basketball fans. Sort by your favorite team or compare your favorite players. The statistic is Advanced Statistical Plus-Minus, a box-score based metric originally pioneered by Dan Rosenbaum that can be further explained at the same website.
Video analytics: USA Today’s Sean Highkin speaks with Brett McDonald, CEO of Vantage Sports, about his company and their offerings. Vantage was a key player at the Sloan Conference earlier this month, where several coaches and executives shared repeatedly that numbers don’t tell the full, nuanced story. Vantage’s technology provides detailed reports based on video, combining the best of both worlds. One of their early clients: Golden State Warriors star Steph Curry as a client.
Jacob Rosen is a graduate of the University of Dayton, where he majored in applied mathematical economics and was the school newspaper's editor-in-chief and sports editor. Currently, Jacob (an Akron native) contributes to WaitingForNextYear, a website dedicated to Cleveland sports.