Soccer/Football/Futbol/World Cup: Michael Caley of The Washington Post believes that soccer’s penalty area should be smaller. Carl Bialik of FiveThirtyEight looks at the stoppage time incident from USA-Portugal. Was USA robbed? (Not really.) Bialik also explains how stoppage time is not equivalent to dead time. On average, in this World Cup, there’s been six total minutes of stoppage time, but over forty minutes of dead time.
Soccer Nation has an insightful interview of soccer analytics with Helene Tyler. Tyler, a math professor at Manhattan College, and her students have been quantitatively analyzing women’s soccer by using PageRank - a network algorithm created by the founders of Google. One quote from Tyler:
“Mathematics allows us to understand and quantify the things we see around us. It enables us to confirm our hunches and to discover patterns we did not know existed.”
Happy NBA Draft Day! Tom Haberstroh of ESPN Insider ($) ranks the best draft classes since 1989. The best? 2008, with Westbrook, Love, and Rose being drafted. Draft Express has some cool new features, giving you the ability to look at the average number of win shares per drafted slot, percentage of All-Stars, minutes played, and more.
Andrew Johnson of Hardwood Paroxysm provides a neat visual of the top draft prospects. (Worth a look. Not only to see how the players are, but also just to see some nice data visualization.) Mark Heisler of Forbes defies the “stat geeks” and argues that Marcus Smart is not the best prospect in the draft. Heisler also questions the importance/validity of analytics in basketball. Grantland produced a ten-minute video on the Kings’ crowdsourcing project.
Baseball: Ben Lindbergh of Baseball Prospectus ($) questions if Bill James’ Game Score still works as a legitimate way of evaluating a pitcher’s performance. Ben Baumer discusses Tom Tango’s MARCEL matrix and explains how to compute it in R. Cee Angi of SB Nation explains how a .500 team could win the World Series.
And Nathaniel Rakich of FanGraphs had a very fun article. Every year, congressmen and senators play in a legitimate baseball game (called the Congressional Baseball Game). Rakich looked at box scores from the games (yes, they keep box scores) and calculated advcanced metrics (WAR, FIP, etc.) for our country’s political leaders. Five Democrats are better than the best Republican, with the best player overall being Cedric Richmond, a Democrat congressman for Louisiana.
Other: Kyle Wagner of Deadspin looks at how much LeBron is really worth. (Spoiler: A lot of money.) (Spoiler: Roughly $45 million per year.) Chase Stuart of Football Perspective looks at what the value of a first down is. (Spoiler: It’s complicated and varies depending on the down. Give it a look if you’re interested.) Kathleen Julien of SportTechie describes PlaySight, “the SportVU of the tennis world.”