[Editor's note: Last week, I proposed that if my Roundup received more views than all of Jacob's previous ones combined, I would fire him immediately. (Un)fortunately, that did not happen and Jacob is still here. Welcome back, Jacob.]
BLACKHAWKS’ SECRET TO SUCCESS: The most popular sports analytics article this past week was from the Chicago Sun-Times’ Mark Lazerus on the local Blackhawks. The focus of the article was on the team’s proprietary stats that it safely guards away from other teams. Chicago even uses different terminology and never shares any details. This quote from Stan Bowman, the team’s young business-influenced general manager, epitomized the post.
“What we do is different. I think it’s better, but I guess it’s a matter of opinion. It’s also a competitive advantage. That stuff’s readily available, but what we have is more proprietary. Which is why I’m really trying not to talk about it. I think what we do gives us an advantage over other teams. They might say I’m wrong, but we’re pretty confident that what we have works.”
FOOTBALL PERSPECTIVE: Chase Stuart runs one of the most constantly exciting analytics websites anywhere. He churns out really thought-provoking content all throughout the year, even during the dull months of the NFL offseason. Just check out three of my favorites from the last week: “Why aren’t teams better at drafting now?” “Bill Belichick and coaching records against the spread.” “The evolution of quarterbacks.” Have you bookmarked this website yet? You really should.
IS SOCCER BAD AT DATA? The headline was undoubtedly eye-catching: “The world’s most popular sport is terrible at statistics.” That’s the title of a recent article from John McDuling at Quartz, which was simply an interview with Daniel Altman, an economist whose recent series on soccer analytics was featured in last week’s roundup. Altman’s main point: “The metrics seen by the public—on television broadcasts and fantasy websites, for example—are often poor measures of players’ ability.” He shared that the game theory-influenced Shapley values are one of his preferred alternatives.
BASKETBALL DATA: Dan Dickey ranked the best NBA player-seasons of the last 35 years. … Warriors.com’s Brian Witt described a shooter’s guide to passing, visualizing the floor spacing of one of the most fun teams in the league. … Austin Clemens investigated whether Ian Mahinmi might be a better defender than his more famous teammate Roy Hibbert. … And finally, Hickory-High’s Ian Levy created a really cool new stat called Distribution Controlled TS% to look at the league’s real best shooters from different tiers.
BASEBALL DATA: Lewie Pollis published his long-awaited Brown University thesis on the SABR website. … FiveThirtyEight’s Neil Paine said that teams are still blatantly misusing the No. 2 spot in the batting order. … Baseball Prospectus’ playoff odds are now updated on MLB.com’s standings page. … Speaking of that site, Russell Carleton analyzed whether innings limits actually work for starters. … The Chicago Daily Herald’s Len Kasper shared that it’s risky to ignore data when discussing “clutch” in baseball. … And finally, SIKids.com’s Max Mannis wrote a recap from the recent SABR Analytics Conference in Phoenix.
COLLEGE FOOTBALL PLAYOFF: Last week, the College Football Playoff Committee announced a series of updates to its new protocol for the 2014 season. Within the press release, there was this analytics news piece: The group is retaining SportSource Analytics as its data platform provider. Curious for more details? You can follow the group at @SportSourceA on Twitter. I’m certainly intrigued.
RANDOM NUMBERS: Matt Daniels had a fantastic visualization on the largest vocabulary users in hip-hop; DMX is at the bottom and Aesop Rock is at the top. … Elliot Meena had an intriguing article on swimming race strategy and the metrics used to create it. … A recap from Arizona State’s Sports Business Association analytics panel discussed the performance math used all around the sports industry.
TV WATCH: Keep your eyes peeled for a feature on sports analytics in Wednesday night’s 60 Minutes Sports on Showtime. The 30-second preview highlights the Sloan Sports Analytics Conference and a quick soundbite from Miami Heat reserve Shane Battier, a noted analytics consumer.