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September 14, 2011
Baseball·Basketball·Football·General·Hockey·S-R·Soccer·Uncategorized Stathead is Closing Down:

Stathead is Closing Down

With apologies to our dedicted users, we’ve decided to stop publishing the Stathead blog. The blog just never generated the needed readership to be profitable, so we’ve decided to end the project and put our efforts into other projects.

Thank you to the readers who supported us. Thank you for the publishers for putting so much great content out there. And especially, thank you for Neil Paine, our intrepid users affairs maestro, who waded through hundreds of articles each week distilling them down to their essence.

If anyone cares to pick up the torch and run with this idea (or if you just want to get the articles for yourself), I’ve attached an OPML file from the list of RSS feeds we were using for this blog. Feel free to grab it and add it to your favorite RSS reader.

Stathead RSS Subscriptions in OPML format

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September 8, 2011
Football :

September 8th, 2011 Recap: Today in football… Jason Lisk debunks the idea that the NFC South was the toughest division of 2010… Advanced NFL Stats is looking for analytical writers to contribute this season… Scott Kacsmar looks at Aaron Rodgers’ career as a “front-runner” (a QB who wins from ahead rather than coming back from behind)… PFR’s Chase Stuart previews the 2011 New York Jets season… Bill Barnwell finishes Grantland’s mega NFL preview… Andrew McKillop digs into opening-week factoids… and Lisk looks at the probability of the Packers repeating as champs.

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General :

Beyond ‘Moneyball’ – The rapidly evolving world of sports analytics, Part I: Writing for Analytics Magazine, Ben Alamar and Vijay Mehrotra reflect on the current state of sports analytics, and consider what the industry’s future may hold.

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Baseball :

September 8th, 2011 Recap: Today, Tango spotlighted an interesting nugget of research in this “anti-WAR” piece, and wrote about the philosophy behind including position adjustments with FRAA when assessing defense… Bradley Woodrum looked at what ShHAP! says Adam Dunn should be hitting… Larry Koestler dissected Phil Hughes’ woes on 0-2 counts… David Schoenfield used the example of Joey Votto in 2010-11 to point out a gaping hole in mainstream MVP logic… David Golebiewski followed up on this THT piece about Mark Teixeira’s BABIP… Bill Petti extended his volatility research to pitchers… Satchel Price wrote about the impact of popups on the White Sox’s BABIP… Jack Moore updated the probability of Justin Verlander reaching 25 wins… And John Arguello lists seven reasons Billy Beane may be the Cubs’ next GM.

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Basketball :

August 29-September 8 Recap: While we were away… KnickerBlogger.Net assessed Mike Woodson’s ability as a defensive coach… Zach Lowe challenged Paul Pierce’s clutch rep… BP continued redrafting the NBA (see Rounds 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, and 11) and kept us updated on the status of their books… ESPN pressed onward with their NBA player rankings… Tom Haberstroh compared LaMarcus Aldridge to a young Tim Duncan… Jason Friedman looked back at Hakeem Olajuwon’s 1990 quadruple-double… Ken Pomeroy introduced NCAA player similarity scores… Harlan Schreiber reflected on Gary Payton’s career and looked for the next Hall of Famer from each Atlantic Division franchise… Finally, Sebastian Pruiti analyzed why David Lee’s on/off-court rebounding impact is negative.

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September 7, 2011
Football :

September 7th, 2011 Recap: Today, Bill Barnwell continued his NFL preview… Jason Lisk wrote about inexperienced O-lines (like the Cowboys now have)… FO’s staff made their 2011 NFL predicitions… Brian Fremeau talked about the most valuable play in college football… And Code & Football took a look at the yardage value of a TD.

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Baseball :

September 7th, 2011 Recap: Today, Tangotiger reminded us what WAR is and is not, and answered reader mail about WPA… Carson Cistulli posted the latest Leaderboards of Pleasure… Sean Forman asked why people hold defensive metrics to a higher standard of consistency than hitting metrics… Jeff Zimmerman and Lucas Apostoleris looked at the PITCHf/x data from Stephen Strasburg’s return… Jason Collette examined pitchers’ tendencies to suppress BABIP via popups… Mike Fast looked at how an umpire’s positioning impacts his calls… R.J. Anderson analyzed whether 2nd-half improvements have predictive value the following season… Kevin Lai had a fun post about player intro music… Josh Weinstock wanted to know why Mark Teixeira’s BABIP is down for 2 straight seasons… Bill Petti looked at the volatility of hitters’ careers… Adam Darowski examined players whose career value was hurt by shorter schedules… And Steve Slowinski offered his take on the “V” in MVP.

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Baseball :

Reminder – Participate in Tangotiger’s 2011 Fan Scouting Report: Just another reminder to vote in the 2011 edition of Tom Tango’s Fans Scouting Report. Help him get a wisdom-of-crowds evaluation of each player’s defensive skills!

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Football :

September 6th, 2011 Recap: Yesterday, Football Outsiders released their 2011 DVOA Projections… Meanwhile, Jason Lisk and Brian Burke attempted to determine how many wins Peyton Manning was worth.

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Football :

September 3/4/5, 2011 Weekend Recap: Over the holiday weekend, Code and Football looked at passer rating as a scoring model… Outside the Hashes determined what a yard is worth in terms of expected points… Keith Goldner gave his Super Bowl projection… Aaron Schatz looked at how often, historically, a player listed as “doubtful” (like Peyton Manning) actually played… Finally, Jason Lisk wrote about Washington’s QB gamble and teams with good point differentials but mediocre records (like the 2010 Chargers).

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Football :

September 2nd, 2011 Recap: On the 2nd, Jason Lisk detailed some major reasons why the Patriots are due for a regression in 2011… He also busted the myth that college coaches make poor NFL head coaches… Finally, Scott Kacsmar used a linear regression model to predict NFL teams’ winning percentages.

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Football :

September 1st, 2011 Recap: Last Thursday, Jason Lisk looked at how Texas A&M’s SRS stacks up against SEC schools since 1992… Outside the Hashes posted an Expected Points model for college football… Code and Football wrote about “scoring potential”-based metrics (like expected points)… And Jason Lisk studied the possible impact of Jay Cutler’s 2010 sacks on his health and production in 2011.

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Football :

August 31st, 2011 Recap: A week ago, Outside the Hashes broke down the logical process that should go into any coaching decision (using this infamous game as an example)… Also, Jason Lisk looked at reasons why the Miami Dolphins might regress to the mean (in a good way) this season.

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Football :

August 30th, 2011 Recap: On the 30th, Brian Burke analyzed aging patterns for quarterbacks… Keith Goldner looked at net expected points for kickers… Scott Kacsmar asked whether Michael Vick’s big new contract was justified (a question Jason Lisk echoed at TBL)… And Lisk looked at how well the preseason predicts the regular season when looking at quarters where the starters typically play.

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Football :

The modern NFL – are completions and yardage truly independent variables?: On 8/29, Code and Football looked at whether yds/completion was a de facto constant at the team level.

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September 6, 2011
Baseball :

September 6th, 2011 Recap: Today, John Autin notes that Philly’s staff has 3 5-WAR pitchers (but what will that mean in October?)… Steve Treder gives the 1960s Indians a re-do… BP’s Michael Jong looks at Javier Vazquez’s strange career… David Pinto writes about the extreme one-sidedness of the Jays-Angels Vernon Wells trade… JD Sussman wonders whether opportunities are correctly accounted for in advancing fielding stats… Bradley Woodrum debates the relative merits of Roy Halladay & Cliff Lee’s Cy Young cases… Bill Petti shows a graphic of the biggest RBI opportunity creatorsMeet the (beautiful) new face of Sabermetrics… Finally, It’s About the Money critiques WAR (Rob Neyer has already fired back).

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Baseball :

September 3/4/5, 2011 Weekend Recap: Over the holiday weekend, Cy Morong looked at hitting/scoring in August…. Jacob Peterson noted Henry Rodriguez & A.J. Burnett’s near-record-high wild-pitch rates in 2011… Sportsnet.ca’s Mike Cormack Q-&-A-ed Rob Neyer about the Moneyball movie… Eric Seidman looked at the possibility that Bruce Chen could forge a Jamie Moyer-like career path… and Joe Posnanski re-framed pitcher wins as an interesting stat (nothing more or less).

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Baseball :

September 2nd, 2011 Recap: Last Friday, Fangraphs’ Eric Seidman compared Cliff Lee & Clayton Kershaw’s 2011 seasons… Steve Slowinski found hitters whose true power was overrated by ISO… Bill Petti visualized the rise of the 20/20 club over time… ESPN’s Mark Simon looked at the BIS +/- numbers on Curtis Granderson’s defense… Tommy Craggs wrote about the Moneyball movie’s misleading message… Matt Klaassen discussed the unique playing-time considerations that go into a RoY debate… and BtB’s Dave Gershman offered a primer on how to scout pitchers.

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Baseball :

September 1st, 2011 Recap: On 9/1, Steven Goldman wrote about the punchless Braves OF… Eric Seidman spotlighted The Awesomeness of Clayton Kershaw… Jesse Wolfersberger wondered why LHPs are so often described as “crafty”… BtB’s garik16 listed the Majors’ unluckiest pitches… BP posted a Jay Jaffe re-run about the predictive value of late-season performance… Bill Petti looked at year-to-year correlations for various hitting metrics… Colin Wyers evaluated playoff systems with varying numbers of wild-card teams… and Satchel Price looked at the current generation of 20/20 players.

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Baseball :

August 31st, 2011 Recap: On Wednesday, Fangraphs’ Jeff Zimmerman wrote about Ichiro’s Hall of Fame resume… Steve Slowinski wondered how best to measure power hitting… BtB’s Lewie Pollis measured which fanbases overrated their own players the most in All-Star voting… and Bradley Woodrum analyzed James Shields’ unexpectedly good 2011 season.

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Baseball :

August 30th, 2011 Recap: Last Tuesday, THT’s Chris Lund wrote about Jeff Mathis’ mediocrity… BP’s Steven Goldman discussed the perennial individual-performance-vs-team-success MVP debate… Jeff Sullivan, Dave Cameron, and Brad Johnson wrote more about various aspects of Adam Dunn’s horrific season… Eno Sarris recapped the PITCHf/x Summit… Adam Darowski compared Dustin Pedroia’s height to those of LLWS players… Bill Petti and Matthew Carruth talked about the concept of luck-vs-skill as it related to Casey Kotchman… and Patriot provided a basic framework for evaluating individual pitching games.

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Baseball :

August 29th, 2011 Recap: On August 29th, Tangotiger gave his take on Joe Posnanski’s post about WPA and storytelling… Flip Flop Fly Ball looked at the location of “score bugs” during each team’s local broadcast… and Fangraphs’ Matthew Carruth remarked on the lack of dramatic division/wild card races this year.

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S-R :

Apology/explanation for the lack of posts over the past week: Just wanted to say a quick sorry for the Stathead cupboard being bare recently — I moved to Philadelphia last week, and have been out commission in the internet department until today. I’ll try to catch up on all of the posts I missed, one sport per day (today will be baseball). Thanks for your patience.

-N.P.

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August 29, 2011
Football :

2011 Big East & Big Ten Simulated Previews: Whatifsports continued previewing the 2011 NCAA football season by simulating the Big East and Big Ten slates.

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Football :

Appearances & Rankings in the Weekly AP Poll (1936-2010): At Sportsdelve, Andrew McKillop also researched each school’s historical appearances — and placement — in the AP poll.

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Baseball :

How the Hell do the Angels Keep Winning?: At Grantland, Jonah Keri takes a look at Los Angaheim’s ability to consistently outpace statheads’ expectations.

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Baseball :

A Tally of League Standings Leaders Heading Into September: SportsDelve’s Andrew McKillop counted how many times each team had the best record in the league on 9/1 — and how often they were able to convert that into a pennant.

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Soccer :

UEFA Champions League Group Strength: Which Champions League group is the toughest? Ian Graham of Decision Technology’s Football Blog investigates.

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Hockey :

More on Individual Point Percentage: The Copper & Blue’s Scott Reynolds looks at point% for Eastern Conference players and D-men over the past few seasons. (Recall that point% is the percentage of on-ice team scoring events that a player had a hand in.)

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Hockey :

Do Teams Control Play Better With Their Starting or Backup Goalie?: Broad Street Hockey’s Geoff Detweiler compared team Fenwick performance with and without the starting netminder.

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Hockey :

Calculating Offensive Point Shares: The Puck Stops Here dissects H-R’s Point Shares formula for evaluating offensive performances.

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Hockey :

2010-11 NHL Marginal Cap Efficiency: Derek Zona of The Copper & Blue looks at the NHL teams that got the most bang for their buck in 2011.

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Football :

Chris Johnson’s Impact on the Passing Game: Maybe Johnson’s EPA impact on the ground doesn’t warrant a huge new contract, but The Big Lead’s Jason Lisk points out that the erstwhile Titans RB has a big impact in the passing game as well.

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Basketball :

Redrafting the NBA – Round Five: Picks #33-40 in BP’s NBA fantasy draft/player rankings.

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Basketball :

Trade Partners: Basketball-Reference has added a Trade Partners feature that lets you find all-time trades between any combination of teams.

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Baseball :

10 things I didn’t know about managerial match-ups: In honor of Tony LaRussa & Dusty Baker’s 200th matchup, THT’s Chris Jaffe takes a look at historic managerial rivalries.

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Baseball :

Where Chipper ranks among all-time 3B: ESPN’s David Schoenfield uses WAR to determine where Chipper Jones ranks in the pantheon of historical 3rd basemen.

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Baseball :

Lewis’s Home Field Disadvantage: David Pinto of Baseball Analytics examines the factors that have caused Colby Lewis to allow twice as many HR at home as on the road in 2011.

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August 26, 2011
Football :

Records As and Against the AP No. 1: SportsDelve’s Andrew McKillop compiled each school’s all-time record as and against the AP’s #1-ranked team.

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Football :

2011 ACC & Big 12 Simulations from WhatIfSports: WhatIfSports ran the 2011 ACC and Big 12 through their simulator.

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Hockey :

Shot Types and Shot Targets: Some raw shot target data from Arctic Ice Hockey’s Gabriel Desjardins.

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Hockey :

Individual Point Percentage by Team – Western Conference: Scott Reynolds of The Copper & Blue looks at the data on individual point percentage — which player had a hand in the highest % of the 5-on-5 goals that were scored when he was on the ice?

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Hockey :

Point Shares – A Sabermetric Goal: The Puck Stops Here gives a broad overview/criticism of H-R’s Point Shares system.

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Baseball :

Descriptive and Predictive Metrics: Fangraphs’ Dave Cameron sets Buster Olney straight, explaining the age-old distinction between value-based (retrodictive/descriptive) and ability-based (predictive) metrics.

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Baseball :

According to Christopher Gasper of Boston.com, HR is a crappy stat: TangoTiger dismantles Chris Gasper’s recent anti-stat screed.

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Football :

Most overrated/underrated players in NFL ($): FO’s Aaron Schatz looks at the Scouts Inc. player rankings, identifying players the scouts improperly valued.

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Football :

Defensive Passer Rating – 2011 Strength Of Schedule: CHFF’s Kerry Byrne computed every team’s 2011 passing strength of schedule based on the passer ratings allowed by their opponents in 2010.

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Basketball :

When Will the Pistons be Good Again?: Sport Skeptic looks at how long it takes for a team to make the playoffs again based on their winning percentage. His findings support the theory that it’s better to be either really good or really bad — mediocre teams that were in between had the longest waits.

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Baseball :

Hitter Volatility Part VI – Getting it Right is More Important than Being Right: Even more volatility research from BtB’s Bill Petti, including a tweak to the calculation of volatility.

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Baseball :

Does Hall overlook 19th century guys?: At SweetSpot, a discussion about whether 1800s ballplayers are under-represented in the Hall of Fame.

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Baseball :

Context Rules All: Eric Seidman writes about the importance of context when analyzing statistics.

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Baseball :

Ichiro’s 200 – Figuring the Odds: Don Malcolm of Big Bad Baseball analyzes Ichiro’s chances of getting 54 hits in the next 33 games (and thus extending his streak of consecutive 200-hit seasons to 11).

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Baseball :

More Chernoffs: THT’s Kevin Lai ran “Chernoff Faces” (face-style graphics that allow multivariable data to be displayed in a single diagram) on the top 50 fWAR hitters of 2011.

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Baseball :

A Grand Night in the Bronx: Baseball Analytics’ David Golebiewski has heat maps showing that all of the Yankees’ 3 grand slams last night came in known “hot zones” for each batter.

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Baseball :

Do Pitchers Really Trade Speed for Command?: At BP, Graham Goldbeck wonders whether pitchers really can improve command by “taking a little off” their fastball.

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Baseball :

Yeah, but how many runs does so-and-so save at first base by virtue of his scooping ability?: The Book’s Mitchel Lichtman writes about the “scooping” skills of 1st basemen. Turns out it comprises about 15% of a 1B’s value.

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Baseball :

Who Is Benefiting from an Expanded Strike Zone?: Baseball Analytics’ Jonathan Scippa looks at the pitchers who get the most called strikes on pitches outside the zone.

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Baseball :

A look at team baserunning: At ESPN, Christina Kahrl takes a tour through the advanced team baserunning stats.

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Baseball :

The legend of Billy Beane: Bennett Cohen of San Francisco Magazine writes about the long and winding development path of the Moneyball movie.

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Baseball :

“Behind the Seams: The Stat Story”: MLB Network is going to air a documentary (hosted by Bob Costas) about the rise of sabermetrics on September 18.

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Baseball :

Trying to score from 3B, down by 1, with 1 out left in the game: How certain should you be of success when trying to score in that situation? Tango does the math.

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Baseball :

Kelly Johnson’s Trade, Kevin Towers, and Strikeouts: Jack Moore of Fangraphs writes about Kevin Towers’ concerted effort to rid the D-Backs of whiff-heavy hitters.

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Baseball :

In A.L. M.V.P. Voting, Verlander Is Likely to Be Bypassed: At the NY Times, Neil Paine argues that Justin Verlander should — but probably won’t — be near the top of the A.L. MVP ballot.

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Baseball :

Nyjer Morgan proves speed does slump ($): Writing for ESPN Insider, Fangraphs’ Dave Cameron debunks the old cliché that “speed never slumps”… In reality, players who rely heavily on their legs are often the most inconsistent performers.

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August 25, 2011
General :

The women’s track and field record book needs to be expunged: Slate’s Edward McClelland writes about the profound impact of performance-enhancing drugs on women’s track & field records.

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Soccer :

The Decade’s Best and Worst Offensive Teams in Europe’s Top Leagues: Chris Anderson pays graphical tribute to the European teams that scored the most (and least) goals in a season over the past 10 years.

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Hockey :

Events and Time on Ice: Scott Reynolds of The Copper & Blue digs deeper into the issue of how well scoring events predict a player’s TOI.

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Football :

Receiving Efficiency – With & Without Incompletions: Drive-By Football’s Keith Goldner looks at how the receiving net expected points leaderboard changes if the target does or does not get blamed for incomplete passes.

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Football :

Call for New Game Charters: You can help Football Outsiders by volunteering to chart games for them.

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Basketball :

Redrafting the NBA – Round Four: Picks #25-32 in BP’s effort to rank the NBA’s Top 96 players in fantasy-draft form.

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Basketball :

Andre Roberson: Ken Pomeroy extols the underrated virtues of Roberson, who plays for the University of Colorado and is rebounding/defensive beast.

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Basketball :

NBA negotiations in a handy chart: TrueHoop’s Henry Abbott posted a neat graphic illustrating the offers made so far in the CBA negotiations.

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General :

Picasso Theory: A couple of reactions, from Tangotiger and Phil Birnbaum, to Malcolm Gladwell’s piece about the “psychic benefits” of owning a sports team.

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Baseball :

Value of a called pitch: Tangotiger explains a simple way to estimate the run value of an individual called ball or strike.

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Baseball :

Musing on Sergio Romo’s Slider and Platooning: In his last BtB post, Lucas Apostoleris breaks down Romo’s slurve (and why it might be best to use it strictly against RHBs).

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Baseball :

Mike Flanagan career highlights: THT’s Chris Jaffe pays tribute to Mike Flanagan, who died yesterday, by listing the notable moments that made up his 17-year career.

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Baseball :

Blowing It: BP’s Wayback Machine takes us to this 2007 Nate Silver piece about the 13 worst stretch-run collapses in baseball history.

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Baseball :

What Would The Current Standings Look Like Under Realignment?: The answer comes courtesy of Baseball Nation’s Grant Brisbee, and projects the current standings onto 2 15-team, divisionless leagues.

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Baseball :

Fielding Independent Batting, A ShH Revolution: Fangraphs’ Bradley Woodrum makes it official — “should hit” (ShH) has become Fielding Independent Batting (FIB).

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Baseball :

Who Is MLB’s Most Underrated Player?: Which player combines WAR with a lack of Google hits? Baseball Nation’s Jason Brannon has the answer.

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Baseball :

Q&A with SaberWizard Tom Tango: BtB’s Justin Bopp interviews the sabermetric legend, Tangotiger.

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Baseball :

How Much Will Reyes’ Injuries Cost Him?: At Fangraphs, Jeff Zimmerman compares the contract value Jose Reyes should expect to that which a more durable player (with the same rate stats) would get.

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Baseball :

About time!: Clay Davenport writes about presenting postseason odds in graphical form.

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Baseball :

The Shutdown (and Meltdown) Relievers of 2011: Fangraphs’ Steve Slowinski rounds up the best (and worst) relief pitchers of the season, according to shutdowns and meltdowns.

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Baseball :

Halladay And Verlander Might Be MVP Worthy, But That’s An Uphill Battle: At Baseball Nation, Marc Normandin examines the chances of an extremely unlikely MVP occurence — namely, a pitcher being given the award.

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August 24, 2011
Football :

Increased RB Injuries in High Leverage Situations Show Why Committees Have Become Popular: At The Big Lead, Jason Lisk studied the relationship between RB injury rates and the closeness of the score in a high-carry game that may have preceded an injury.

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Football :

Scouts Inc. 2011 player rankings: Scouts Inc. released their ranking of the top 200 NFL players at ESPN this week.

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Basketball :

Best position for Aldridge is up for debate: SI’s Zach Lowe looks at lineup efficiency data to determine the best way for Portland to use LaMarcus Aldridge.

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Soccer :

Graph of the Day – A Decade of Offensive Production in the Premier League: Soccer By The Numbers’ Chris Anderson graphed the average goals per match each season (since 2001/02) for each EPL club.

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Basketball :

Redrafting the NBA – Round Three: Picks #17-24 in BP’s fantasy draft of current NBA players.

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Baseball :

Poll – Equivalent Players: Another thought experiment from Tangotiger, again regarding the balancing of rates and counting stats in player valuation.

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Baseball :

Star Power – An Objective Framework for MLB All-Star Voting: BtB’s Lewie Pollis wants to analyze fans’ biases in All-Star voting, but before he can do that, he needed to create an objective, WAR-based metric (“Star Power”) to which fan voting patterns can be compared.

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Baseball :

Visualizing 2011 Draft Spending: Fangraphs’ Reed MacPhail graphs team-by-team spending in June’s MLB draft.

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Baseball :

The Lineup Card – 11 Disastrous Acquisitions: BP’s staff makes their picks — 11 player acquisitions that backfired spectacularly.

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Baseball :

Skip Schumaker can work really fast: Also at THT, Lucas Apostoleris writes about the pitch data from Skip Schumaker’s appearance on the mound Tuesday night, the latest case of a non-pitcher toeing the rubber. He averaged 13 seconds between pitches, almost 9 seconds fewer than the MLB average!

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Baseball :

Wang in the capital: THT’s Kevin Lai breaks down the 2011 PITCHf/x data for Chien-Ming Wang with the Washington Nationals. How does it compare to Wang’s halcyon days as a New York Yankee?

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Baseball :

Scouting Report 2011 – By the Fans, For the Fans: Participate in Tangotiger’s annual Fans’ Scouting Report project!

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Baseball :

If the Season Ended Yesterday – Yankees Over Phillies: At Beyond the Box Score, J-Doug runs Baseball Prospectus’ and FanGraphs’ true talent estimates through a Log5-based postseason simulator.

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Baseball :

Breaking Down A.J. Burnett’s Zones: Jonathan Scippa of Baseball Analytics examines Burnett’s 2011 performance in each vertical 1/3 of the strike zone.

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Baseball :

Curtis Granderson’s Defense and His MVP Prospects: Granderson’s current UZR is -9.2. Fangraphs’ Joe Pawlikowski wonders if that is an accurate representation of his defensive value — and if not, what are the WAR implications?

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