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Your update on the baseball winners of the JMMA gets happy then sad then good at pitching

Where art thou Jose?

Where art thou Jose?

The details on the Angels’ trade with the Padres’ for Huston Street came in increments. First we learned the deal was done. Then we learned that the Angels were including second-base prospect Taylor Lindsey in the deal. Then came this:

Jose Alvarez to the Padres. I was excited. The Angels are contenders and probably will be for a while, especially if they figure out their pitching. The Padres suck. Alvarez could develop there. He could get a serious chance to become a long-term piece as San Diego starts its rebuilding process all over again once they hire a new GM.


So the One True Alvarez remains with the Angels. He also remains on the disabled list. With just six weeks left in the season, there’s no way he’s coming back. It’s a lost year for Alvarez.


It’s been just the opposite kind of year for Blaine Hardy.

He had trouble on Saturday, allowing an earned run, but Hardy continues to rule the American League like a dictator.

He’s currently got a 2.51 ERA, and while the advanced stats say it’ll like increase with a bigger sample size, I refuse to believe it. (If you’re a nerd his xFIP is 3.48. If you’re not a nerd, congratulations.) Saturday’s slip up was his first run allowed in his past seven appearances.

Hardy’s plan has stayed the same: Get ahead with the fastball, then BAM! drop the ol’ hammer of Thor right at the knees. (Especially against righties. He tends to stick with the fastball a little more with lefties.)

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Sunday Red Wings rumor roundup: Who is untouchable?; When to expect a Daniel Alfredsson decision

New feature! Every Sunday I’ll bring you a recap of all the legitimate Red Wings-related transaction and signing rumors from the previous week. I see all this stuff anyway. I figured I might as well share it with you.

• In a mailbag, MLive’s Ansar Khan says that Gustav Nyquist, Anthony Mantha, and the Red Wings’ 2015 first-round pick are either close to or already untouchable but Tomas Tatar isn’t. He also says the Red Wings would likely trade Tatar before they traded Tomas JurcoKhan also listed Brendan Smith, Jakub Kindl and Joakim Andersson as possible trade chips. He was also asked about a possible trade for the Coyotes’ Keith Yandle and said the Red Wings likely wouldn’t include Jurco, especially since Yandle has only two years remaining on his contract.

Daniel Alfredsson will either play in Detroit or retire, says the Free Press’s Helene St. James. It’s just a matter of if he feels good enough to play again. Ken Holland and Alfredsson will sit down right before training camp and come to decision.

• As expected, Red Wings assistant coach Tom Renney left to become the president of Hockey Canada. Not long after that, Tony Granato accepted a position as one of the Red Wings’ assistant coaches, which was also expected.

• Mike Babcock won’t talk extension during the season, says St. James.

• The Griffins re-signed veteran defenseman Brennan Evans to a one-year contract. Don’t expect to see him in Detroit.

• NBC 4′s Adam Vingan emailed with Don Meehan, Mike Greens agent. Meehan said he and the Capitals haven’t had any conversations regarding Green’s status.

• Speaking of Green, CSN Washington’s Chuck Gormley pointed out that new Capitals coach Barry Trotz loves Nyquist and would be a good fit for the Capitals. That’s great, except for the first bullet above where it says that Gustav Nyquist is basically untouchable.

• Ken Holland tells the Free Press’s George Sipple that the Red Wings aren’t close to signing Tatar or Danny DeKeyser, their two remaining restricted free agents. Sipple says the team will also try to work out a deal with Griffins center Landon FerraroFerraro played four games with the Red Wings last year.

• The Red Wings signed minor leaguers Mitch Callahan and Andrej Nestrasil to one-year contracts. Callahan played one game with Detroit last season.

• The Toledo Walleye signed miniature goaltender Jeff Lerg and former Farmington Hills Flame (among other things) A.J. Jenks. Lerg is a former Michigan State Spartan. Jenks is a former fourth-round pick of the Panthers.

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Beating the system: Can the Red Wings increase their shootout prowess with better shot choice?

When we last convened, we established that an eight percent increase in SPDO equals one shootout win and that the Red Wings’ poor shooters cost them two to three points last year, which led to the question: What’s the best way for the Red Wings to increase their shooting percentage, and in turn, their SPDO? The answer is complicated. The problem with shootouts is sample size. The average team plays in only 10 of them a year. If you keep the same three shooters and goalie for every shootout, that’s only 10 shots per shooter and 30 shots faced by a goalie (barring any extra shooters) each season. Looking at shootout season data is like trying to determine a baseball player’s hitting skill by looking at their batting average after three games. Because of that, the consistency on any metric from year-to-year by is minimal. Here’s a look at the SPDO of a team from 2012-13 to 2013-14: Rplot The R^2 value is 0.111, so a team’s 2012-13 shootout performance could only predict about 11 percent of that same team’s 2013-14 shootout performance. When you look at individual players, it gets even worse. I took every player who had a minimum of five shootout attempts in the 2012-13 and 2013-14 seasons and graphed it:

R^2 = 0.074

R^2 = 0.074

The chart for goalies is just as bad. We could increase the minimum number of attempts, but our data set would be almost nothing. There were just 33 players who had five shootout attempts in 2012-13 and 2013-14. Obviously, part of the reason is that 2012-13 was a lockout year. You might see a slightly better correlation if you compared two full seasons, but I ran out of run to run these regressions for every season. (That data and an examination into how many attempts it takes for a player/goalie’s shooting/save percentage to stabilize could come in future Shootout Weeks.) My guess is it wouldn’t make much of a difference, just based on how low this number is.

So after all that we’ve just figured out a bunch of way to not find what we’re looking for. Continue Reading »

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Nothing today

I went down a research wormhole last night and haven’t fully clawed my way out of it, so there will be nothing today. Have no fear.  Shootout week will continue.

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Measuring shootout effectiveness using fancy stats and why it should matter to NHL teams, including the Red Wings

Brunner shootout

On Monday, we determined that on average a team has 10 extra points* available to it per season due to the shootout.

The goal for NHL teams then should be to put them in the best position to gain as many of those 10 possible points total in the shootout.

How do they do that?

Well, the first step is to find a measure of success.

The problem with shootouts is there aren’t an equal number of opportunities for each team. The Capitals had 21 shootouts last year. The Predators had six. Because of these types of discrepancies, we need to deal strictly in percentages: win percentage, shooting percentage, etc.

I looked at a number of different stats to find the one that correlated best to winning percentage. The best one is a stat I’m calling Shooutout PDO or SPDO.

If you’re a new-school advanced-stat hipster like me, you already know what PDO is. If you’re not, you can read about it here. In short: it’s the addition of a team’s shooting percentage and save percentage. Thus, SPDO is the addition of a team’s shootout shooting percentage and shootout save percentage.

I calculated an SPDO for all 270 teams (30 teams a season for nine seasons) that have ever participated in the shootout and graphed it against that team’s winning percentage:

(Y = W%, X = Shootout PDO) R^2 = .908

(Y = W%, X = Shootout PDO). R^2 = .908. Y = 1.24x – 0.7416.

The R^2 value is .908, which is quite high. That means that just under 91 percent of a team’s expected shootout win percentage comes from SPDO. The other nine or so percent comes from other, undetermined factors (luck, etc.).

This can help us determine exactly how much improvement a team needs to make in order to gain more shootout wins.

Our average team plays in 10 shootouts a year, so a 0.100 increase (or decrease) in win percentage is roughly equal to one more shootout win (or loss).

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It’s Shootout Week! An introduction and why you should pay attention

Datsyuk Shootout

Late one night about a month ago, I mindlessly clicked a link that I had favorited on Twitter. My browser went to a month-old Yahoo! story about some professor who had been teaching a class on Sabermetrics — “The Study of Baseball as a Science” — at Tufts University. He was now teaching the class online, for free.

I signed up.

It wasn’t so much the baseball as it was the accessibility to data analysis. Baseball was already too refined. I wanted to figure out hockey. I paid attention to Fenwick and Corsi and quality of competition and PDO and all the other stats provided by ExtraSkater.com but didn’t have the skills to venture too far into the world myself.

When I initially tried to get more advanced with hockey, it didn’t work too well. I ran into all the common pitfalls: How do you adjust for the differing quality of a player’s linemates, or who they’re matched up against? How do you break up such a free-flowing game that relies on teamwork into the individual one-on-one battles that is in baseball’s DNA?

On one particular night, I watched the whole hockey panel from the 2014 Sloan Sports Analytics Conference (video here), searching for clues. In it, Don Fishman, the Assistant GM and Director of Legal Affairs for the Washington Captials said something that made a lot of sense.

“We’re a fluid game, we’re a complicated game, that’s why we love our sport,” Fishman said. “Let’s stop being obsessed with trying to capture the entire game and trying to come up with some magic formula to capture that whole game, because we can’t. It’s a beautiful piece of art. It’s this creative piece of art with hundreds of colors in different ways. Let’s learn about discrete areas and focus on different areas of the game and let’s see if we can nail those. I’d love to see someone nail the shootouts. Come up with something.”

I’ve thought a lot about the shootout since then. I’ve searched for some analytical breakdowns of NHL shootouts and haven’t found much other than on whether to go first or second in the shootout (Conclusion: it doesn’t really matter, but this is an old study).

If you’ve seen something I missed please pass it along, but this lack of info shows that it’s time for me to take the walking stick. I will attempt to “nail the shootouts”, and no that’s not slang for something else.

The first step is showing they matter.

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Sunday Red Wings rumor roundup: What it might take to land Mike Green and why Detroit might be down two assistant coaches

New feature! Every Sunday I’ll bring you a recap of all the legitimate Red Wings-related transaction and signing rumors from the previous week. I see all this stuff anyway. I figured I might as well share it with you.

   Danny DeKeyser chose not to file for arbitration, according to MLive.com’s Brendan Savage. He remains a restricted free agent and will have to agree on a new contract before training camp. DeKeyser and Tomas Tatar are the Red Wings’ only restricted free agents remaining from the NHL club.

  Washington Capitals right-handed defenseman Mike Green  is the Red Wings’ top trade target according to Fox Sports Detroit’s Art Regner, who cites a “team source.” Green has a limited no trade clause, so the number of teams both on Green’s trade list and in the market for a defenseman could be small. Regner says the source indicated the Red Wings intend to move quickly.

Green, 28, is slated to become a free agent after next year. He’s got a cap hit of $6,083,333 for 2014-15. The Capitals indicated that they intend to keep Green, but MLive.com’s Ansar Khan says he’s “destined to be traded” because of the Capitals are near the salary cap ceiling and just signed defensemen Brooks Orpik and Matt Niskanen, giving them eight defensemen on one-way contracts. Khan says Green would be an ideal fit with the Red Wings as a right-handed, puck moving defensemen, but it might be tough to work out a deal, because Washington wouldn’t want Jakub Kindl and the Red Wings likely wouldn’t part with one of their young NHL-ready forwards.

The Free Press’ Helene St. James says that if a deal for Green was done, Tatar is the young NHL-ready forward most likely to go to the Capitals.

Regner said the Red Wings are using  Landon Ferraro and others like him as trade bait for Green.

In his article about Green, Khan indicated  that the Red Wings have inquired about Buffalo’s Tyler Myers, Edmonton’s Jeff Petry, Toronto’s Cody Franson, and other right-handed defensemen.

   As you probably heard, the Red Wings re-signed Daniel Cleary to a one-year, $1.5 million deal. What you might not know is that Cleary got a $250,000 signing bonus and a no-trade clause. He also gets a $1 million bonus if he plays in at least 10 games next year.

 Assistant coach Tom Renney is in the final stages of leaving Detroit to become the president and CEO of Hockey Canada, according to MLive’s Ansar Khan.  That would leave the Red Wings with two assistant coach vacancies after Bill Peters left to become head coach of the Hurricanes earlier this summer.

Khan says the Red Wings have interviewed Tony Granato for one of their assistant coach positions. Granato has spent the past five years as an assistant for the Penguins but is without a job after Pittsburgh fired head coach Dan Bylsma this offseason.

  Khan also says the Red Wings are out on free agent defenseman Michael Del Zotto. 

  Stephen Weiss says he’s healthy, according to Khan. Yay? Weiss played in just 26 games last year due to a sports hernia.

• The Red Wings singed minor league goaltender Thomas McCollum to a one-year deal. According to CapGeek, McCollum will make $110,000 in the AHL next year and $600,000 if he is called up to Detroit.


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