Tag: Nerds on Sports University

Nerds on Sports University: LUCK

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In the last Nerds on Sports University, I gave you a very technical and involved statistic. This time, I’m going for something a little more light hearted. Today, I will tell you about the pitching stat LUCK. LUCK isn’t an acronym for anything it’s just luck.

Before I get into LUCK itself, let’s look at pitchers Expected Win-Loss [E(W) & E(L)]. We all know that Wins and Losses are very dependent on how the rest of the pitchers team and your bullpen, especially if you’ve been watching Bronson Arroyo this year (Luck -6.31). To calculate E(W) and E(L) we look at the pitchers innings pitched and runs allowed for each game and compare that to the same pitching line’s wins and losses historically. So if a pitcher went 6 innings and gave up 5 runs you would expect them to get a win 30% of the time. So the E(W) is .3 and the E(L) is .7.

To get LUCK we compare the expected numbers to the actual numbers. Taking the difference between the expected numbers and the actual numbers and adding that together (W-E(W)) + (E(L)-L) is LUCK. So a pitcher with a high LUCK is lucky and their team is helping them out. I hope you enjoy LUCK, and I will end this class with some current LUCK stats. Read More

Nerds on Sports University: VORP

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Welcome to Nerds on Sports University, class is in session. I am professor Willis, and though I may not be a Notorious Ph.D. professor of critical studies, I have read some books. Today’s topic is VORP which means Value Over Replacement Player. VORP was created by Keith Woolner of Baseball Prospectus to find a way to value a player’s contribution that factored in playing time and position (and park factors).

Step one to deciphering this stat is to figure out the RP or Replacement Player. Replacement level is a complicated calculation that can be summed up easily. Say a team gets hit with an injury to an everyday player, then the team may be stuck playing a utility bench player, bringing up a AAA player, or finding some other journeyman to fill the gap. That player is basically the replacement level.

Baseball Bell CurveThat’s the idea of Replacement Level, now the hard part: how do we calculate that level so we can compare it to all players? First off Major League baseball players don’t fall into a pretty bell curve, they fall more into the front half of a bell curve (see picture) where there are very few players with the most baseball skill (right side of chart) and a ton of players that play in softball leagues across the world (democratic side).

Before I go more into the calculation of “RP” Replacement Player, let me cover the “V” Value used. No matter where you look to read about VORP, one of the first things they remind you of is that baseball is a zero-sum game. Meaning that every game (except the All-Star game) has a winner and a loser. And as you know, runs are what determine the winner of a baseball game. So the V in VORP is measured in Runs. Now back to calculations. Read More

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