Category Archives: Stats Are Cool

Wilson Ramos Hurt His Hand, Which Doesn’t Hurt That Bad

Wilson-Ramos-Catching

Nats starting catcher and Opening Day cleanup hitter Wilson Ramos reportedly fractured his left hand today on a foul tip, which is a very Wilson Ramos thing to do. (He’s only played more than 78 games in a season just once.)

We don’t know how serious it is or how long he’ll be out, but here’s a quick crack at what it could mean:

*In 231 career games with the Nats, Ramos’ Baseball Reference WAR is 4.9. It’s 5.3 on Fangraphs.

*Assuming Ramos misses two months or about 40 games, that’s a dropoff of about 0.9 WAR, so long as we also assume his replacement plays at replacement level.

*The replacement is Jose Lobaton, who posted a 1.5/1.4 WAR last season in 100 games with Tampa.

Meaning, while it stinks to lose Ramos at all, this shouldn’t hurt the Nats too bad. Maybe a game or less in the standings. And oh yeah, they won in 10 today.

Also, I know very little about WAR specifically and fancy stats in general. We may be doomed.

John Wall Is Shooting The Wizards To The Playoffs

Please welcome guest contributor Bryan Frantz to Mr. Irrelevant. Here he is on John Wall and your Washington Wizards.

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The Wizards are having their best season in years. They stand at 33-31, sixth place in the East and 3.5 games away from third. The five seasons before this Washington went 19-63, 26-56, 23-59, 20-46 (lockout-shortened season) and 29-53.

The collective misery of the Eastern conference, arrival of Marcin Gortat, improved health of Bradley Beal and improved play of Trevor Ariza are obvious contributors to the success. One topic that doesn’t get the recognition it deserves, though, is John Wall’s jumper.

His shooting has never been something to brag about; his career shooting percentage sits at a modest 42.5 percent, and his three-point percentage hovers around 29.5 percent. Wall is making 33.9 percent of threes this season, though, and he’s shooting 3.7 per game (two more than his previous career high). Take a look at the shot charts:

John Wall’s 2012-13 Shot Chart

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John Wall’s 2013-14 Shot Chart

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His three-point shooting has become a legitimate weapon, to the point that defenses have to respect his jumper. This spreads the floor and opens up Ariza and Beal in ways that simply didn’t exist last season, which leads to more quality shots all around. The Wizards, as a team, are shooting 38.6 percent from three this season, up from 36.5 percent last season.

But it’s not just open threes the Wizards are getting. Washington is shooting 45.6 percent overall from the floor, tied for 11th in the league. That’s a huge increase from 43.5 percent of last season, when they were tied for 27th.

Shockingly enough, making more shots leads to more points. Washington is scoring a respectable 100.5 points per game this season, which is astounding considering they tied for last a year ago with 93.2 points per contest.

Again, this is not entirely attributed to Wall improving his shot. But a point guard needs to have an outside shot to become elite. Derrick Rose, injuries aside, makes for a great case study. In his rookie season, Rose averaged 0.9 three-point attempts per game and made just 22.2 percent. He improved mildly in his second season, and by his third season he had turned his three-point shot into a weapon. That year Rose shot 4.8 threes per game, knocking them down at a rate of 33.2 percent.

So while Wall has always been able to get his points — he’s never dropped below 16 per game — he now gets them from all over the floor. Defenses have a new element to defend, and his teammates benefit from it. The Wizards win.

Fact-Checking Kyle Shanahan

On Sunday, the Redskins lost to the 3-10 Falcons to fall to 3-11. Before that, though, Jason La Canfora published an anonymously-sourced evisceration of Kyle Shanahan and his staff. The son of Shan was asked about that, and he came back with a strong defense (emphasis added):

“When I hear people talking about them and they’re not good and they’re inept, that really offends me because it’s so messed up to those guys that people — because of their age, because they’ve worked with me before — that they’ve dogged those guys because our offensive staff, those guys, in my opinion are as good as a staff I’ve been around. And those guys — these two years, we have moved the ball better than any offense in the history of this 80-year organization. That’s something to be proud of. I think that’s a pretty good accomplishment that nobody’s done it better in all 80 years of a good organization and we couldn’t have done that without these coaches.”

That is something to be proud of, if true.

The 2012-13 Redskins have scored/are on pace to score 785 points. Pretty good, especially by Redskins standards. The 1990-91 Redskins, however, scored 866, and the ’83-84 teams scored 967. That is more. A lot more.

Shanahan was talking about “moving the ball,” though. He must be talking about yards, right? It’s pretty easy to argue that yardage isn’t the best way to gauge an offense’s effectiveness, but whatever. Just go with it.

The 2012-13 Skins rank roughly seventh in the NFL in offensive yardage. Looking at the aforementioned two-year runs of Redskins offensive glory, the ’90-91 Skins were roughly fourth in yardage and the ’83-84 Skins were roughly sixth. Again, that is better.

But! Kyle wasn’t necessarily talking about league-relative success; maybe he was specifically talking about offensive yardage totals (not that he looked those up or anything). And, if that’s the case, then he’s right.

The ’12-13 Redskins have accumulated/are on pace to accumulate 12,265 yards. That’s more than the ’90-91 (11,303) and ’83-84 (11,489) teams or any other Washington offense I could find. See? “Something to be proud of.”

Of course, this doesn’t take into account that today’s offenses gain way more yardage and score more points than ever before, or that the NFL didn’t move to a 16-game regular season until just 35 years ago. Minor quibbles.

RGIII’s Stats Aren’t Bad, At Least

If you were to ask someone, “Hey, how much worse is RGIII than Russell Wilson and Luck and Kaepernick this season?,” I bet he or she would say something like, “Shoot, those guys left him in the dust a long time ago.” But, if you take team records out of it, here’s what their 2013 seasons look like:

Wilson is clearly out in front, but RGIII, Luck and Kaep are more or less the same — in that middle-third of quarterbacks with 80-plus ratings and the stats to go with it. Advanced stats may suggest differently, and I haven’t watched enough Indy or SF games to suggest otherwise, but it seems to me those three are in roughly the same boat, looking up at Wilson.

Of course, the biggest difference is that RGIII is on a very bad 3-10 team, while the other three helm teams with a combined record of 28-10. Seattle and San Francisco are also distinguished from Washington in that they have very good defenses. Indianapolis, for its part, does not feature the worst special teams unit ever.

All of which is to say, maybe it’s not as bad as we think it is for RGIII right now. He basically put up a sophomore season in line with his heralded peers, one in which he started every game and made it through injury-free. After last year’s trauma, that’s no small feat.

Also, just for fun, let’s compare RGIII’s 2013 to three other recent QB seasons, each of which is relevant in some way:

The Cam comparison is often made and is a hopeful one, given how he and the Panthers have rebounded in 2013. The Campbell one is just me stirring up old stuff, dispiriting though it may be. And, ah yes, Donovan McNabb. At least Griffin’s got him beat.

Brady, Manning and Peterson Weren’t Great In Their First Two Games Back Either

Tom Brady, Peyton Manning and Adrian Peterson had different injuries than Robert Griffin III. They were on different timelines and in different situations, etc. They’re different players, and, like all people everywhere, each is a precious snowflake.

Two games is also a small sample size, I know, but that’s what we have to work with when analyzing post-devastation RGIII. And I’m willing to bet that no one in New England, Denver or Minnesota was calling for Brady, Manning or Peterson to be benched after two games, either.

It’s a good thing, too, because each of them got way better after their first two games back from major injury. Again, that doesn’t necessarily mean anything for anyone else, but it is interesting.

Tom Brady in 2009

Tore his ACL and MCL in the first game of the 2008 season.

First two games of ’09: 62.0% completion percentage, 297 yards/game, 5.9 yards/attempt, 2 TD, 2 INT, 76.8 rating. Team went 1-1, including a one-point win over Buffalo.

Last 14 games of ’09: 66.5% completion percentage, 272 yards/game, 8.2 yards/attempt, 26 TD, 11 INT, 100.3 rating. Team went 9-5.

Peyton Manning in 2012

Missed all of 2011 due to a series of neck surgeries.

First two games of ’12: 68.3% completion percentage, 247 yards/game, 7.8 yards/attempt, 3 TD, 3 INT, 93.9 rating. Team went 1-1.

Last 14 games of ’12: 68.9% completion percentage, 298 yards/game, 11.7 yards/attempt, 34 TD, 8 INT, 107.5 rating. Team went 12-2.

Adrian Peterson in 2012

Tore his ACL and MCL in Week 16 of the 2011 season.

First two games of ’12: 72 rushing yards/game, 4.4 yards/carry, 2 TD. Team went 1-1, including a three-point win over Jacksonville.

Last 14 games of ’12: 140 rushing yards/game, 6.2 yards/carry, 11 TD. Team went 9-5.

Note: Peterson really got better after his first six games.

Robert Griffin III in 2013

Tore his ACL and LCL in January 2013.

First two games of ’13: 62.9% completion percentage, 325 yards/game, 7.3 yards/attempt, 5 TD, 3 INT, 89.6 rating. Team went 0-2.

Last 14 games of ’13: TBD.

Bryce Harper, Off To A Good Start

Bryce Harper has the second-most HR in MLB with eight. He has the sixth-best batting average, seventh-best OBP and the third-best slugging percentage. He doesn’t turn 21 until October.

Update: Another great Harper stat came in response to our tweet:

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Maybe Skins Fans Actually Care About This Draft (INFOGRAPHIC)

Earlier I wrote, “This draft has no buzz for Redskins fans.” It appears I was wrong. In response to that post @olsonchr put together this fancy data visualization:

Now, this may not be the most accurate way of gauging team-by-team fan interest in this particular draft, but it is a way of doing it. It shows the Skins fanbase is in the top half of the league in terms of giving a shit, and that Vikings fans are crazy, clearly.

Skins Playoff Odds Made Simple

We’ve been posting somewhat convoluted Redskins playoffs scenarios for weeks because we’re into slow-building disappointment, but now it’s pretty simple: Beat Dallas at home, win the NFC East. Here’s what the odds look like:

Football Outsiders: 85 percent (77 percent for the division; seven percent for a wild card)
Playoff Status: 70 percent (64 percent for the division; six percent for a WC)

The Skins are favored (-3) but that provides little solace. What would ease the pressure, though, is if Washington were guaranteed a wild-card spot by the time Kai Forbath sends Sunday night’s opening kickoff well short of end zone.

What that takes is both a loss by the Bears and a loss by the Vikings. Chicago (-3) is at Detroit and Minnesota (+3) hosts Green Bay. The chances of both happening are not good (see above), but I do not think they’re as low as six-seven percent, either.

Detroit is done and may roll over, or they may be fired up by the prospect of taking a rival into the offseason with them. Of course, they’ve lost seven in a row, and Jay Cutler is 6-1 vs. the Lions.

The Packers are clearly better than the Vikings, and they’re playing for a first-round bye. Of course, the game is in Minnesota and the Vikings are playing for their playoff lives.

Vegas applies the same spread to all three games, so it’s not unreasonable to apply the same 64-77 percent chance of Redskins victory to Bears-Lions and Vikings-Packers. Here’s what that’s tells us: There’s actually more like a 21 percent chance of both Chicago and Minnesota losing.

That’s fuzzy math, I know, and all a wild card does is send Washington to San Francisco (or possibly Seattle) rather than hosting, say, the Bears or Vikings. So, yeah, simple: Beat Dallas.

DMV: London Fletcher Is Falling

Advanced stats say London Fletcher isn’t good anymore. [Burgundy Blog]

A defiant D. Hall says the ref was “equally at fault.” PSGO. [The Insider]

Love the fact-checking of Mike Shanahan that occurs here. [Real Redskins]

Reminder: Skins are wearing these leatherheaded throwbacks Sunday. [TI]

Wiz lose opener at Cleveland. No one scored more than 11. [Bullets Forever]

The highlight was probably this Jan Vesely sequence. [DC Sports Nexus]

Adam LaRoche wins first Gold Glove, Ian Desmond doesn’t. [Nats Journal]

Matt Wieters, Adam Jones and J.J. Hardy win Gold Gloves. [Camden Chat]

A good first-hand account of Ovechkin’s popularity in Russia. [Y! Sports]

Nick Backstrom’s new Dynamo Moscow jersey number is 69. [RMNB]

Five ways to increase student interest in JMU football. [JMU Sports Blog]