TBA4365+51.2 DET4044+10.0 It’s getting more and more crowded on baseball’s bleeding edge. As sabermetrics has expanded to swallow new disciplines and data sets,1The data generated by a single game has gone from mega- to gigabytes, with terabytes sure to follow before long. the number of quantitative analysts in MLB front offices has multiplied to keep up, producing an army of number crunchers, modelers and decision scientists who would have seemed out of place at the ballpark even a decade ago.Because we, too, are statheads at heart, we’ve mined the data and charted the proliferation of these numbers-savvy front-office staffers over time. Yes, there are more of them now than ever, and yes, they’ve had a demonstrable effect on their teams’ fortunes. But contrary to the “Moneyball”-era hand-wringing about battles between scouts and statheads, their rise hasn’t come at the expense of old-school analysis. Rather, the two main points of contention are how much the “Moneyball” mindset has spread from the game’s most frugal teams to the richest ones; and why the front-office hiring boom hasn’t helped its gender diversity.You’re gonna need a bigger budgetTo track the expansion of baseball’s R&D departments, we took three snapshots of MLB staffs by studying cached online directories and team media guides from 2016, 2012 and 2009 — the first year for which media guides are widely available from MLBpressbox.com — and consulting with current and former front-office employees. We limited our sample to full-time employees (sorry, interns and consultants),2Disclosure: One of this article’s authors, Rob Arthur, works as a statistical consultant for the Toronto Blue Jays. and tried to maintain a consistent, fairly strict definition of what constitutes a quant: a “baseball operations” employee who spends a majority of his or her work hours either directing a quantitative department or doing statistical research, data processing or programming to support the team’s analytical efforts.Naturally, our task occasionally required some informed speculation. “Analytics” and “analyst” are slippery terms, particularly because most front-office employees are multitaskers who contribute to more than one department. Many teams are also guarded in how they describe (or don’t describe) their employees’ roles and responsibilities. But even with all those caveats, we’re confident that we’ve arrived at a roughly accurate accounting of MLB’s quant army.And our numbers reveal that baseball’s analytical arms race is proceeding at a pace only slightly slower than Moore’s law. Although the analytical gold rush began before the period we examined, hiring has accelerated at an almost exponential rate over the last few years. In 2009, the first season of our sample — which was several years after “Moneyball” became a best-seller — a total of 44 team employees fit our “quant” definition, and at least a third of teams had yet to assign a single full-time employee primarily to statistical work. By 2012, the number had climbed to 75, and only four teams had no quants. Four years after that, the analyst count has more than doubled again, to 156, and nowadays no team operates without some semblance of an R&D department. 3Only one of those departments — perhaps predictably, the tightfisted Miami Marlins — is still a solo act. MIL3848+26.3 ATL3246+43.8 KCA3647+30.6 SDN3655+52.8 TOR3858+52.6 WAS2847+67.9% ARI4161+48.8 CIN4665+41.3 TEX3849+28.9 NUMBER OF FULL-TIME SCOUTING PERSONNEL MIN3546+31.4 LAD4361+41.9 OAK3840+5.3 CLE4148+17.1 SourceS: MLB, VARIOUS TEAM MEDIA GUIDES SEA6762-7.5 Nor is there any indication that we’re approaching a plateau. A number of teams told us they expected to add more analysts soon; we’re aware of at least 12 open positions across MLB. And because the litany of prerequisite degrees and programming languages seems to grow with each listing, it seems certain that the average analyst also has a more impressive résumé today than in the past.To the statheads went the spoilsThe biggest benefits of buying into objective analysis were probably reaped around the time “Moneyball” was published, when a lot of the low-hanging fruit was still attached to baseball’s most rigid branches. Simple lessons such as “on-base percentage matters more than batting average” still eluded many front offices, and numerous talented analysts whose work would later be exclusive to one team were still posting their insights publicly on message boards or sites such as Baseball Prospectus.Even though some of the initial rewards had already been realized by 2009, there were still significant gains to be made by semi-early adopters. To measure them, we built a model estimating how good a team was before its front-office hires, using the following factors for each team: its winning percentages over the previous three seasons, its payroll and market size and its Baseball America farm-system ranking. Using these variables, we generated an expected winning percentage for each team over the following three seasons, beginning with the two historical years for which we had analyst counts (2009 and 2012).The takeaway: It paid to invest in analytics early. Teams with at least one analyst in 2009 outperformed their expected winning percentage4As predicted by the model. by 44 percentage points over the 2012-14 period, relative to teams who didn’t — an enormous effect, equivalent to more than seven extra wins per season. That might be overstating things a bit — the precise advantage varies depending on how the analysis is structured — but over most permutations of the model we tried,5Including using different thresholds (by number of analysts) to determine a team’s analytical buy-in, and different periods of time upon which to judge a team’s on-field output. the effect was consistently stronger than two wins per season, particularly for the earliest-adopting teams, which got a head start by implementing analytics before 2009.Perhaps we shouldn’t be surprised that sabermetrics conferred such a first-mover advantage. As a thought experiment, let’s assume the typical modern analytics department contains five people (156 staffers leaguewide, divided by 30 teams). If the two most senior members of the department earn $100,000 a year and the remaining members make half that, the yearly price would come to $350,000. Putting aside overhead costs,6Which, admittedly, can be quite large (i.e., in the millions) for some front offices. But even with multi-million dollar overhead costs, the total price of an analytics department wouldn’t approach most free-agent player contracts of similar value. that outlay still lags behind the MLB’s minimum salary for a single player — chump change in a sport where the average franchise is valued at 10 figures.For such a relatively small expenditure on analysts, even the minimum estimate of two extra wins per year would represent a return roughly 30 times as efficient as spending the same amount on the free-agent market. (It would be like the Chicago Cubs signing outfielder Dexter Fowler not for the $13 million he’s actually making but for what it would take to pay a player who just made his big-league debut.) At that rate, there’s plenty of room for front-office inflation to continue before teams run into diminishing returns.The rich are getting smarterAlthough the big-budget Boston Red Sox were also one of the first teams to demonstrate that an analytics department could help win a World Series,7Boston may have even been the first to win with a dedicated analytics staff, though it’s also worth noting that the Oakland A’s won in 1989 with early sabermetric consulting from Eric Walker. a number of low-payroll, small-market teams — including not only the Moneyball A’s, but also the Rays, Indians, Padres and Pirates — were among the first to form quantitative departments and develop systems to house and display statistical data. It made sense: The more pressing a team’s financial imperative to stretch every dollar and wring out every win, the more likely it was to try a new approach.But that’s no longer true. Although the Rays, who rank 29th in payroll this season, continue to occupy the R&D pole position with a still expanding department of almost 20 statheads — fortunately, Tropicana Field has plenty of quiet, climate-controlled workspace to spare — baseball’s “haves” are no longer have-nots when it comes to statistical expertise. In both 2009 and 2012, teams with low-ranking payrolls tended to employ more analysts. But in 2016, the balance of analytical buy-in shifts toward big spenders, which might explain why the Rays are having a harder time separating their on-field performance from the pack.Not only are wealthy teams capable of outspending competitors for free-agent players, but they’ve also become more willing to outbid them for brains. The sport’s two heaviest hitters by payroll, the Yankees and Dodgers, are also the only teams aside from the Rays whose R&D departments have double-digit head counts.In addition to hiring a large crew of new number crunchers and programmers, the Dodgers have plundered talent from other franchises’ front offices, absorbing not only the former general managers of the Rays (Andrew Friedman), Padres (Josh Byrnes) and Blue Jays (Alex Anthopoulos), but also a former A’s assistant GM, Farhan Zaidi, who joined Oakland as an analyst because “Moneyball” made him want to work in baseball. In particular, LA’s brain trust has devoted its efforts to preserving player health, which Billy Beane has publicly labeled the sport’s most glaring inefficiency. In their quest to curtail injuries, the Dodgers have invested in both computerized systems and human know-how, as well as seeding a sports-oriented startup incubation program.Stats haven’t killed the scouting starIn the factious days after “Moneyball” was published, the book was often characterized as a prophecy of scouting’s coming extinction. That interpretation was mostly off base, but one passage did strongly imply that the competition for front-office positions was a zero-sum game. In a postscript titled “Inside Baseball’s Religious War,” which appeared in later editions, Michael Lewis wrote that “[J.P.] Ricciardi, the new [Blue Jays] GM, had done what every enlightened GM will eventually do: fire a lot of scouts, hire someone comfortable with statistical analysis … and begin to trade for value, ruthlessly.”Lewis’s postscript looks ironic in retrospect, for multiple reasons. The deputy he describes as “someone comfortable with statistical analysis” was Keith Law, who has since become ESPN’s lead prospect analyst and spends much of his time scouting players. Moreover, Ricciardi himself was fired in 2009 and replaced by Anthopoulos, who almost immediately embarked on a scout-hiring spree — and shepherded Toronto to more success than it had ever enjoyed under his predecessor.8Anthopoulos left the Blue Jays for the Dodgers after the 2015 season. Even Beane’s stat-inclined sidekick, Paul DePodesta, later became vice president of player development and scouting for the Mets before switching sports earlier this year. BAL3432-5.9 STL3944+12.8 CHC5160+17.6 NYM5246-11.5 PHI33330.0 CHW3246+43.8 TEAM20092016%CHANGE BOS5971+20.3 NYY4574+64.4 HOU5552-5.5 SFN5956-5.1 COL3644+22.2 ANA3448+41.2 PIT3948+23.1 MIA3843+13.2 Scouting staffs are also on the rise In fact, the recent expansion of analytics staffing doesn’t seem to have squeezed out other kinds of employees. By our count, big-league teams employed 1,246 full-time scouts in the first year of our sample,9Which in most cases dates back to 2009, except for the few teams whose 2009 media guides don’t have accessible scouting sections. In those cases, we used 2010 data. across all levels and specialties — pro, amateur, advance and international. This year’s media guides list 1,539 scouts — an average increase of almost 10 per team. Only five teams employ fewer scouts than they did in 2009, and of those, four were previously among the top five scout employers. No team has downsized by more than six total scouts or 12 percent of its previous force.Although the increased ability to access information remotely may have made some advance and pro scouts redundant — or transferred their responsibilities to new, stay-at-home scouts who prep for opponents using a combination of stats and video — any modest downsizing in those areas has been more than offset by increased amateur and international coverage. For instance, the Rays — who also devote a massive head count to scouting, trailing only the Yankees and Red Sox — assign dedicated scouts to 12 countries outside the U.S., some of which haven’t historically been baseball hotbeds.10Including Curacao, Germany, the Czech Republic and Brazil, where they’re trying to build an academy. No scouting position is permanent, but our survey uncovered scant evidence to back up claims that teams are treating scouts as obsolete relics. If anything, smart teams have learned to treat scouting grades as statistical data that can improve upon purely numbers-based evaluations, making the two perspectives even more tightly intertwined.Given baseball’s burgeoning economy, it’s only logical that additional jobs for statheads haven’t come at scouts’ expense. Ever-rising broadcast rights and franchise valuations have caused revenue to skyrocket, and the profit has to go somewhere besides under owners’ mattresses. As revenue sharing, luxury taxes, and limits on amateur and international spending lower the ceiling on some forms of spending and shrink the payroll gaps between teams, the best option for a cash-flush club is to direct dollars away from the field. Beefing up front-office infrastructure makes acquiring, storing and applying information easier, and it allows teams to get more bang for the bucks they’re allowed to spend.That said, there are still places where analytics hiring has a lot of room to improve. Out of 190 analysts who appeared on our list at least once, only five were female, and only three of those women are still active. Granted, the gender imbalance in baseball ops is actually less lopsided on the R&D side than in scouting, where women are even scarcer. But high-level playing experience is far from a prerequisite in R&D roles, which tells us either that teams are having trouble attracting female applicants or that they’re overlooking the qualified candidates who do apply. As Zaidi, who has since hired one of the three active female analysts, put it last year: “If I’m going to put my geek cap on, it’s a statistical impossibility … that the best candidate for every position in baseball is a middle-aged Caucasian male.”Of course, baseball’s broadcast bubble might eventually burst, reversing the rise in revenue and forcing teams to economize. In that event, some would likely decide that stats, video and tracking systems such as Statcast and Kinetrax make scouting positions expendable, although they would probably also slash the budgets and support for their R&D staffs. Barring that type of catastrophe, though, baseball’s front-office hiring boom is unlikely to slow any time soon, since the rapid ascendance of baseball’s new school hasn’t made many teams think “out with the old.” Instead, teams have learned to synthesize information from multiple sources; even the supposedly sabermetrics-defying Kansas City Royals were aided by a talented analytics department en route to their World Series victory last season. When it comes to the search for front-office smarts, all signs still say “help wanted.”Check out our latest MLB predictions.
But Leicester’s rise is especially remarkable in the modern Premier League era. A deluge of money into the league has led to increasing inequality and stratification among teams with cash to burn and those without, which makes a rise of this sort into a billion-dollar-Powerball, Donald Trump-is-the-GOP-nominee-level outlier. Even still, Leicester’s wage bill this season was relatively low. The club spent only 48.2 million pounds on wages, fourth-least in the Premier League. Manchester United has spent more money on new players in the last two years than Leicester has spent in the 132 years it’s existed.Leicester’s title is being trumpeted as “the most unlikely feat in sport history.” Unlikely? Absolutely. Leicester’s rise has been exceptional, no question, and all the more impressive in a climate where dollars, like heat, tend to rise to the top of the table. But unprecedented? No. English football, with its meritocratic system of promotion and relegation, at least makes Cinderella runs like Leicester’s possible — but there hadn’t been a ball in quite some time. Champions tend to come from the top of the previous year’s table. Until this season, every team that has won the title in the Premier League era (which began with the 1992-93 season) finished no worse than third in the Premier League the year before. Of the 70 top-tier league championships since World War II, only six were won by teams that did not finish in the top half of the division the year before. Three times, teams promoted from the second tier went on to win the top tier the next season (Tottenham in 1951, Ipswich in 1962 and Nottingham Forest in 1978). And three winners had finished in the bottom half the year before — Arsenal were 12th in 1969-70 and 13th in 1946-47, and Manchester City finished 15th in 1966-67.Last year, Leicester finished 14th out of 20. They averaged just 1.08 points per game (a win is three, a draw one, a loss zero) and were in last place as late as April. Coming into this season, there was no indication of a turnaround, and most predicted that Leicester would be relegated — demoted to the second tier of the English system.Team manager Nigel Pearson had just been fired, and the club had lost its best midfielder, Esteban Cambiasso. The likable Claudio Ranieri took charge, but he had never won a league title before, and his most recent job was a disastrous spell in charge of the Greek national team, overseeing the squad’s embarrassing losses to the Faroe Islands. Leicester had no marquee stars. The Leicester team was a blend of aging players who had spent most of their careers in the lower leagues and overseas players from lower-level foreign leagues. Famously, its leading scorer and this year’s Football Writers’ Player of the Year, Jamie Vardy, was playing non-league football just four years ago.Even family members of current Leicester players claimed greater success than the whole team. Peter Schmeichel, the father of Leicester goalie Kasper Schmeichel, had more Premier League hardware (five titles) than the entire squad combined (31-year-old Robert Huth and 43-year-old backup goalie Mark Schwarzer both won with Chelsea in minor playing roles).But something magical happened. Leicester started winning, and kept winning. This season, Leicester has been averaging 2.14 points per game. It’s the single biggest year-over-year increase for a league champ since World War II.3Three teams — Spurs in 1951, Ipswich Town in 1962 and Nottingham Forest in 1978 — won the league after being promoted from the lower tier the year before. Points in this analysis are calculated with a win worth three points and a draw one point, the system introduced in the 1981-82 season.But this amazing change in fortune really began years earlier, in the 2008-09 season, when Leicester were dwelling in the lower, far less glamorous third tier of the English football pyramid, known as League One.Since World War II, only one team — Ipswich Town, the 1962 top-flight champs — has had such a long climb over seven years to win the league title. And no team aside from Ipswich then and Leicester now has climbed two tiers so quickly before winning the title.In the chart below are the seven-year histories leading up to every top-flight English football championship since World War II. Only eight times from 1950 through 1980, and only twice from 1981 through 1995, had a team risen from a lower tier in the seven years before to claim the title. It’s been a good nine months for Leicester City Football Club. So good that on Monday the team overcame 5,000-to-1 preseason odds to clinch the Premier League title — its first. Forbes reports that the title is worth more than $100 million to the club, and it’s been nothing short of magic for the club’s fans in that otherwise “unglamorous city” in the Midlands of England.For a long time, it’s been received wisdom that no team outside of a “Big Four” — Arsenal, Chelsea, Manchester City and Manchester United in its current iteration — has any real hope of a league title. The very few exceptions only helped bolster the rule. In the mid-1990s, Blackburn Rovers, bankrolled by local steel magnate Jack Walker, were promoted from the second tier and then took the title in 1995. Since then, only two other teams outside that quartet — Newcastle United and Liverpool — have managed to finish as high as runners-up in the 20-team field.1This year’s runner-up hasn’t been determined.And upsetting the logjam at the top of the league table is only getting harder. In recent years, only five or six teams have tended to find themselves in the Premier League’s top four at season’s end. Here’s the rolling number of unique top-four teams seen in the preceding five years:2The charts, and many of the figures, in this story are based on a historical soccer data set compiled by one of this article’s authors (James), which can be found here.
Ohio State redshirt sophomore quarterback Dwayne Haskins (7) looks to throw a pass in the first quarter of the game against Maryland on Nov. 17. Credit: Casey Cascaldo | Photo EditorCOLLEGE Park, Md. — Ohio State redshirt sophomore quarterback Dwayne Haskins broke former Ohio State quarterback Joe Germaine’s record for most passing yards in a single season in school history in the second quarter against Maryland on Saturday. Haskins completed a 68-yard touchdown pass to redshirt senior Terry McLaurin to break the record set by Germaine in 1998 with 3,330 passing yards. The redshirt sophomore quarterback also set the record for single-game passing yards against Purdue on Oct. 20, throwing for 470 passing yards against the Boilermakers. He is also only one of two quarterbacks in Ohio State history, along with quarterback Art Schlichter, to throw for more than 400 yards in a single game. Haskins also broke the record for most completions (49) and pass attempts (73) in Ohio State’s loss to the Boilermakers. Haskins also tied former Ohio State quarterbacks J.T. Barrett and Kenny Guiton throwing the most touchdowns in a single game with six against Indiana on Oct. 6. Haskins has the opportunity to break Barrett’s record for most passing touchdowns in a single season. The redshirt sophomore quarterback needs two more touchdown passes to pass Barrett’s 35.
The Italian Lega Serie A club is at the bottom of the standings and it’s fighting not to get back to the Serie B next yearRecently-promoted Italian Lega Serie A club Chievo Verona have had a lot of trouble this season.The team was punished by bad accounting with minus three points, and it has suffered in eight matches without a single win.Chievo is currently sitting in the 20th position of the table with -1 point because of this.And former Verona manager Gigi Del Neri says the team he took to the Serie A for the first time in 2001-2002 might not see that miracle repeat.“The Chievo Miracle was, I think, an indestructible memory,” Del Neri was echoed by Football Italia.Ranieri speaks for the first time at Roma Manuel R. Medina – March 10, 2019 The Italian manager has returned to his country to coach Lega Serie A club Roma after the team was kicked out of the UEFA Champions League.“We’ll never see the likes of that again. To do what we did was like winning the lottery.”“After D’Anna was fired, I heard a few rumors around me, but I think Ventura is the right man to take Chievo forward at this moment,” he said.“It’s very complicated this term because the newly-promoted clubs all have some very interesting squads. Chievo still has to cancel out the points penalty, but I think they have what it takes to survive.”“Ventura was not the problem with the Nazionale. We can’t forget 35 years of the man’s career just because of two bad games,” he added.“Ventura is a friend and I always tried to learn from him. He is very fired up and I’m convinced he’ll do well with Chievo.”
Facebook0TwitterEmailPrintFriendly分享The 6th Annual Mouth to Mouth Wild Run & Ride is scheduled for Memorial Day Monday, May 27. 10-Mile Mouth to Mouth Wild Run & RideThe 2019 Mouth to Mouth Wild Run & Ride includes a 1-mile beach run or fat bike ride between Kasilof River mouth and the mouth of the Kenai River. Day of event registration opens at noon. Race time is set for 2 p.m.The race start will be located at the Kasilof River Special Use Area off Kasilof Beach Stub Rd and the finish line at the Kenai South Beach parking lot off Cannery Rd.Early registration is available for $30 ($25 for Cook Inlet Keepers members) and day of event registration is $40. 3-Mile Fun Run EventIn addition, a 3-mile beach run from Cannery Road beach to the Kenai River mouth and return will begin at 3 p.m. on Monday. Start time for the 3-mile run is 3 p.m. at Cannery Road beach access off Dunes Road.