By: James Carney
Shane Bieber’s 2020 season was historically impressive and dominant. Bieber, the ace for the AL Central champion Cleveland Indians, won the American League pitching triple crown, leading all pitchers in ERA (1.63), Wins, (8), and Strikeouts (122). He also led all AL pitchers in several more advanced statistics, including H/9 (5.35), FIP (2.07), Adjusted ERA+ (281), and WPA (3.0). He also led all American League players with a WAR of 3.2. Bieber’s performance and 8-1 record become even more impressive when compared to the poor state of the Indians’ offense, who finished bottom-five in the MLB in both OPS and runs scored.
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By: John Ryan Ventura
The All-NBA teams for the 2019-20 season were officially announced last Wednesday. Voting took place prior to the league’s restart, and was based on play through March 11th. Players received five points for first place votes, three points for second team votes, and one point for third team votes. Lebron James and Giannis Antetokounmpo received perfect 500’s—first place votes from all 100 voters.
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By: Landon Jaeger
The rapid spread of the coronavirus has put the NBA on hold for now, but NBA teams must keep in mind the draft looming in the near future. Former NCAA and international NBA hopefuls continue their path, submitting their names to the 2020 draft. Controversial players such as James Wiseman, who had his season cut short after just 3 games (due to the NCAA ruling him ineligible), and Lamelo Ball, with his journey between American high school and international play, hope to hear their names called early on during draft night by NBA commissioner Adam Silver. Continue reading →
By: Douglas Young
In 2018, Blake Snell put together a historic season. He was the CY Young winner where he posted a 1.89 ERA. Snell did not have the same success in 2019, succumbing to a 4.29 ERA. His FIP, xFIP, and SIERRA stats suggest he was a slightly worse pitcher between 2018 and 2019, however, they do not suggest a 2.40 difference in ERA. When equating the advanced stats to his ERA, they suggest Snell was lucky in 2018 and unlucky in 2019 (See figure 1). Undeniably, luck was a factor, however, it does not tell the whole story as evidenced by his poor pitching with runners in scoring position.
(Figure 1, FanGraphs)
In 2018, Snell was extremely tough to score on. He led the league by 2.7% in LOB% with a LOB% of 88%. The next year, his LOB% of 71.6 was around the league average – far from the MLB’s best. FIP, xFIP nor SIERRA weigh situations where pitchers have runners on base. This explains why Snell’s ERA changed so drastically leaving his advanced stats somewhat constant.
Industry standard does not believe in clutch players, and thinks that LOB% is a measure of luck. Blake Snell is the exception – his LOB% is not a result of luck. The difference in his walk rate between low-medium leverage situations and high leverage situations is statistically significant at the .025 level with a t-score of 2.16. Snell is walking more batters during the games most decisive moments, that compounds his problems. His declining pitching performance looks like a control problem as his HR rate also spikes during high leverage situations with a t-score of 1.55. While it is not statistically significant at the level .025 it should not be discounted completely. He is either missing the zone completely or missing his spots and giving up more homeruns. This is in stark contrast to his 2018 campaign. In 41 TBF in high leverage situations, he only gave up three walks and one homerun. A pitcher’s ability to manage high leverage situations are key for limiting runs. Snell did not manage high leverage situations well in 2019 and almost 20% of the runs he allowed were during these situations.
(Figure 2, FanGraphs)
From looking at just the advanced stats, many would believe Snell’s deteriorated ERA was from misfortune. Bad luck is undeniably true, however, there were additional factors at play that cannot be discounted. Snell’s 2.40 difference in ERA can be explained from his poor performance in high leverage situations, slightly worse performance overall (shown by his advanced stats), and a swing in luck. His poor performance in high leverage situations exemplifies one variable in a larger equation which should not be overlooked.
By: Landon Jaeger
With the recent dismissal of New York Knicks’ coach David Fizdale, there has been outrage among many NBA coaches and fans alike, calling for more blame on the front office of the Knicks rather than Fizdale. Respected coaches Steve Kerr and Gregg Popovich came to Fizdale’s defense stating, “If I had gone to New York that would have been me like three years ago” and, “He’s a fine, talented young coach… it’s ridiculous to think you’re gonna bring in a young guy and after being there a minute-and-a-half, you expect him to fix everything” respectively. Fizdale’s firing was called for after a 4-18 start, even worse than a 7-15 start through 22 games in the 2018-19 season. Despite spending upwards of 70 million and the acquisition of 3rd overall pick RJ Barrett during the 2019 offseason, the Knicks have seemed to get even worse, as their record indicates, and have lost their last two games by a combined 81 points (on the date of Fizdale’s dismissal). The Knicks’ organization has appointed Mike Miller as the interim coach (no, not that Mike Miller, yes the 2017-18 G League Coach of the Year Mike Miller), and seem to have no current direction. Amongst all the noise from the NBA community, I’m here to tell you why firing Fizdale, while not fixing the New York Knicks’ dysfunctional organization, was the right decision. Continue reading →
By: Tim Sever
The Los Angeles Dodgers put together another astounding season in 2019, capturing their seventh straight National League West division title, while ultimately falling short in the playoffs. With a combination of young potential and veteran leadership, Los Angeles is one of the best-positioned teams in the Major Leagues to contend for titles in the future. No player better exemplifies this promising present and future than star outfielder Cody Bellinger. He has been nothing short of stellar thus far into his career, and if this year is any indication, he will be a premier player in this league for a long time. Continue reading →
By: Romeo Wada
Since being traded to the Milwaukee Brewers, Christian Yelich has emerged from being a consistent hitter to being one of baseball’s top stars. Coming off a historical career year in 2018, Yelich picked up right where he left off, putting together another remarkable season. Despite a September 10th injury sidelining him for the end of the season, Yelich has still put together a strong case for another MVP award.
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By: Kathleen Boyce
For the majority of the season, the NL MVP race has been between Christian Yelich and Cody Bellinger. On July 8th, MLB released a commercial called “Belli vs. Yeli: A game of M-V-P (Cody Bellinger vs. Christian Yelich!)” with the two players playing a game of PIG, but with letters M,V, and P. However, while the MLB made the NL MVP race out to be a two-horse race, another player put together an MVP caliber season and catapulted himself into the discussion.
Anthony Rendon used to fly under the radar when it came to the recognition of his talent, but his impressive statistics and World Series win has changed this and he is now regarded as one of the best hitters in baseball. He helped pull the Nationals out of a huge regular-season hole and through the playoffs with a dominant season at the plate and in the field, and he deserves to take home the NL MVP award. Continue reading →
By: Christian Rogers
Last year at this time, Wahoo basketball fans were nervously excited for the season, desperately hoping that this would finally be the year. The team was coming off the most devastating loss in program (and possibly NCAA) history, and many feared that another core group of studs would leave school empty-handed. This year, it’s a little different. In April, the Hoos became the first first-time champion since Florida in 2006, and they did so in a historic manner. Everyone knows how close the final three games of the tournament were, but just how crazy was the run to the championship? Per Kenpom’s minimum win probability data (i.e., the lowest chance of winning the team had at any point in the game) the Hoos had the most improbable tourney ending of the past ten years in terms of how the games played out:
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