Monthly Archives: June 2011

Metacritic Career-O-Matic

Slate magazine recently published an article on how director and actors movies rated on Rotten Tomatoes, highlighting the decline and fall of M. Night Shyamalan. They introduced a nifty Career-O-Matic interactive graph so that any Hollywood participant of recent years can be tracked
Some of the comments referred to the superiority of the Metacritic site so I have obtained much of their information to produce a similar tool
Currently it just covers directors but shows lines for both critics(blue) and user(yellow) responses to each movie. The initial graph is for Woody Allen and shows a similar, if less dramatic, tendency for a decline in rating over the years. Select or enter your director of choice and roll over graph for title.
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Zero values indicate insufficient user votes

MLB MVP – Mays gets the Nays

There is always a fair bit of discussion around choice of MVP’s and in recent years metrics have been developed which enable us to more objctively assess the decisions made by the writers
The easiest to use is probably Wins over Replacement (WAR) and several bloggers have already utilized to discuss aspects of the decision. Now it is my turn. With the odd interruption, the awards have been granted for each league for the best part of a century with 182 winners in all
Lets first take a look at the distribution of deserving (according to this criteria) and actual winners

We can straightaway see that the distributions differ. There appears to be a desire to spread the honour around. Only one player, Barry Bonds (7), has received more than 3 awards whilst several others could have expected more largesse. It should be noted that awards were not issued in many of Babe Ruth and earlier legends best years
Lets have a look at the multiple deservees in more detail

As can be seen, Willie Mays really did get the short end of the stick. Here are his performances in the years he obtained MVP votes

Mays completely dominated the NL from 1954 to 1965 with the best WAR in every year except 1956 when he should have been 3rd but only finished 17th. and 1959 (4th/6th)

But some years he can really feel aggrieved

1955 – (WAR margin over winner 3.8) Mays had won the year before and his performance took a small step backwards so that his WAR was only 0.4 greater than Duke Snider – of the fabled ‘Boys of Summe’r Brooklyn Dodgers who finally won the WS over the Yankees. The only problem was that it was Dodger’s catcher, Roy Campanella, that controversially won in spite of having lesser stats across the board than Snider. It was the third and final MVP for Campanella.
As an aside, Snider was unlucky again the following year when in a down year his WAR of 7.7 was the best in the division. He only managed 10th spot and amazingly was regarded by the voters as only the 5th best player on his team. Snider got into the HOF on the 11th attempt and died earlier this year Th sporting news made him 83rd best player of all time in their 1998 evaluation. Campanella was 50th and Mays second only to Ruth

1960 – (4.0) Once again he trailed two players from the World series winners and – more pertinently for HOF voting – the runaway winners in the NL. In this instance the beneficiaries were Dick Groat and Dan Hoak of the Pittsburgh Pirates. Groat was a pretty comprehensive winner with 16 of the 22 votes first-place votes. He led the league in batting average, would probably have reached 200 hits barring a late season injury and was also a slick shortstop although he walked less than 7% of the time and only hit 2 home runs. Frank Robinson was the other forgotten man this year. His WAR also exceeded Groat`s but he picked up a measly 2 votes compared to the winner’s 276. Groat actually had a superior individual season in 1963 when he was the best player on his new club, the St Louis Cardinals but he lost out to Sandy Koufax`s lone win. Needless to say, Mays outperformed them both in terms of WAR that year too

1962 – (4.5) This time Mays came close losing out by just 7 votes to a single season record as Maury Wills became the first player in the 20th century to steal 100 bases; he was only caught 13 times. His speed also enabled him to 13 triples against just 10 doubles but lack of power and a weak lineup meant he only managed 48 RBI’s. Mays topped that in Home Runs alone and may have won the award if he had reached the 50 mark. Wills may have deserved the Most Exciting Player though

1964 -(4.6) The final occurrence continues the pattern of losing out to players on team`s that won the regular season race, once again the Cardinals. This time Ken Boyer and Bill White made the top 3 as Mays managed only 6th place in spite of a WAR of 10.2 (only Mike Schmidt with 10.5 in 1974 was as low in voting for a postion player with such large value). Boyer led the league in RBI when more emphasis was placed on this factor
In six more seasons in the league, Boyer did not garner another MVP vote whilst 1965 finally saw Mays gain his second, and final, award

Mays appears to have suffered from both playing on relatively unsuccessful teams and at a time when less valuable metrics had a greater weight. However, it has not harmed his place in the discussion as the greatest player ever

more on the MLB draft

Here is some info showing the picks of the AL East teams over the past five seasons. The data covers the first 500 picks of the draft so will usually show the top 15-20 for each team each year. The picks are split into High school and College selections by pitcher/position player

The data suggests quite different approaches by the managements

Baltimore have tended to shy away from High Schoolers and in 2007 their earliest was the 489th pick in the draft. However, of their five top-five picks over the past (yes) 5 years thay have selected three High schoolers including Dylan Bundy this year

Boston appear to have a slight preference for college pitchers and high school everyday players

The Yankees have a pretty even spread between all four categories but cannot treat the draft as a priority as their earliest pick has been 28th over this time period

In contrast, Tampa have had a stack of early picks and are showing a trend towards high school hitters. Over the past five seasons they
have made 19 selections in the top 180 available each year topped by the seven they took this time around

Toronto have shown the greatest switch in strategy in line with the elevation of Alex Anthopoulos to be GM. He has presided over the past two drafts in which the Blue Jays have majored in HS pitching., a complete turnaround from the college route previously pursued. Interstingly, their 2007 college ranks have performed quite well. Brett Cecil (pick 38) was a 15 game winner for the club last year,
Marc Rzepczynski(175) is a fixture in the bullpen, Brad Mills(145) has had some MLB experience and appears on the cusp of returning to the majors. Trystan Magnuson(56) has appeared for Oakland this season and the other high pick Alan Farina(115) is still in the system – and could still make the club as part of a bullpen which may be radically different next year

MLB 2011 draft – by position

Couple of graphs from the recent draft showing how teams made selections

Firstly the overall breakdown by club, shown as a proportion by player type

Drafting by Position by club

Toronto, well stocked with catchers in their system already did not choose one in the first 1000 selections made

And then just the top 200 selections, where the bulk of productive MLB players will come

Toronto went strong early on high school pitchers. An analysis a couple of years ago showed that college position players were the best take on average but in the AL East, average is not an option