April 24, 2014

While We’re Waiting… OSU v. PSU, Kyrie’s Missing Ingredient, and The Death of Moneyball

While We’re Waiting serves as the early morning gathering of WFNY-esque information for your viewing pleasure. Have something you think we should see? Send it to our tips email at tips@waitingfornextyear.com.

Leading off, they may not be playing for anything but the Leaders trophy, but Ohio State and Penn State play a big role in determining if Wisconsin goes to the Big Ten Championship game as a legit Leaders champ or as a de facto representative. Eleven Warriors discusses the remaining schedules of these three teams, “Tonight will bring the first stage of Leaders Bloodsport as the Buckeyes, Penn State and Wisconsin—the three teams with any chance to win the division—will all play each other in the next month.Should Ohio State win, they’ll take a one-game lead over Penn State in the standings and they will take a similar lead, or push it to two games, over the Badgers depending on how Wisconsin fares against Michigan State later today (3:30pm – ABC/ESPN2). Vegas likes Wisconsin at home by 5½, but if recent games in that series have taught us anything, it’s to expect madness.” [Eleven Warriors]

Also, the situations at Ohio State and Penn State have had significant economic consequences for those who base their livelihood off football Saturdays. Kyle at Eleven Warriors has the details, ““Our sales were down about 35 to 40 percent,” Kelly Dawes, owner of College Traditions, a popular seller of Ohio State merchandise on Lane Avenue, said. “It happened pretty much as soon as Tressel was let go and it followed us through the whole season.” The timing of Ohio State’s football issues created a perfect storm. It happened months before the season, so anticipation for the upcoming season never got off the ground. Merchants’ sales lagged, coinciding with the summer months, ticket brokers noticed an extreme drop in buyers and a 6-6 record, plus a loss to Michigan, didn’t elicit excitement for the Gator Bowl, causing a dip in travel. Ohio Stadium was still filled to capacity for seven football Saturdays in 2011 – as is the case in 2012 – a problem Penn State has not been able to avoid. Five of the 10 smallest crowds at Beaver Stadium, dating to 2001 when the venue had its last expansion project to stretch the capacity to 106,572, have taken place in the past two seasons, including the lowest four. All five have been under 100,000.”” [Eleven Warriors]

SI’s Rob Mahoney dissects what element of several stars’ games can propel them to the next level, including Cavalier point guard Kyrie Irving, “He’s not terribly quick — simply quick enough. That tends to create problems for Irving on the defensive end, where he’s starting to become a bit of a liability. Everything is an issue at this point; effort (Irving tends to lull around screens), instincts (a misstep on the perimeter throws Irving out of position rather quickly) and a lack of a dependable system (three cheers for rebuilding) are all tied to Irving’s defensive struggles, and they sandbag his overall value as a player as a result. Much of that can be rectified with both individual and team growth, but for now, Irving can do his part by at least working throughout entire defensive possessions.” [Mahoney/SI.com]

Is Moneyball dead? CBS’s Dustin Knobler thinks so, “The divide within the game never was as great as it was portrayed. The A’s and other “Moneyball teams” rely on scouting (without it, the A’s never sign Yoenis Cespedes). The Tigers and Giants and other “old-school” teams hire smart young guys who can analyze the numbers coming out of their computers. But if it’s not black and white, there are quite a few variations of gray, with the Tigers and Giants at one end of the scale and Moneyball as a concept at the other. “It doesn’t bother me what other people do,” Tigers general manager Dave Dombrowski said. “We just don’t agree with it.” While the Tigers front office uses statistics as part of the evaluation process, “it’s not going to make the decision for us,” Dombrowski said. “For some teams, it does.”” [Knobler/CBS]

Finally, as much as some would like for it to be true, this Justin Verlander shirt is a fake. [Big League Stew]

 

  • Jay

    The OSU/PSU game should be exciting. I just wonder what the over/under will be on announcers talking about school scandals.
    Love the Verlander photoshop by the way.

  • Steve

    The “moneyball is dead” thing is just laughable at this point. A system that thought pitcher wins and individual RBI were the most important stats with a bullet has been upheaved within 10 years. Yes, you still need good scouting, but no sabermetric-inclined person has ever even suggested otherwise. Looking at these newer stats was a way to bring more information to the table, which never hurts.

    Also, where sabermetrics beats scouting is identifying those role players that can add that little bit of extra value to the back of your roster – guys who can draw a walk to extend a few innings, or don’t get thrown out on the bases, or how to build a bullpen instead of just throwing a proven closer™ out there. You know, guys a top-heavy roster like the Tigers could use to turn an 88 win that sneaked into the playoffs into a 95-100 win juggernaut. So, just because you have a good team, Dombrowski, doesn’t mean the stats can’t help you.