The Sports Report

A Statistical Take on Sports and Politics

Cleveland Indians Future: Hitters

The Cleveland Indians are currently aiming towards competing in the 2009 season. As an organization, they have many of their most important pieces already in line for Opening Day next year, but there are still many more options necessary in the long-term. With their current position players, the Indians may have very well have a chance of winning the Central Division next year, and competing in the American League. Unfortunately, their current alternatives do not look very good, as illustrated by a weak team in Buffalo filled with old stopgaps. All of the following statistics are as of the games on Sunday, July 20, so please bear with me. The following is a breakdown of all of the positions on the Major League team, and the line of succession for the future:

Catcher – Victor Martinez is set to begin baseball-related activities as early as by the end of this week, and could be on his way to a rehab assignment in Akron by the end of this month. For the time being, however, Kelly Shoppach is filling an absolute need by playing an average all-around game as the Major League catcher. Shoppach’s ceiling appears to be fading fast, and the options in both Triple-A, and Double-A are having difficulties in making the extra leap in their progression. Wyatt Toregas started the year as the catcher in Buffalo, but his line of .219/.292/.310 brought him back down to Akron in late June. Chris Gimenez had a stellar .479 on-base percentage in his time in Akron before getting the call up to replace Toregas. Gimenez has done very little to show that he is higher than Toregas on the organizational depth chart, while Toregas has hit 9 home runs in 81 at bats back in Double-A.

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July 24, 2008 Posted by | Cleveland Indians Future | , , | 2 Comments

The Boots (July 23, 2008)

Boot Up: 2008 Beijing Olympics – The Beijing Summer Olympics start up on August 8th, and the sports media in the United States will be focused on the USA basketball team, looking to win the gold after a disappointing bronze finish in 2004. This year’s USA team is much more organized, experienced, and talented than the team that played in Greece in 2004, and is the clear-cut favorites as of right now. Four teams from each group will advance from the first round to the knockout quarterfinals. Here are the teams, with my picks to make the quarterfinals underlined.

Group A

A1 Argentina – One of the deepest teams in the tournament, led by NBA players Manu Ginobili (San Antonio), Luis Scola (Houston), Fabricio Oberto (San Antonio), Andres Nocioni (Chicago), and former NBA player Carlos Delfino.

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July 23, 2008 Posted by | The Boots | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Boots (July 16, 2008)

Boot Up: Oklahoma Outlaws – The Seattle Supersonics are officially moving to Oklahoma City. The newest team in the NBA has a very complicated history, as special clauses in the arrangement between Seattle, and Oklahoma City allow this new team to share the history of the old Sonics. Either way you slice it there is no doubt in my mind that the team name should be the Oklahoma Outlaws. Including the term “City” is very old-fashioned, and if you look at all of the major sports, only Kansas City does such a thing. The team nickname Outlaws is catchy, somewhat modern, original, and is more related to the history of the state than many current team nicknames such as the Utah Jazz, and LA Lakers. The entire process was extremely complicated in moving the Sonics away from their home, and I do not expect this team to compete for a very long time, but it definitely should be interesting to see when the new logos comes out.

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July 16, 2008 Posted by | The Boots | , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Electoral College Breakdown

Using tools from www.electoralvote.com, and www.fivethirtyeight.com, I have expanded upon my research that I used to breakdown the electoral map a month, and a half ago. With Barack Obama vs. John McCain as the match-up for the election set for just about 16 weeks from now, the state-by-state polls are starting to become a bit clearer. Most websites (Five Thirty Eight, and www.realclearpolitics.com) currently show that Obama has about a 65% to 70% chance of winning the election, as of right now. While that number could drastically change over the next few months most notably because of the impending selection of vice presidents from both campaigns, that number is a rough estimate based upon the current state-by-state totals.

In this article, I want to breakdown the states that will decide the election this coming November. To find the states that will be most crucial to this election, I compared the election results from the 2000, 2004, and then looked at the most recent four-day average from the polling estimates on Five Thirty Eight. All states that have consistently voted for one particular party, and look to vote for that same party by a margin of at least 7% in 2008, are placed into the easy point column. In terms of easy electoral votes, Obama leads McCain by a total of 183 to 154, with 201 toss-up electoral votes remaining.

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July 14, 2008 Posted by | Politics | , , | 1 Comment

2008 NBA Draft Recap and Early Projections: Part Four

Western Conference – Southwest Division

New Orleans (56-26, #2 in conference and lost in seven games in the Conference Semifinals)
Cash considerations from Portland

Traded away the #27 selection in the draft, Darrell Arthur out of Kansas, to Portland for cash considerations.

Star contributors on the team in 2008-2009 are projected to be PG Chris Paul, SG Morris Peterson, SF Peja Stojakovic, PF David West, C Tyson Chandler, PG Mike James, SF Julian Wright, and SF Rasual Butler. Key unrestricted free agents include F/C Chris Anderson, PF Ryan Bowen, PG Jannero Pargo, and SF Bonzi Wells.

Report Card: Chris Paul is a great point guard, and they have one of the best starting lineups in the NBA with Peja, West, and Chandler. The only thing that worries me is that 2007-2008 seems like the ceiling for this group of guys, and Peja is not getting any younger. If they are to ever win an NBA championship, they will need Jannero Pargo to re-sign, and hope for continued improvement from Julian Wright. Their bunch is very weak, and an injury could push them back a slot or two in the conference in no time at all. For now, the median range for them is probably the #4 seed. Projection: #2 in Southwest Division, #4 in West, between 52-56 wins.

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July 10, 2008 Posted by | NBA Draft | , , | 5 Comments

Cleveland Indians Future: Pitchers

Now that the Cleveland Indians have traded C.C. Sabathia to the Milwaukee Brewers, they have made a sign that they are planning for 2009. After 96 wins and a trip to the American League Championship Series in 2007, numerous injuries, and disappointments have brought the Indians to 13 games back of first place in the Central even before the All-Star Break.

In the trade the Indians made with the Brewers on Monday, Cleveland did not receive any pitchers in return. This leads me to think of what the organizational chart looks like in the pitching department. After a talk with Joe Jastrzemski of WAKR, here is what looks to be the future of the Indians pitching staff:

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July 9, 2008 Posted by | Cleveland Indians Future | , | Leave a comment

2008 NBA Draft Recap and Early Projections: Part Three

Western Conference – Northwest Division

Utah (54-28, #4 in conference and lost in six games in the Conference Semifinals)
The #23 selection in the draft (Kosta Koufos out of Ohio State)
The #44 selection in the draft (Ante Tomic out of Croatia)
The #53 selection in the draft (Tadija Dragicevic out of Serbia)

Star contributors on the team in 2008-2009 are projected to be PG Deron Williams, SG Ronnie Brewer, SF Andrei Kirilenko, PF Carlos Boozer, C Mehmut Okur, SF Kyle Korver and PF Paul Millsap. SG C.J. Miles is a restricted free agent.

Report Card: Utah is stockpiling on their European big men, as the addition of Koufos (Greek, 7-1), Tomic (7-2), and Dragicevic (6-9) to their already strong core of Kirilenko (6-9), and Okur (6-11) gives them the most international frontcourt in the NBA. Not like that really matters, unless the front office was just hoping, and praying one would turn out to be as successful as Cavaliers center Zydrunas Ilgauskas (chances are unlikely.) Utah had a great year last year as the trade for Korver helped them make an end of season surge to become the #4 seed. Brewer, and Millsap continue to get better, and the duo of Williams, and Boozer is up there for one of the best in the NBA. Projection: #1 in Northwest Division, #3 in West, between 53-57 wins.

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July 8, 2008 Posted by | NBA Draft | , , , | Leave a comment

The Boots: 2008 MLB All-Star Edition

Boot Up: Consistent MLB Performers – Last year in my e-mail, I introduced the idea of runs created within Major League Baseball statistics. The theory behind this statistic is that the thing that most correlates to personal success in the major leagues is not batting average, on-base percentage, home runs or anything simple like that. A run created is an elaborate statistic that incorporates all of the different parts of an offensive game (such as stolen bases, sacrifices, double plays, strikeouts, walks, etc.) and can be measured per 27 outs, or per 100 plate appearances.

I recently created something I refer to as Runs Created per 100 Plate Appearances Over Average Level, which shows how many “runs created” a particularly player has been above average given his plate appearances on the season. For example, in 2008, the Major League average has 12.401 runs created per 100 plate appearances. If a batter has created 30 runs in 200 plate appearances, then on the year he has been 5.198 runs created per 100 plate appearances over average level (30 – 24.802). Using that idea, I located which players have been the most consistently above average in the major leagues over the last year and a half (the limit of my database).

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July 5, 2008 Posted by | The Boots | , , , | 1 Comment

2008 NBA Draft Recap and Early Projections: Part Two

Eastern Conference – Southeast Division

Orlando (52-30, #3 seed and lost in five games in the Conference Semifinals)

The #22 selection in the draft (Courtney Lee out of Western Kentucky)

Key contributors for the team in 2008-2009 are projected to be PG Jameer Nelson, SF Hedo Turkoglu, PF Rashard Lewis, and C Dwight Howard. Key unrestricted free agents include PG Carlos Arroyo, SG Keith Bogans, PG Keyon Dooling, SG Maurice Evans, C Adonal Foyle, and PF Pat Garrity while C James Augustine is a restricted free agent and C Marcin Gortat has limited salary protection.

Report Card: Issue number one for the Orlando Magic this off-season is shoring up their backcourt. Once they do that, and hopefully resign players such as Keith Bogans, Keyon Dooling and Maurice Evans, the Magic will be just as good as they were this past season. That consistent approach, along with a freak of nature known as Dwight Howard at center, should help then win the division yet again.
Projection: #1 in Southeast Division, #3 in East, between 45-49 wins.

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July 2, 2008 Posted by | NBA Draft | , , | 2 Comments