The Sports Report

A Statistical Take on Sports and Politics

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Indians Hitters on the 25-Man Roster (and more): The Indians have added a pair of solid Major League talents this off-season, which will only lead to more chaos as the front office looks to trim down the final roster to 25-men for the start of the season in April. Here is a breakdown of the most capable hitters within the entire system that will start the year, or will contend to start the year playing for the Tribe:

Catcher Victor Martinez (turned 30 in December)
Catcher Kelly Shoppach (turns 29 in April)
Designated Hitter Travis Hafner (turns 32 in June)
First Baseman Ryan Garko (turned 28 earlier this month)
Second Baseman Asdrubal Cabrera (turned 23 in November)
Shortstop Jhonny Peralta (turns 27 in May)
Third Baseman Mark DeRosa (turns 34 in February)
Utility Infielder Jamey Carroll (turns 35 in February)
Left Fielder Ben Francisco (turned 27 in October)
Left Fielder David Dellucci (turned 35 in October)
Center Fielder Grady Sizemore (turns 27 this coming August)
Right Fielder Shin Soo-Choo (turns 27 this coming July)

Do not expect these hitters below to have a spot on the team this April, but these are the top prospects and performers in the rest of the organization:

Catcher Chris Gimenez (turned 26 in December) – will start year in Columbus
Catcher Wyatt Toregas (turned 26 in December) – will start year in Columbus
Catcher Carlos Santana
(turns 23 in April) – will start year in Akron
First Baseman Michael Aubrey (turns 27 in April) – will start year in Columbus
First Baseman Jordan Brown (turned 25 in December) – will start year in Columbus
First Baseman Stephen Head (turned 25 earlier this month) – will start year in Akron
First Baseman Beau Mills (turns 23 this coming August) – will start year in Akron
Second Baseman Josh Barfield (turned 26 in December) – will start year in Columbus
Second Baseman Luis Valbuena
(turned 23 in November) – will start year in Columbus
Shortstop Carlos Rivero (turns 21 in May) – will start year in Akron
Shortstop Lonnie Chisenhall
(turned 20 in October) – will start year in Kinston
Third Baseman Andy Marte (turned 25 in October) – will start year in Columbus (out of options)
Third Baseman Wes Hodges (turned 24 this past September) – will start year in Columbus
Left Fielder Trevor Crowe (turned 25 in November) – will start year in Columbus
Left Fielder Matt LaPorta (turned 24 earlier this month) – will start year in Columbus
Left Fielder Nick Weglarz (turned 21 in December) – will start year in Akron
Center Fielder Michael Brantley
(turns 22 in May) – will start year in Akron

Indians Pitchers on the 25-Man Roster (and more): The Indians have added two more Major League pitchers this off-season, which will only lead to more chaos as the front office looks to trim down the final roster to 25-men for the start of the season in April. Here is a breakdown of the most capable pitchers within the entire system that will start the year, or will contend to start the year playing for the Tribe:

Starting Pitchers

LHP Cliff Lee (turns 31 this coming August)
RHP Fausto Carmona (turned 25 in December)
RHP Anthony Reyes (turned 27 in October)
LHP Aaron Laffey (turns 24 in April)
RHP Carl Pavano (turned 33 earlier this month) – (if he makes it through spring)
RHP Jake Westbrook (turned 31 this past September) – (should return from the DL by July)

Relief Pitchers

RHP Kerry Wood (turns 32 in June)
RHP Jensen Lewis (turns 25 in May)
LHP Rafael Perez (turns 27 in May)
RHP Rafael Betancourt (turns 34 in April)
RHP Masa Kobayashi (turns 35 in May)
RHP Joe Smith (turns 25 in March)
LHP Zach Jackson (turns 26 in May) – (sixth starter, long-starter, out of options)

Do not expect these pitchers below to have a spot on the team this April, but these are the top prospects and performers in the rest of the organization:

Starting Pitchers

LHP Jeremy Sowers (turns 26 in May) – will start year in Columbus
LHP Scott Lewis (turned 25 this past September) – will start year in Columbus
LHP David Huff (turns 25 this coming August) – will start year in Columbus
RHP Adam Miller
(turned 24 in November) – will start year in Columbus
RHP Tomo Ohka
(turns 33 in March) – will start year in Columbus (if he makes it through spring)
RHP Steven Wright (turned 25 this past September) – will start year in Akron
LHP Kelvin De La Cruz (turned 20 earlier this month) – will start year in Kinston
RHP Jeanmar Gomez (turned 20 in October) – will start year in Kinston
RHP Hector Rondon (turns 20 in February) – will start year in Kinston

Relief Pitchers

RHP John Meloan (turns 25 in July) – will start year in Columbus
RHP Edward Mujica (turns 25 in May) – will start year in Columbus (out of options)
LHP Rich Rundles
(turns 28 in June) – will start year in Columbus
RHP Greg Aquino (turned 31 earlier this month) – will start year in Columbus (if he makes it)
RHP Kirk Saarloos (turns 30 in May) – will start year in Columbus (if he makes it)
RHP Randy Newsom
(turns 27 in May) – will start year in Columbus
LHP Tony Sipp (turns 26 in July) – will start year in Akron
LHP Ryan Edell (turns 26 in July) – will start year in Akron

NCAA Basketball Part 1: The next two parts of my e-mail will be a series of comments that I wrote on the BRACKETville blog. On this site, Dave the Bracketguy breaks down his current projections for the NCAA Tournament every single week, and thus I seemed it appropriate to crank out some of my research:

My original comment:

You currently have only three mid-major at-large teams projected for the NCAA Tournament. In my historical research, I discovered that the annual average in the 24 years of the 64-team tournament is 9.83 while there has never been fewer than five mid-major at-large selections (that happened in 2001). In the last eight years, the average is only 8.15 down slightly because of the sixes put up in the last two seasons.

Gonzaga, Saint Mary’s (CA), South Alabama, BYU, Saint Joseph’s and Xavier were the at-large teams last season. Do you think that the mid-major conferences are really that down this year? Are they really the worst they have been in 25 years of the NCAA Tournament? (From January 13 @ 10:09 P.M)

Dave’s response:

The problem for mid-majors this season is they haven’t had the type of success out of conference we’ve seen recently. When teams like Siena, Creighton and Tulsa had opportunities to beat majors, they came up short. Others like Illinois State played such weak non-conference schedules they’ve left no margin for error. Historically, Gonzaga and Xavier have been considered high mid-majors (so perhaps that’s skewed the results). I would expect mid-majors to land more than three at-large bids. How? If you look at last year, Gonzaga and XU lost as No. 1 seeds in their conference tournaments. Further, a team like San Diego earned a bid when it otherwise would not have – adding Gonzaga and St. Mary’s in as at-large teams. You could see something similar in the Mountain West if BYU, UNLV (or even San Diego State) doesn’t win the league tourney. That will increase the mid-major at-large field. I don’t know if mid-majors are the worst in 25 years, but I know they have not done what it takes to grab spots away from weaker Big 6 conferences such as the Pac-10 and SEC. Thanks for your interest – Dave the Bracketguy. (From January 14 @ 8:35 P.M)

NCAA Basketball Part 2: This second part is a comment I left earlier today on the Web site, as I presented what I think is a legitimate question to Dave about the mindset of the selection committee. This again utilized some of the information I have stored on spreadsheets about the 24-year history of the 64-team based NCAA Tournament in major college basketball. If you think you can answer this puzzling question, please e-mail me back, as I think it should be something talked about in the college basketball community:

Do you think the NCAA Selection Committee places a higher team at the #9 or #10 seed? I know this seems like a stupid question, but historically speaking, the 10 seed has a better chance of advancing in the tournament. The creation of a 64-team tournament meant the committee is supposed to rank teams according to RPI, etc, but it would seem like certain teams would rather be a ten over a nine. Here is a look at all-time success of these two seeds:

#9 Seed: 44 first round exits, 49 second-round exits, 2 sweet-sixteen exits, 1 elite-eight exit = 96 teams in 24 years (the 1994 Boston College team remains the only 9 seed to make the Elite Eight, while both UAB in 2004 and UTEP in 1992 made the Sweet Sixteen)

#10 Seed: 60 first round exits, 18 second-round exits, 11 sweet-sixteen exits, 7 elite-eight exits = 96 teams in 24 years (the 2008 Davidson Wildcats, 2002 Kent State Golden Flashes and 1999 Gonzaga Bulldogs are the three most recent 10 seeds to make the Elite Eight)

While #9 seeds win in the first round 54% of the time compared to only 38% of the time for #10’s, the probability of a #10 advancing past that first round is exponentially higher. All-time, the #9 seed wins their second round match-up against the #1 seed 6% of the time (3 wins in 52 games) while #10 seeds have a practically toss-up chance of getting past that second round (50% = 18 wins in 36 games). Just a random question I had, what do you think of the matter?

Reggie Miller from WFNY: Now switching over to NBA matters, here is a comment that I left of the Waiting for Next Year blog earlier today, in response to their post about the possible return of Reggie Miller. I think that it would be ridiculous of Miller to attempt a comeback and here is my explanation why: In Miller’s final season in the NBA in 2004-2005 as a 39-year-old (the guy actually turned 43 in August, good research WFNY), he appeared in 66 games for the Pacers. Here are his per-game and per-48-minute breakdowns:

14.8 points, 2.2 assists, 2.4 rebounds and 1.5 threes in 31.9 minutes of playing time
22.21 points, 3.33 assists and 5.56 rebounds per 48 minutes played

Those numbers are quite similar to a player like Francisco Garcia or Willie Green in the NBA last season, or Eddie House or Flip Murray this season. So what this situation is coming down to is whether the Cavaliers are interested in paying serious money for a 43-year-old who is playing similar basketball as Eddie House or Flip Murray four years from now?

Putting Chris Wright into proper context: It has been a while since I wrote anything about the Dayton Flyers on my blog, and thus I am taking the time out now to write about an issue bothering many of the Flyers faithful this season: what is up with sophomore Chris Wright? Last year, the freshman sensation out of nearby Trotwood-Madison High School was a huge part of the Dayton Flyers roster that started 14-1 and ascended to the #14 spot in the national rankings. He fractured his right ankle in mid-January last season, only to return to action in the final two games of the season in the NIT against Illinois State and Ohio State. On the year, in 15 games played (ten starts), he averaged 10.4 points and 5.7 rebounds while shooting 60.2% from the field in 20.6 minutes. Expectations were incredibly high for him this year, even despite the loss of one of the all-time great Flyers Brian Roberts last season. Thus far, however, it is hard to tell whether he has met these sky-high predictions.

Here is a breakdown of his per-40 minute production for the Dayton Flyers basketball team in each of the past two seasons:

2007-2008 Season: 20.19 points, 11.00 rebounds, 12.69 field goal attempts, 34.79 Jacob Rating, 14.76 FIC40, 14.60 non-point rating, 10.34 usage rating per 40 minutes, 1.214 points per field goal attempt, 0.17 assists per turnover, 80.4% on free throws and 20.60 minutes per game

2008-2009 Season: 19.69 points, 10.74 rebounds, 14.24 field goal attempts, 33.52 Jacob Rating, 14.69 FIC40, 13.83 non-point rating, 10.84 usage rating per 40 minutes, 1.005 points per field goal attempt, 0.54 assists per turnover, 69.0% on free throws and 25.70 minutes per game

Now that he has played 35 games in his collegiate career, it pretty much seems like “what you see is what you get” when it comes to Chris Wright. While it seemed like he had so much more room to develop last season, his game has slightly regressed on a per-minute basis this season. It is amazing to think that nobody noticed last year how his 1.214 points per field goal attempt and 60.2% shooting from the field did not seem fluky a la Mikki Moore, now a member of the Sacramento Kings. This season, one can scientifically note that as Wright’s shooting has settled down to a more reasonable percentage, he has also offered slightly less rebounding, been more involved in the overall flow of the offense, done worse on free throws and about the only improvement above can be seen in his better assist to turnover ratio. His ratio was atrocious last season (five assists to 30 turnovers) so he pretty much had nowhere to go but up in this category.

It is an interesting fact to note that Chris Wright has only scored more than 20+ points twice in his career: the first one coming in his freshman debut against Eastern Tennessee State (22 points and 13 rebounds in 28 minutes) and the second one coming just two games later against Toledo (26 points and 12 rebounds in 25 minutes). As a note of comparison, only 16 NBA players last season registered 900+ minutes of playing time and posted a Jacob Rating per 40 minutes greater than 40. In Wright’s 35 career games, only ten times ever has he played at this elite level, and he had gone eleven straight without a great game until Dayton’s most recent outing against St. Bonaventure (19 points and 9 rebounds in 27 minutes).

Comparing Chris Wright’s career numbers to current players in the NBA, names such as Golden State’s Brandan Wright, Philadelphia’s Marreese Speights and Toronto’s Kris Humphries are at the top of the list. These three are all young forwards who have a lot of potential, but it is not a good sign that Chris Wright’s performance at the college level matches theirs at the NBA level. With all this evidence in hand, I believe that it is safe to say now that Chris Wright is not the savior of men’s basketball at the University of Dayton. He will never be a go-to player capable of putting up 20+ points on any given night, and he will never be good enough single-handedly to make the Dayton Flyers the best team in the Atlantic-10 over the archrival Xavier Musketeers.

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January 27, 2009 - Posted by | The Boots | , , , , , , ,

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