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368

Ranking Comparison: WAR and Cy Young Voting

Posted by Charles Wed, 27 Aug 2014 21:11:56 -0400
Filed Under: players science

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In the last column I introduced a metric to quantify the amount a pair of ranked listed agree. The example worked up two lists of American League (AL) starting pitchers, comparing the top ten AL starters by ERA and WHIP.

The ranking comparison metric doesn't have a lot of power without a lot of data. The lot of data here will be two sets of ranked lists. Going back to 1977, consider AL Cy Young voting and Wins Above Replacemt (WAR) for AL pitchers. The Cy Young award is meant to reward the best pitching performance in each league each season. The award is by vote. Every year the vote recipients are ranked. Pitchers can also be ranked by WAR, a widely agreed upon measure of how much players contribute to team success. In an ideal world, the Cy Young award would go to pitchers who helped their teams the most. This doesn't happen. The metric defined earlier describes how much this doesn't happen.

The metric generates scores ranging from zero to one, one being complete agreement, zero total disagreement. The chart below plots annual agreement of the top five pitchers in AL Cy Young voting since 1977 against the top five AL pitchers by WAR. The AL expanded to fourteen teams in 1977, making the total number of AL pitchers relatively constant during the years in review.

The chart marks year on the horizontal axis, rank agreement score on the vertical axis.



Click image for larger version.


No trend appears here. The bad years, low score years, are those in which relief pitchers got Cy Young attention. It should also be noted that in two of the yeas covered only four pitchers received votes. Guess those years in the comments if you like. The metric still applies though. The only real fudge factor comes up in 1990. Dave Stieb and Dennis Eckersley tied for fifth in Cy Young voting that year. Dave Stieb was a top-five WAR pitcher that year, the Eck wasn't. I calculated the agreement score with Stieb as the fifth place Cy Younger and Eck as the same then averaged the results.



Click image for larger version.


The chart above carries a couple observable trends. Firstly, it trends up. Secondly, it appears somewhat sinusoidal. The second trend I can't explain. The chart is plotted with rolling five year averages of the rank comparison scores. Each vertical axis value represents the average of the year in question, on the horizontal axis, along with the two succeeding and two preceding values. Thus 2011 is the average of 2009-2013 rank comparison values. This chart shows that Cy Young voters are generally improving their recognition of pitcher value.

The equation in the chart defines the trend line. The R-squared value measures the quality of the fit. Roughly, it states that 58 percent of the change in the vertical axis is explained by change in the horizontal axis. This might indicate Cy Young voters are voting according to pitcher contributions more now than 30 years ago, given large enough samples to detect the trend.

The two years with only four AL pitcher recieving Cy Young Award votes were not terribly high scoring years in terms of rank comparison with WAR, which is a little surprising. Obvious Cy Young choices don't match obvious contributions to victory.

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367

New Metric to Compare Rankings

Posted by Charles Mon, 25 Aug 2014 19:26:22 -0400
Filed Under: science

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As a sports fan, I spend a lot of time comparing different rankings of the same population. Recently I've been looking at rankings of American League (AL) pitchers—mainly to see how Felix Hernandez stacks up against the competition.

Consider the pair of rankings earned run average (ERA) and walks plus hits per nine innings pitched (WHIP) for AL starting pitchers. Both rankings are listed below for the top ten pitchers according to each ranking1.


PitcherERAPitcherWHIP
Chris Sale2.03Felix Hernandez0.885
Felix Hernandez2.07Chris Sale0.930
Corey Kluber2.46Hisashi Iwakuma0.978
Jon Lester2.53David Price1.003
Garrett Richards2.61Garrett Richards1.038
Hisashi Iwakuma2.83Corey Kluber1.079
David Price3.00Jon Lester1.103
Sonny Gray3.00Scott Kazmir1.114
Yu Darvish3.06Rick Porcello1.119
Scott Kazmir3.08Max Scherzer1.144




The rankings overlap greatly in terms of who occupies them but it's hard to say how much the rankings agree otherwise. I want to know in a measurable way how much a pair of ranked lists agree. The following metric does this.

Consider two ranked lists of items from the same set, e.g., AL starting pitchers. Choose ranked lists that have equal lengths, ten pitchers each in the case here. First place is worth ten points, second place is worth nine points, etc., down to tenth place worth one point. Suppose a pitcher appears on both lists. Hernandez is in second place in ERA and first place in WHIP. His lower score is thus nine points. Double this to get 18 points. Do the same for every pitcher that appears on both lists: double their lower score. Sum these doubled scores. The doubled scores for the eight pitchers are listed below.


PitcherScore
Felix Hernandez18
Chris Sale18
Garrett Richards12
Corey Kluber10
Hisashi Iwakuma10
Jon Lester8
David Price8
Scott Kazmir2
Total86




The maximum possible score for two ranked list of ten items is 110. The measure of how much the lists agree is the total score divided by the maximum possible score, yeilding .782 or 78.2 percent agreement. This measure is unscientific but perhaps useful. A post employing it is coming soon, comparing how much Wins Above Replacement (WAR) and Cy Young voting rankings agree.

Future columns will detail how this method can be generalized to more than two ranked lists.

1 These rankings were taken on August 25, 2014.

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Comment by Joseph Tue, 26 Aug 2014 17:37:45 -0400

nice effect. i like how the list items only get credit for their lowest showing, but still outrank items that fail to make both lists.

Comment by Charles Tue, 26 Aug 2014 20:52:17 -0400

Agreements higher in the rankings are rewarded more than agreements at the bottom too. This will be illustrated in a future post.

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Table of Contents

August 25, 2014
367 New Metric to Compare Rankings
Comments: 2
Filed Under: science
August 16, 2014
365 Ichiro and Pujols Revisited
Filed Under: players science
May 6, 2014
358 Data Update
Comments: 2
Filed Under: predictions
April 2, 2014
356 Puzz #1!
Comments: 2
Filed Under: art puzz
February 13, 2014
355 Stopping by Yards on a Snowy Morning
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January 10, 2014
353 Data Acquisition
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December 14, 2013
351 Warren Spahn Awards 2013
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December 10, 2013
350 Mariano Rivera Awards 2013
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December 9, 2013
349 The 70-11 Line
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December 4, 2013
347 2014 HOF Ballot
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Filed Under: art hall of fame
November 19, 2013
346 World Series Probability Continues
Filed Under: math probability science
November 6, 2013
345 2013 Laurels
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November 2, 2013
343 World Series Length
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October 30, 2013
342 World Series Probability
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October 24, 2013
341 More Speed Scores
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October 4, 2013
338 Postseason Auction
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August 20, 2013
329 Sparing SPAR
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August 2, 2013
324 Data Addition
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Filed Under: meta data past performances
June 28, 2013
319 Data Update
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June 3, 2013
316 Data Update
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June 1, 2013
315 Game Predictions Reconsidered
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May 22, 2013
314 Game Prediction Check-in
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April 25, 2013
310 Ray
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April 11, 2013
309 A Room with a View
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April 2, 2013
308 Defense Take One
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March 24, 2013
307 Pop Quiz #10!
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March 2, 2013
306 Larry Bowa is my Bench Coach
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January 22, 2013
304 2012 Miscellany
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January 19, 2013
302 Hall of Fame: Looking in and Looking Out
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January 16, 2013
301 Transaction Upgrade
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December 22, 2012
299 A Modest Proposal
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December 1, 2012
296 Mariano Rivera Awards 2012
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November 30, 2012
295 Warren Spahn Awards 2012
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November 29, 2012
294 2013 HOF Ballot
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November 27, 2012
293 Content Upgrades
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November 24, 2012
292 Player Ratings: 1945 and 1946
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November 22, 2012
291 Trout for Thanksgiving
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290 Dynamic Duos: Hitters
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November 8, 2012
289 Three Degrees of Southpaw
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288 Champions Please Step to the Podium
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October 30, 2012
287 Player Ratings: 1927
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283 O Captain! My Captain!
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October 4, 2012
281 Postseason Auction
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September 8, 2012
279 Pop Quiz #9!
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August 31, 2012
277 2012 Rating Update
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August 15, 2012
273 In-Season 2012 Ratings
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July 25, 2012
268 New Feature
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264 Occupy Boston
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June 26, 2012
263 Our Dominion Expands
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June 13, 2012
261 Unreachable Convergence
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258 Warren Spahn Awards 2011
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May 20, 2012
254 Switch Hitter Update
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April 27, 2012
252 Goodbye to All That
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April 25, 2012
251 Pop Quiz #8!
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April 6, 2012
248 2012 Watch List
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247 Eric the Red
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March 24, 2012
246 SABR Analytics Conference Part I
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March 10, 2012
245 A Long Game's Journey into Night
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243 Happy John Kruk Day!
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February 28, 2012
242 Pop Quiz #7!
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February 19, 2012
241 Philosophical Musing #4
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240 Two True Outcomes
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239 History of a Junkballer
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238 Fantasy Baseball and Southpaw
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236 Who is Jack Hiatt?
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235 Who Needs a Fielder?
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233 Time Machine: October 1976
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232 No Longer Ignoring Barry Bonds
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231 Nolan Ryan: Why Did He Retire?
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December 10, 2011
230 Ichiro and Aging
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December 10, 2011
229 Ken Griffey, Jr. and the Aging Curve
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December 10, 2011
228 Aaron, Mays, and Pujols Year-by-Year
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227 How Old is Albert Pujols?
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December 7, 2011
226 Baseball, Aging, Birth Certificate Forgery
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December 4, 2011
225 Time Machine: October 1992
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November 24, 2011
224 Three Turks and an Under-Rated Counting Stat
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223 Decline by Age
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222 Further Decline Research
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220 The Cold Breath of Mortality
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218 2011 Positional Leaders
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217 Time Machine: October 1970
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216 Thank You, Retrosheet!
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211 World Series Repeat Offenders II
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210 World Series Repeat Offenders
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200 Pop Quiz #6!
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192 More Data!
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186 The Latest Features
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185 Bleeding Blue in KC and LA
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184 What's Wrong with this Picture?
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180 Defense Wins Championships
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178 Positional Similarity Revisited
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168 Best of the American League Since-1950
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162 Cryptic Knockoff of Pop Quiz
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160 Pop Quiz #5!
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154 NL East Since-1950 Teams
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146 AL West Since-1950 Teams
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145 NL Central Since-1950 Teams
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143 TARP III: Some Relief
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142 TARP II: We Like Rob Dibble
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136 Feature Alert
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135 Keep Jimmy Rollins?
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134 Line beats Log
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132 Southpaw converted to Offensive Win %
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131 Offensive Win % and Southpaw
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130 NL West Since-1950 Teams
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April 28, 2011
129 AL East Since-1950 Teams
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April 27, 2011
127 Since-1950 Teams
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April 27, 2011
126 The Joe Mauer Problem
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123 Philosophical Musing #3
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April 22, 2011
122 RVL Update
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April 22, 2011
121 Pop Quiz #4!
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April 17, 2011
118 Similarity by Position
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April 14, 2011
117 Decline and Stall
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April 9, 2011
109 Statistical Musing #8
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April 8, 2011
108 All Hail Tony the Russian
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April 7, 2011
107 Peas in a Pod
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April 5, 2011
104 2011 Watch List
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April 3, 2011
101 Cups of Coffee
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April 2, 2011
100 Pop Quiz #3!
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April 1, 2011
99 When Careers Peak: Hitters
March 31, 2011
98 Predictions 2011
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March 25, 2011
96 Hitter Aging Patterns
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March 25, 2011
95 Developments
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March 21, 2011
94 Economic Musing #1
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March 15, 2011
92 Back to the Bullpen
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March 14, 2011
91 Happy Pi Day!
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March 13, 2011
90 Interleague Swiss
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March 10, 2011
89 Ten Baseball Questions
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82 Wainwright
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February 23, 2011
81 Statistical Musing #6
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February 22, 2011
80 Signs of Competence
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February 21, 2011
78 Technical Note #1
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February 21, 2011
77 Cy Young Awards, Part III
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February 21, 2011
76 Cy Young Awards, Part II
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February 21, 2011
75 Cy Young Awards, Part I
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February 19, 2011
74 Big TARG Map
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February 18, 2011
73 Statistical Musing #5
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February 16, 2011
72 Settling the Matter
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71 TARG VIII: A Map
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February 15, 2011
70 Pop Quiz #2!
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69 Revisiting TARGET and H-gauge
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67 Route Planning for the 2011 Phillies Victory Parade
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66 On TARGET
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65 Mathematical Musing #1
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63 The Fat Game in History
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62 Event FAQ
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61 TARG VI: Bonds, Barry Bonds
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February 4, 2011
59 TARG V: Ichiro
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February 4, 2011
57 TARG III
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February 3, 2011
56 Three-Axis Rating Gauge, Part II
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February 2, 2011
54 Best Hitting Season Progression
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51 You call that Arcane? This is Arcane.
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January 28, 2011
46 Well-Designated Hitters
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January 26, 2011
45 Pop Quiz #1!
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January 26, 2011
44 Right-field Mashers
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January 25, 2011
43 A Surprise
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42 Turnover and Winning
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40 Philosophical Musing #2
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39 EmployeeTurnover by Position
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36 Clash of the Titans
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January 18, 2011
34 Statistical Musing #4
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33 Statistical Musing #3
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32 The Best-Hitting Shortstops
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January 14, 2011
31 Second Base
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January 12, 2011
30 Similarity among Hitters
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29 First Sackers
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26 Team Movement Charted
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25 Relief Pitching Effectiveness
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24 Who is John Grubb?
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22 Hall of Fame Arguments
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21 Another Angle
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20 Statistical Musing #2
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19 Transactions, Proportions, Dinner
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16 Even More Team Ratings
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15 More Team Ratings
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14 Team Ratings by Category
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13 Philosophical Musing #1
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12 Career Graphs for a Few Great Pitchers
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10 Graphs of Hitting Performance
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7 The Best Hitting Positions
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5 Infield Hitting by Position
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4 Outfield Hitting by Position
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