Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Stats Schmatz

I was going to discuss why Stephen Ames is more deserving than Mike Weir to be in the President’s Cup. But in reality just because it is in Canada doesn’t mean that there needs to be a Canadian in the field. I mean after all there is a ton of talent that is going to be at the event. There is no real need for a Canadian to be playing in this event. There is Tiger Woods, Vijay Singh, Stuart Appleby, Ernie Els, Adam Scott, Reteif Goosen, Angel Cabrera, Phil Mickelson, Stewart Cink, Scott Verplank and more. If that doesn’t sell tickets in Canada then Canadians just do not like golf.

Also, there has been so much rhetoric about experience over what a player does now, which I actually agree with, although consistency is the only thing that Ames has right now over a recovering Weir. What I am going to discuss right now is an ongoing discussion I have with my former radio co-host and a few other friends of mine.

How much stock can you actually put into Sports Statistics?

Take a young pitcher such as Matt Cain who pitches for the San Francisco Giants. Last year Matt Cain went 13-12 as a rookie and many people believed there is much more potential in the tank that is untapped. This year Matt Cain is 4-13 and everyone has written this kid off. Does anyone actually see this kid pitch or are you just watching the stats. Moving to Hockey I have the displeasure of watching Andrew Raycroft play for the Toronto Maple Leafs. They did not make the playoffs this year but he did set a new Maple Leafs goaltender record with 37 wins. On the surface that is huge, BUT!!!!
If you watched him play he is god awful, just horrible and definitely not worth the $2.5 million he is making. Not to mention that a few of the wins came from shootouts, in which he blew the lead, or the team got a flukey goal. The point of it is that you can not just look at stats, and yes many people do not have the necessary means to watch more than their hometown coverage or any bonus footage.

Back to Matt Cain, 3 of his losses were outstanding losses, his first lost this year was 7.0Inn of 1H 1ER baseball. And the Giants lose the game 1-0. A loss against Oakland Athletics on 6/10 Cain pitched 8.0INN with 5H 1ER and 8K’s and loses 2-0. Another outing he pitches 7.1Inn with 2ER and 11K on 5H and the Giants lose 4-3. So is Matt Cain that bad of a pitcher? No. Is his stats bad? Yes. Even the best pitchers in the game today have severe trouble.

Former Cy Young award Winner Roy Halladay has had a winning pitching record 5 of the last 6 seasons, in 2004 he had an 8-8 record and was on the shelf for a good chunk of that time. In those 6 seasons he has gone 90-36 (current 2007 stats included). Every year Halladay has 2-3 starts where he will go 8+ innings of 1 run ball and lose the game 2-0. It happens to everyone. Some pitchers more than others. Matt Cain is just one example but there are at least 10 other pitchers who people are willing to get off the band wagon just because the end stats are horrific and ignore the fact that they are still a great pitcher that doesn’t always have their team helping them out. Just remember Gustavo Chacin last year. He finished the year 9-4 in 17 starts and finishing with an ERA over 5. He gave up early runs but for some reason the Toronto bats would come alive and bail him out so he can get the win.

The point is that you can only put about 55-60% weight in just looking at the stats when judging whether a player is good or not. There is so much more than a W-L record or how many HR a player can hit. Or how many goals or touchdowns an individual makes.

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