The majority of my recent sports-related work not featured here has been published at The CIS Blog, where I have been a managing editor since 2008. I’ve also been published at Baseball Prospectus and NHL Numbers, with other analytical work and interviews at, among other places, Yahoo! Sports and 710 ESPN Seattle.
If you like any of what you see here, I am available for statistical/analytical consulting, through the contact information available here. A researcher and analyst by trade, and a baseball fan first and foremost, I have worked with and for coaches and journalists in just about every sport except baseball. Currently I am working with various CIS basketball and junior hockey teams, and the increased workload owing to those clients has resulted in a dearth of published work here and elsewhere since September 2013.
The CIS Blog
Most of my work these days is in an editorial role, or behind the scenes. Here are some favourite past articles of mine:
The entire CCAA basketball projections series
Favourite because: This CCAA-to-CIS basketball projection system took a significant amount of time and effort to build and I’m pleased that it has been fairly useful so far. The first post in this series was in May 2011, identifying five players, two of which would later play CIS; I have been working on it since at least March 2010 (the first email I can find on the subject).
The “Week in Review” basketball series
Favourite because: I modified/reproduced the weekly digest written by Ken Pomeroy for CIS, resulting in original (and hopefully interesting) content. And lots of crazy comebacks.
Be cautious with the Great Group of Dudes (Nov. 24, 2009)
A favourite because: it was not-so-subtly meant to burst the Lakehead University men’s basketball team’s bubble, but three days after I wrote this, they upset the #1 team in the country. A few months after that, they eliminated my school’s team from the playoffs en route to their first of four consecutive national championship appearances. I learned my lesson.
Hold me now, I need assists (Dec. 6, 2010)
A more complete look at assists (and other things) (July 29, 2013)
A favourite because: these articles together confirm just how odd the CIS basketball scorekeeping is, specifically the rate at which assists are handed out by different stat crews.
Volleyball win probability (Dec. 16, 2010)
A favourite because: nobody else, in the history of time, has ever applied Markov chains to CIS volleyball.
Some New Year’s evolutions (Dec. 13, 2010)
A favourite because: this is a fun little piece looking at teams that might improve in the second half of the season (and I was totally right about RMC).
A short history of nearly nothing (Feb. 2, 2011)
A favourite because: well, just read it. Those win-loss records just get worse and worse and worse and worse…
Rams stun T-Wolves, advance to Final 8 (March 2, 2012)
Carleton soars to semi-final win over McMaster (March 2, 2012)
Ravens slam Rams for Wilson Cup title (March 3, 2012)
Favourites because: They’re the first on-site deadline pieces I ever wrote, and I expected they would be the only I’d ever write (this proved me wrong on that last count). Co-wrote, I should say.
The excitement arrives late in Regina, and the Bisons leave without a win (Sept. 29, 2012)
Rams worry no more after flurry of scores (Nov. 3, 2012)
For the Rouge et Or, it’s back to the usual (Nov. 24, 2012)
Rouge et Or lose more slowly, take a 7-point win over Montreal (Sep. 22, 2012)
Dinos don’t dominate, but win comfortably anyway (Oct. 5, 2013)
Favourites because: I think this is some of the best game-centric writing I’ve done. I hadn’t sat and watched CIS football, from start to finish and in that order, in a surprisingly long while, and forgot it could be fun. The 2012 season was my first as a voter in the FRC – CIS Top 10 poll and I felt an obligation to watch more than I previously did, so I would be better-informed in my voting.
Investigating the “Best Shape” Phenomenon (Mar. 14, 2011)
As part of BP’s “Baseball ProGUESTus” series of guest articles, I took at look at all those baseball players who claim to be in the best shape of their lives, and whether being in shape means they performed above expectations. Possibly one of my favourite bits of research ever (well, among things I did, not of all time). I wrote a part-follow-up, part-companion piece here, and a final follow-up here, in which I determine that a player’s declaration of BSOML in spring training is worth one run in that season.
Analyzing Rogers Centre’s Roof (July 8, 2013)
Another piece for Prospectus, this one studying something I’ve heard people talk about for years and years: whether closing the roof at the former SkyDome increases run-scoring. I found that it does, but mostly (probably) because it cuts off the cold weather, not due to anything about the shape of the roof or the wind currents or the indoor stadium itself.
The Effect of Zone Starts on Offensive Production (May 22, 2012)
A joint study by Cam and I — though he would likely be bumped to second author in academia; just sayin’, Cam — trying to quantify the effect of zone starts on a player’s offensive production. My first piece for NHLNumbers.com.
45 years of jet lag: What happens when teams cross time zones? (June 19, 2012)
Looking at the effects of regular travel on NHL teams since the California teams joined the league in 1967.
How would “The Gold Rule” affect the draft order? (July 6, 2012)
Trying to figure out whether a proposed system for determining draft order would have the intended results. Mostly, it would.
Looking at AHL goaltenders vs. NHL players (July 16, 2012)
Studying how AHL goaltenders performed, but only on shots taken by players who played in the NHL that year. It led to a follow-up by Thomas Drance on Eddie Lack.
Can goalies control the number of rebounds they allow? (July 15, 2013)
Following up on earlier research regarding goaltenders’ ability to suppress rebound shots. Also known as “The Pekka Rinne Appreciation Project.”
My statistical work has also appeared several times in Yahoo! Sports’ CFL and major junior hockey coverage, starting in 2010. Here’s an annotated list of articles:
By the numbers, ‘Canes smart to fast-track Jeff Skinner (Sep. 21, 2010)
Neate Sager and I developed a way to rank junior hockey scoring prospects, and this article presents the top 10 of the 2009-10 season. The main point of this article (not written by me) was that the then-18-year-old Skinner was NHL-ready, despite his low pre-draft ranking and relatively low draft selection. So far we appear to be right.
Later editions of the Jeff Skinner Rankings:
Class of 2012 beats ’11; Yakupov tops the Jeff Skinner Rankings (May 31, 2011)
This year’s top prospect was Nail Yakupov, who was then one year too young for the draft.
Jeff Skinner Rankings: Nathan MacKinnon, Hunter Shinkaruk project best to the NHL (June 22, 2012)
The third edition, expanded to include USHL players, and this time they chose to highlight the top 20.
I also contribute playoff odds to Yahoo’s CHL coverage and other statistical analyses throughout the year as requested.
Study: CFL teams should go for it more often on third down (Feb. 23, 2011)
Andrew’s piece based on my third-down study.
Expanded study boosts case for FGs/punting, but coaches still gamble less than they should (Dec. 9, 2013)
Another piece after I updated the study.
A case for the Riders to tank, and how a simple rule change would remove the incentive (Oct. 25, 2012)
This came about when I realized that, according to the numbers I ran, it was in the Riders’ interests to finish lower in the West division standings so they would crossover to the weaker East and have an easier path to the Grey Cup. (My linked piece continues my trend, now in its second year, of declaring that the eventual CFL champion is a terrible team.)
710 ESPN Seattle
U.S. Division cream of WHL crop (Nov. 9, 2012)
Answered some questions for the local ESPN radio station on what goes into RPI and how or why the Seattle Thunderbirds will or won’t stay as high as they were at the time.
Of Jeff Skinner and Nicklas Jensen (June 27, 2011)
The Jeff Skinner Rankings were used again, this time by Cam Charron, as the basis for a post questioning Jensen as the Canucks’ “safe” pick when there were, arguably, higher-ceiling, younger, less-developed players available.
The Nation Network
Last updated: June 21, 2014.