Given Major League Baseball’s status as the only major American sports league without a salary cap, I’m always interested in seeing how teams choose to allocate their resources every year. There’s a lot that plays into how much any given team will spend on their roster, depending on everything from how badly a team is looking to compete, the proportion of their production coming from young players vs older players, how their local cable TV deals are looking, and how much of a dip each team takes in that season’s free agent market.
With March Madness right around the corner, I thought it would be fun to visualize a bit of data about each region and team, with the end goal of being a bit better informed for filling out my bracket! The data below is mostly drawn from Ken Pomeroy’s college basketball rankings, and is intended to give a brief overview of the teams and regions in this year’s tournament. Comparing Regions Right off the bat, one of the things that jumps out is how tough the South region is from top to bottom.
After writing my recent article about Bryce Harper’s signing with the Phillies, I started getting really excited about the return of baseball! With Spring Training in full swing and most free agents signed and with their teams, we can start to look at how each team projects to perform in the 2019 season. As a big Washington Nationals fan, my attention naturally gravitated to the NL East. Take a look below to see how each team in the division projects to stack up!
Charting LeBron LeBron James passed Michael Jordan tonight on the NBA’s all time points scored leaderboard, surpassing MJ’s 32,292 career points to vault him into 4th place. While this season has largely been one to forget for the Lakers, LeBron’s pursuit of Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and the possible arrival of Anthony Davis or a second star guarantee that there will be lots of excitement in LA for the next few seasons.
One of the interesting facts that I’ve learned as I continue to settle down in Santa Monica is that since May of 2015, the City of Santa Monica has effectively banned short-term home/vacation rentals. This decision was made with an eye to AirBnB and other online leasing platforms, and with the intention that Santa Monica’s few apartment buildings not turn into de-facto hotels with new people in and out every weekend.
Now that Bryce Harper has officially signed with the Philadelphia Phillies on a 13 year, $330M megadeal, it’s interesting to conduct a retrospective look at the different offers he had on the table when making his decision. There has been a lot of publicity in recent hours about the amount of deferred money which the Nationals including in their “10 year, $300M offer”, especially compared to the Phillies deal which included no deferred money at all and also pays a $20M signing bonus.
One of my favorite posts from last year was about NBA Rim Protection. In that post, I created a statistic sitting on top of other rim defense statistics called RIMD. While you can check out the old post for additional detail on the statistic itself the bottom line is that RIMD is a weighted efficiency statistic that seeks to measure how effectively players can defend shots at the rim. The stat is designed to give preference to those who effectively contest a large volume of shots each game (DFGA) while holding shooters to a lower shooting percentage on those shots than their season average (DIFF%).
If you haven’t heard of it before, the Big Mac Index is a heuristic invented by The Economist to estimate purchasing power parity across economies. Looking past the numbers-to-numbers layer of exchange rates, the Big Mac Index is focused on measuring the cost of a single, standardized item (voila, the Big Mac!) across countries, and examining where the burger is relatively expensive and inexpensive compared to the rest of the world.
No real story here - just wanted to make some fun airline maps! The graphics you’ll see below were created by mapping hub airports for each major US air carrier and then showing flight traffic to and from all other major flight hubs. Cities are sized by the relative passenger volume of all connecting flights through that destination. I’ve (tried to) follow each airline’s brand guides for color and styling on each map.
One of the most enjoyable plotlines of the 2018-2019 NBA season has been James Harden’s transformation into a one man wrecking crew, capable of guiding a surging Rockets team up the standings in the West despite losing virtually every other “name brand” contributor on the Rockets roster. Minus Chris Paul (out since 12/20/2018), Eric Gordon (12/29/2018), and Clint Capela (1/13/2018), Harden is putting up statistics not seen since Wilt Chamberlain - over the past week of play, Harden has put up a truly insane 58/6/8 line, and has averaged close to or over 40 points for more than a month of play.