2022 Spring Edition: Volume 1

The projects included in Volume 1 were completed by rising students who completed our summer high school programs Moneyball Academy and Moneyball Academy Training Camp in 2017 and 2018. We hope you enjoy reading them!


Year to Year Statistical Correlation in the NFL (2017)
By Elliott Cherry, Justin Witmondt, Fin Woodlief

Individual offensive players statistics have contribution from both the individual player and the rest of the team. Stability of an individual statistic across season is suggestive that the static is more related to the individual contribution. For each of three offensive skill positions (QB, RB, WR), this work determines which individual offensive statistic is the most predictive year-to-year. The data includes offensive skill players (QB, RB, WR) season stats from 2005 to 2015.


Accuracy of ELO and Betting Odds in Tennis (2017)
By Tiffany Moi, Manav Sharma, Annie Dai, Dara Doft

Elo scores are a method of determining ratings or ranking across set of competitors: betting odds are a reflection a wide opinion of interested parties.  Both have use in predicting the outcome of future matches. This study analyzes the accuracy of Elo scores and betting odds in predicting tennis match outcomes; match results are compared with implied probability predictions. The data set includes both men’s and women’s results from all Grand Slams dating from 2007 to 2016, and both Elo and betting odds before the match.


Transitioning Opportunity? Transition Plays in the NHL (2018)
By Will Cooper, Ben Mandelbaum, Zachary Betron

In hockey there is a fluid transition between the team on offense and the team on defense.  A transition play occurs during/after the switch made by a team and its players from offense to defense and from defense to offense as the puck changes possession.  Our goal is to determine which hockey teams and players use, and to what effectiveness, the transition style of offense. Does emphasizing transition play translate to a stronger team? What about to successful players?


Tanking Strategy and the Value of NBA Draft Picks (2018)
By Matthew Sherman, Ryan Shimek, Ezra Troy, Jason Kim

Compared to other sports, in the NBA a few high value players have an outside effect on team success.  Acquiring high value players often occurs through the draft.  As draft position is influenced by the previous year’s record, tanking, or intentionally losing games over an entire season is encouraged. In this work, we explore the NBA statistics that measure player value, and we develop a new stat, JERM, that evaluates the long-term performance of an NBA player by combining VORP, Win Shares and PER.  JERM is then used to determine how smart it is for an NBA team to “tank”.  We explore the value of each draft slot as well as the chances for teams to achieve the most valuable picks in the draft with their winning percentage.


Effects of Injuries on a Pitcher’s Performance (2018)
By Braxton Reynolds, Olivia Miles, Scott Lehrfeld, Maddy Fay 

The pitcher Tommy John underwent reconstructive UCL surgery in 1974, and he subsequently returned in 1976 and pitched for 14 more seasons.  This ‘Tommy John’ surgery became more common and is now used for many MLB players that stretch, fray, or tear their UCL.  We will compare pitcher ERA after recovery to pre-injury ERA to determine how significant the impact of the injury and recovery was on pitcher performance. We hypothesis that injuries (Tommy John Surgery and rotator cuff injuries) significantly increase the ERA of most injured pitchers.  The data set contains pitchers that underwent surgeries that occurred in 2003-2017, and had a minimum of 20 innings pitched, resulting in 168 pitchers.   


Aspects of the Game Demands Across Golf’s Four Majors (2018)
By Sunny Whang, Fangxin Yu, Hilary Li 

Golf is an individual sport where the players are primarily playing against the course.  Different courses present different challenges and hence demand different aspects of the game. In this study, the relative importance of the different aspects of golf, putting and tee to green (TTG) were analyzed for each for the four major tournaments. The data set included all male golfers from the four largest golf tournaments: PGA Championship, Masters, US Open, British Open, over ten years, 2008 – 2017.

Positioning Strategy in Olympic Rowing (2018)
By Shayna Martin, Ethan Machen, Alex Goldberg, Maya Balan

In rowing, proper strategy is one of the most critical elements in the sport, overall. Most teams enter a race with a pre-designed plan in how to approach the 2,000 meters ahead of them. In this work, the common positioning strategies used in Olympic rowing as analyzed.  The data set included rowing results from three Olympic years: 2008, 2012, and 2016 and from each year from three events: singles, fours, and eights, and at three race time points: 500m, 1000m, & 1500m.