The MLB Division Series Should Be 1,101 Games Long

By Max Kaplan

The baseball playoff system is messed up. It’s a statistician’s worst nightmare. As both an Angels diehard and a statistician, I have descended into despondency.

After six months and 162 games of baseball, a 5-game coin flip decides the fate of the eight playoff teams. The Los Angeles Angels, considered by many to be the best team in baseball and considered by most to be a better team than the Kansas City Royals, were knocked out in only three games after leading the league with 98 regular season wins. That’s three games – the same length as the common regular season sweep.

I’m going to try to “fix” the randomness and unfairness of a short playoff series. And by doing so, I hope to resurrect the Angels 2014 World Series hopes.

How many games would we need in a playoff series to be fairly confident that the better team moves on? According to my calculations below, that number is 1,101.

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Third and Six

By Max Kaplan

League-wide, the conversion rate on 4th down is 50% but it jumps to 65% on 4th and 1. Ever wonder how likely it is to convert in a given situation? I ventured to find out, armed with the entire season’s worth of data from 2012.

The goal of 1st down is to create a manageable 2nd down. The goal of 2nd down is to create a manageable 3rd down. But you have to convert, eventually. What are the percentages of converting on a given down and distance?

1st down conversion by situation
*2012 Season
Note: Bigger rectangles are ranges of situations – used when
there weren’t enough plays in a given down and distance.

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Regarding Rebounds

By Avi Cohen All basic sports statistics need to be simple enough for the regular sports fan to comprehend quite readily, allowing them to understand the basics of how a player or team performed without actually watching the game. As a result of this simplicity, most are pretty flawed in some way or another when taken out of context. For instance, a typical stat line … Continue reading Regarding Rebounds

Arsenal v. Napoli: Analysing the New Midfield at the Emirates

by Karthik Sastry When asked about the last time he had seen his Arsenal side as well as they did in last Tuesday’s comfortable 2-0 victory over an on-form Napoli, manager Arsene Wenger could only draw a comparison with his club’s dramatic 2-1 triumph over Barcelona at the Emirates in February 2011. Tactically, the parallel is interesting. At that time the undisputed conductor of the … Continue reading Arsenal v. Napoli: Analysing the New Midfield at the Emirates

Started From the Top Now We’re Here – The 2013 New York Giants

by Elliot Tan It’s safe to say the Giants aren’t the giants of the NFL any more. Just two years removed from winning the Super Bowl, Big Blue is 0-4 and last in the NFC East. Unceremoniously off to their worst start of the season since 1987, hope is fading in the locker room, as Antrel Rolle’s bold claim for a 12-0 finish has been … Continue reading Started From the Top Now We’re Here – The 2013 New York Giants