Sportswriter say: Advanced analytics can save the Redskins … oh, really

We’re working through predictive analytics in class these days.

So, my eyes are open for articles on the subject.

Predictive analytics.

You know, the stuff that Moneyball got rolling in baseball … and Target popularized by identifying pregnant women before the women knew they were expecting.

Let’s set the stage.

The Washington Redskins have been having (another) rough season.



Veteran sportswriter Tony Kornheiser says advanced analytics could save the Redskins…



Kornheiser to observes that one of the few things the Redskins haven’t tried to turn around their fortunes is “embracing Moneyball.”

Specifically, he says:

The players are terrible. The people picking the players have picked the wrong players, time and time and time again, for whatever reason.

So, I would follow the pattern that was started by Billy Beane in Major League Baseball.

I would look at the kind of mathematical equation that was never before used in baseball and now is all the rage in baseball.

And I’m not saying you don’t look at players physically, but you use analytics, you use metrics, whatever these words are.

You try a new system to acquire players and to acquire coaches who will buy into that system.

You see this taking over in baseball. You also see it in basketball, where it was hard for me to even imagine that shots from a certain spot on the court would be rewarded mathematically….

I’d find that kid at Yale, or Harvard, or Maryland, or Virginia, or University of San Diego — the kid who has devoted his life, maybe he’s 24, 25 right now — not a fantasy football geek, but somebody who’s devoted his life to the study of the game through analytics and metrics, through mathematical combinations that have not been seen  before.

There’s somebody out there who has taken all of this stuff into account and has a formula.

I’d hire that guy.

P.S. The Memphis Grizzlies hired an MSB MBA from the class of 2014 … to do analytics, of course.



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3 Responses to “Sportswriter say: Advanced analytics can save the Redskins … oh, really”

  1. Rob Marshall Says:

    Baseball Prospectus published a book called Baseball Between the Numbers in 2007. I think it’s the best book out there on this topic. I would at least take a look at the table of contents. Nate Silver wrote a handful of the essays. Separately, when the Celtics poached Brad Stevens from Butler, they did so in large part because he embraces analytics. I heard he grew up reading Bill James. In fact, Stevens took his analytics kid (Drew Cannon) with him to Boston.

  2. Andrew Madden Says:

    So, closer to home… What about using predictive analytics to improve the Hoyas basketball recruiting? That seems like a worthy class project!

  3. Mike Jackman Says:

    I would agree that there’s undoubtedly room for the next level of analytics in pro sports. But that’s only part of the winning formula. As importantly, how do your leaders hold a team together when it struggles? How do your team leaders push your average players to perform better-than-average on a regular basis, or especially in pressure situations? Bring in these leaders as your cornerstones (if you can devise analytics to better determine who these guys are, go for it). Then you can fill out around them with the guys that meet the more traditional Moneyball threshold.

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