In its second annual “Analytics” issue, The Mag offers an inside look at how next-level metrics are redefining what we think we know about sports. Thanks to last season’s AL MVP debate: Miguel Cabrera and Mike Trout, WAR is on the lips of even RBI-addicted fans. Sam Miller of Baseball Prospectus writes that Wins Above Replacement is MLB’s next great stat in a feature entitled “War is the Answer,” which encourages sports fans not to fight it. The 2012 AL MVP proved it: Wins Above Replacement is MLB’s signature stat.
Also featured in the issue is “You Can Call Them Trailblazers,” by Jordan Brenner, who explores that although most NBA teams don’t exactly pore over stats, the Portland Trail Blazers have gone all-in with advanced metrics to rebuild their franchise. The team’s roster may be the fifth youngest in the NBA, but a sophisticated approach to analytics is helping the team grow up in a hurry.
“Analytics” also arms readers with graphs and charts by using numbers to highlight how last year analytics had an unprecedented impact on hirings, firings and even in-game decisions in Morty Ain’s “The Year Analytics Took over the World.” A year where thick-rimmed glasses are hip, a Triple Crown seems overrated and Nate Silver is a global icon. Indeed, 2012 was the year analytics went mainstream and the data proves it.
Note: ESPN The Magazine is sponsoring the Research Paper of the Year Award for the MIT Sloan Sports Analytics Conference. In recent months, the organizers of the annual conference have sifted through more than 100 submissions to determine finalists for its Research Paper of the Year. Fans can read the summaries of each paper, then cast a vote and leave a comment by clicking here via SportsNation. The fans’ choice will be announced at this year’s conference, taking place March 1-2.
The Analytics Issue Features
Like a Team Possessed
Billy Donovan and the Gators are hell-bent on DER – a metric that is driving SEC offenses insane, every trip down the court. By Eddie Matz
The Ultimate Betting Machine
Bob Voulgaris is the world’s top NBA gambler – thanks to a catastrophic dry spell that inspired him to invent one valuable black box. By Scott Eden
As he hits 50, MJ is starting to feel his own mortality. By Wright Thompson
Additional Analytics Issue Highlights:
- NASCAR: In “Taking Stock” The Mag’s Ryan McGee sits down with former Sprint Cup champion Matt Kenseth to see how the changes are going since recently joining the Gibbs team.
- NBA: The Mag’s Pablo Torre breaks down what has set the Los Angeles Clippers sailing to the top of the West in “Rising to the Defense,” suggesting readers forget Lob City, Blake Griffin’s dunks, CP3’s handle, and Crawford’s crosser and pay closer attention to some good old-fashioned “D.”
- NHL: Coyotes left winger Paul Bissonnette doesn’t put up big numbers on the ice, but he’s a force on social media, where his controversial sense of humor and prolific Instagram output generate a Klout score on par with Shaq’s. BizNasty explains why he always seems to have one skate in the Twitter penalty box.
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Media Contact: Carrie Kreiswirth – 860-766-6042