Plotting air yards

Air yards plots are popular and informative ways for assessing the accuracy of quarterbacks at different depths of the field. As examples, Josh and Ben have both done excellent work in highlighting how using where a quarterback was throwing to tells us more of a story than simply looking at completion percentage alone. Here’s one example of an air yards plot, using a pair of players from the 2019 season.

The within-game evolution of MLB’s strike zone

Baseball games are too slow, too long, so damned long, and, like my seven-year old daughter getting dressed in the morning, taking forever. Despite the headlines, there’s one aspect of the game that has actually worked to speed the game up: how umpires call balls and strikes. As one piece of evidence, Brian and I found that, in the bottom half of extra innings, calls tend to favor whichever team is closer to winning.

The impact of make-up calls is probably bigger than you think

One of the more reliable indicators of which NHL team is likely to get the next power play has little to do with score or style of play. Instead, it’s been shown repeatedly (Ex 1, Ex 2) that referees call a substantially higher number of make-up penalties than would otherwise be expected in order to maintain an overall even number of violations on each team. Call it a biased impartiality – in order to appear impartial by game’s end, ref’s let previous decisions drive future ones.