Bridging the Age Gap: An Aerial Look at America’s Pastime and What’s Being Done to Enhance Interest


My father turns 60 in nine months. He just decided (against his will) to relinquish his iPhone 3G, which he began using roughly eight years after it was originally released. He still doesn’t know how to use it – “I’ve tried yelling at it and it doesn’t help” – so teaching him how to use his hand-me-down iPhone 6 has felt more difficult than making contact with a Nolan Ryan fastball.

I didn’t use the currently 71-year-old Ryan Express as an example just for fun, nor is this story about my out-of-touch father embellished. They begin explaining how the average age of MLB fans is the oldest of all major sports leagues, and how baseball has been (thus far unsuccessfully) trying to bridge the gap between marketing to a new generation of younger viewers, while simultaneously satisfying their primary captive audience, the technologically inept iPhone 3G loving fathers of the world.

Ryan regularly threw pitches nearly 100 mph, so the game hasn’t changed all that much when it comes to hitters trying to reach base against flamethrowers. Throw the ball, hit the ball, catch the ball. There’s a reason baseball is called America’s Pastime.

It’s easy to understand why people like my father don’t feel they need fancy gadgets or unique statistics to remain in tune with baseball. My dad watched Ryan throw his first no-hitter in 1973, Ryan’s last career no-no in 1991, and Jake Arrieta’s most recent no-hit masterpiece in 2016. The only change he saw over the course of those 43 years was the quality of his television sets.

Baseball’s comparatively slow pace keeps older fans interested. Heralding from an era hallmarked by patience and tenacity, this older generation of sports diehards understand and appreciates the suspense between pitches, the nuances of the set-up, and the value of the curtain call. But society has progressed, and new generations are constantly seeking engagement—fighting boredom while juggling second- and third-screen experiences—making the probability of children and young adults sitting through a three-and-a-half-hour baseball game (whether on television or at the ballpark) all the more unlikely. That translates to fewer kids playing the game, making for an overall waning interest. It’s hard to imagine baseball becoming extinct, but at the rate it has been going, it’s not outside the realm of possibility.

MLB: “Not so fast”

MLB fans’ average age in 2016 was 57, which is seven years old than NFL fans, eight years older than those of the NHL, and a whopping 15 years older than NBA fans. It’s MLB’s job as the highest level of baseball to engage younger generations like its counterparts. Fortunately, they are taking action.

According to an Ohio University study, only 20 percent of fans aged 18-29 follow the sport somewhat closely or very closely. MLB recently announced changes to rules intended to increase the pace of play, but that will only benefit so much. MLB’s true investment has been in digital opportunities. The MLB At-Bat app, which was rated the top sports app in the United States in 2015, has garnered an average age of 30, according to MarketWatch. Compared to 57 and rising, it would appear MLB is getting closer.

Further taking into account the younger generation of fans’ affinity for new, unique information and statistics, made public its advanced metrics MLB tracks and stores itself. The collection of data and advancements have made terms like Exit Velocity common. This adjustment made the second-most viewed sports website in terms of time spent on the site in 2015. Again, another massive victory for the once fading juggernaut.

But with MLB essentially investing in itself – including MLB.TV, which streams games on more than 400 devices to fans all over the country – and having its own statistical database with local writers for every team producing content, digital media outlets are finding themselves pitted against the sport itself. Once just the supplier of America’s Pastime, the MLB has evolved into a digital media competitor, putting its money where its mouth is (the internet). This shift has forced digital media companies to be creative to draw in the younger fans baseball is seeking, or at best, they’ll lose them to MLB’s growing digital footprint.

Step up to the plate, or grab some bench

As the official data provider of MLB, STATS has seen an influx of digital media groups looking to create unique opportunities to enhance fan engagement for themselves. With MLB venturing out on their own in an attempt to become the primary digital baseball provider, competitors have turned to STATS’ MLB solutions to keep their name in the game. For instance, the average age of fantasy sports participants is 32, according to the Fantasy Sports Trade Association (FSTA). STATS targets that age demographic with award-winning fantasy projections for Daily Fantasy Sports (DFS) baseball contests, allowing media partners to differentiate themselves from the MLB, but attract the same younger demographic.

Getting the phone out of a 20-something’s hand is about as enjoyable as raking the infield dirt, so how about making MLB scores and updates quicker and more accessible to those consumers? STATS offers a full suite of MLB products to reach the thought-to-be unreachable young fan, including the industry’s fastest and most accurate data feeds that also power customizable STATS Widgets. And we’ve already dove into how STATS TVL data can provide even deeper analysis of the game.

It’s true baseball’s on-field product hasn’t changed much since its early days. It won’t add a three-point line like the NBA, a two-point conversion like the NFL, or eliminate boundary plays like the NHL did with the two-line pass to increase offense. But the game certainly has progressed in its delivery, and the younger generation of fans are taking notice.

It’s now up to digital media groups to keep up with its new competitor, the MLB, and deliver baseball in a way its audience wants to consume it.

Secondary Issues? Covered: Signing Lockdown CB Aaron Colvin a Major Coup for Texans


You’ve heard a lot about Jalen Ramsey, who has probably told you a lot about Jalen Ramsey. At the beginning of January, STATS wrote about the Jaguars’ pass defense and mentioned a lot about Ramsey, A.J. Bouye, and Barry Church. Those defensive backs were really good last season.

It was the unheralded one of the bunch that helped make the Jacksonville defensive backfield elite, though. The Jags’ slot corner, Aaron Colvin, wasn’t the loudest of the group and he wasn’t a free agent pickup for Jacksonville before last season. He was, however, a lockdown corner in the slot.

And after his breakout year, the Houston Texans now employ the No. 2 STATS-rated slot corner in the NFL after signing Colvin to a four year, $34 million deal this offseason.

In a series of short articles which started with a look at Albert Wilson and continued with Andrew Norwell’s rise to the NFL’s highest-paid offensive guard, STATS will highlight some free agent signings that didn’t blow the top off the industry — ones that are a tad under-the-radar involving underrated players who have performed well in STATS-unique metrics.

The fifth-year corner out of Oklahoma didn’t record an interception last regular season, which is possibly why he didn’t get as much fanfare as the rest of his teammates in the Jacksonville secondary. But that’s hardly the whole story with Colvin.

Opponents targeted Colvin 54 times last season, but he was burned on just 20 occasions. As we mentioned in the Wilson feature, burns are any positive play made by a receiver while covered by a defender, excluding screen plays. Of those 20 burns, only two turned into big plays for the offense.

Getting burned 20 times on 54 targets converts to a 37.04 burn percentage, which was 12 percent lower than the positional average. So, Colvin was 12 percent less likely to get burned than an average cornerback.

On top of that, when Colvin did get burned, he gave up 3.7 fewer yards per burn than the positional average. That led to a miniscule 232 total burn yards allowed.

By signing with the Texans, Colvin gets to stay in the division and line up against the same players he dominated against a season ago, while also having knowledge of his former teammates in Jacksonville.

With the news that the Texans have also signed Tyrann Mathieu, it appears the Houston secondary will be rather revamped in 2018.

From Undrafted to Sought-After: How Andrew Norwell Became the NFL’s Highest-Paid OG


Andrew Norwell picked the right time to show he is one of the most dominant offensive linemen in the NFL. His All-Pro season with the Carolina Panthers coincided with a contract year, and the Jacksonville Jaguars made Norwell the highest-paid offensive guard in the NFL during free agency.

Even at such a high price, it looks to be money well spent for the Jags – Norwell was the No. 1-rated left guard in the NFL last season, according to STATS’ metrics.

In a series of short articles, which started with a look at Albert Wilson, STATS will highlight some free agent signings that didn’t blow the top off the industry — ones that are a tad under-the-radar involving underrated players that have performed well in STATS-unique metrics.

Norwell doesn’t exactly fit that description having been named First-Team All-Pro in 2017, even though the skill positions often receive more attention than the big bodies blocking for them. A majority of teams this offseason would have loved to have Norwell come on board. That wasn’t the case when Norwell came out of Ohio State after the 2014 season, though, as he went undrafted and signed with the Panthers as a free agent. For that reason, we’ll classify him as an honorary under-the-radar player.

Besides, his numbers this season were too good not to highlight. Not only did Norwell not give up a single sack in 2017, he allowed only 12 pressures in 349 pass protection opportunities. His pressure percentage of 3.4 was nearly twice as low as the pressure expected for his position (6.5 percent).

He did all that with incredible durability as well, not missing a single offensive snap the entire year.

It wasn’t just his pass protection that got him paid, however. Norwell was also the No. 2 STATS-rated left guard in terms of run blocking in 2017. Now, Norwell will join a Jacksonville offensive line that touts three other top-15 run blocking linemen – No. 14 center Brandon Linder, No. 13 right guard A.J. Cann, and No. 5 right tackle Jermey Parnell. That bodes well for Jacksonville, which is one of the few teams in the NFL that runs the ball as much as it throws.

Signing Norwell made a team that played in the AFC Championship a year ago even better. That should sound alarms in the facilities of every other team not just in the AFC, but across the entire NFL.

It’s All in the Metrics: Dolphins Make Right Move Choosing Albert Wilson Over Jarvis Landry


Miami gave away a Pro Bowl wide receiver in Jarvis Landry this offseason in exchange for a couple draft picks to the newly rebuilt and retooled Cleveland Browns. The headlines focused on Landry’s 400 catches in four seasons, and how the Dolphins will be without one of the game’s best playmakers.

Let’s just say the move didn’t go unnoticed. Others might not have.

In a series of short articles, STATS will highlight some signings of the opposite degree — ones that are a tad under the radar involving underrated players who have performed well in STATS-unique metrics.

There were fewer headlines when Miami signed ex-Chief Albert Wilson to replace Landry in the lineup, although according to STATS metrics, that shouldn’t have been the case.

Travis Kelce, Kareem Hunt and Tyreek Hill undeniably overshadowed Wilson in Kansas City’s offense last season, but Wilson was the second-most productive STATS-rated slot receiver in the NFL on a per-target basis. Yes, even more productive than Landry.

STATS takes a receiver’s numbers when he is covered by a defender to more accurately portray his production, excluding plays such as screens. When a receiver is targeted and makes a positive play while covered by a defender, it’s considered a burn.

Wilson’s burn percentage was 62.22 in 2017 according to STATS’ X-Info data, higher than Landry’s 59.23 percent. That means on 62.22 percent of the throws Wilson was targeted (excluding screens), he made a positive play. That burn percentage was 5.78 percent better than the positional average in 2017.

You can start to see why the Dolphins did well in their signing of Wilson, for half the price of Landry.

Another STATS metric that shines a very good light on Wilson is comparative yards per burn, which measures a player’s yards per burn compared to the positional average. Wilson had a comparative yards per burn of 1.2, which means on average he gained 1.2 more yards than the average wide receiver each time he burned a defender. For comparison’s sake, Landry’s comparative yards per burn was minus-2.2, due to the bulk of his workload being in front of the sticks.

In correlation with that, Wilson’s clutch reception (receptions resulting in a first down or touchdown) percentage was higher than Landry’s as well – 76.2 percent compared to 53.6 percent.

Wilson put his skills on display in Week 17 last season in Denver, when he and Patrick Mahomes hooked up 10 times for 147 yards in just 27 offensive snaps for Wilson. The new Dolphins receiver showed in that game the ability to make tough, contested grabs and to create separation between him and defenders. See for yourself:

That kind of production from the slot in an expanded role in Miami bodes well for Wilson, head coach Adam Gase, and whoever is throwing the ball to Wilson this season.

Dissecting the Power of STATS TVL Data


Advanced analytics in baseball have come a long way since STATS was founded almost 37 years ago. Advanced metrics derived from complicated formulas have changed how teams and media at all levels analyze the game, and STATS’ advanced analytics team has made powerful contributions to that movement.

One of the tools at the forefront of this movement is STATS TVL. STATS TVL tracks pitch type (T), velocity (V) and location (L) to better explore pitchers’ efficiency and hitters’ approach at the plate. Analysis has gradually drifted from basic, easily calculated numbers like ERA, batting average, home runs and RBIs. And despite teams’ most recent foray into deep data for performance improvement and conditioning strategy, this evolution has been largely influenced by fans and media.

Baseball consumers crave the behind-the-score story, wanting to know the how and why that support those basic statistics. Media groups are not only looking to enrich their content, but they also vote for player awards. The outcomes of these awards are almost entirely determined by unique differentiators that are only detectable through advanced analytics. In that sense, every single pitch thrown either tells its own story or contributes to a greater narrative. STATS TVL not only provides in-depth and unique pitch-by-pitch data, but that data supports predictive element that allows media, fans and teams to look into the future of a player’s career.

Take, for example, this article from STATS following the Chicago Cubs signing Yu Darvish, which broke down Darvish’s numbers against left-handers last season by pitch type and usage. The NL Central is loaded with quality left-handed hitters, and Darvish’s second-half performance versus lefties was quite average. Using that data, combined with the TVL data showing those NL Central sluggers fared against the pitches Darvish throws most, STATS arrived at conclusions regarding how Darvish should approach particular hitters – and which pitches hitters should wait to see.

STATS TVL also powers STATS Video Solution (SVS), which allows teams, players and media to easily search video of any pitch thrown during an entire season with filters for particular pitcher-hitter matchups. By combining these products, STATS used TVL data and SVS video to help us understand how AL East aces should approach a revamped New York Yankees lineup that now features Giancarlo Stanton and Aaron Judge in the newest version of the Bash Brothers. Previous matchups were analyzed through pitch type and location to give a sense of what was successful for both the hitter and pitcher. One conclusion drawn from this level of analysis determined Stanton didn’t hit very well against sliders from right-handers. With Tampa Bay’s Chris Archer thrives on the slider and 19 regular season divisional match-ups against Tampa Bay in 2018, there’s a story building that fans would love to get their hands on.

But one story that got an extreme amount of attention this past offseason was MLB teams’ pursuit of young Japanese two-way star Shohei Ohtani, who eventually signed with the Los Angeles Angels. With STATS’ 600-league coverage span, TVL data was collected from the Nippon Professional Baseball league in Japan, allowing STATS to dive into Ohtani’s pitching performance as well as his approach at the plate. From the mound, which pitches did Ohtani throw the most and how effective were they? What percentage did hitters swing and miss on each pitch? How many of each pitch ended up outside the strike zone? From the plate, STATS TVL data showed Ohtani sat on fastballs and crushed them to the tune of a .353 average throughout his Japanese career. But when he faced a splitter?  A meager sub-Mendoza .191. SVS video from his at-bats showed how Ohtani turned on an inside heater, but rolled over on a splitter. The hype around Ohtani paired with the lack of domestic historical data begs for this level of analysis. What will we see when this rumored phenom take to the field for the first time in the MLB? The fans demand prediction, and TVL delivers just that.

So whether you’re looking to carefully examine the impacts of a divisional shift, the potential of a league new-comer, STATS TVL delivers the innovative unique data points media groups need to carefully and accurately analyze baseball in the way the fans crave.

Analyzing the NCAA Tournament’s ACC Powers Using STATS SportVU


Questions arise annually for the NCAA Tournament selection committee when the bracket is revealed on Selection Sunday. No one ever is fully happy with the results when bubbles burst, and those who received a bid often wonder about their seed or where they’re headed on opening weekend.

The ACC doesn’t have much to complain about this year, though, tying the conference record set last season with nine teams in the tournament, the second-most ever for any conference. Virginia is the tournament’s No. 1 overall seed, North Carolina and Duke both landed on the No. 2 line, and a couple teams toward the bottom of the league standings snuck in, too.

During the ACC Tournament, STATS had its SportVU player-tracking cameras placed above the Barclays Center court and accumulated data during each game to deliver advanced analytics to the ESPN broadcast and fans watching or following on social media. Now, we’ll go even deeper into that data for the first time.

Below is a breakdown of SportVU data gathered during Virginia, Duke and North Carolina games and how those analytics could help or hurt each team heading into the NCAA Tournament. We’ll also delve into some metrics from the mind of Ken Pomeroy, who receives his statistics from STATS’ industry-leading data feeds to power his proprietary model and deliver the most respected college basketball advanced metrics in the game.

According to KenPom, Virginia has the second-best chance of winning the national championship at 17.6 percent, with Duke third (12.1) and North Carolina sixth (5.7).

Virginia (31-2)

KenPom rating: 1
Seed: No. 1, South Region
First-round opponent: UMBC

If you haven’t heard overwhelming praise for Virginia’s defense by now, you wouldn’t be reading this. The Cavaliers rank No. 1 in KenPom’s adjusted defense rating with an average of 84.4 points allowed per 100 possessions. Virginia is dead last in the nation with an average of 59.1 possessions per 40 minutes, slowing the game down to a snail’s pace and forcing long, closely guarded possessions on the defensive end. Does that mean the Hoos can’t score? Absolutely not.

The Cavaliers are 21st nationally in adjusted offense with an average of 116.5 points per 100 possessions. They balance their attack with only three guys averaging double figures in Kyle Guy (14.1), Devon Hall (12.0) and Ty Jerome (10.5) with a very deliberate offensive scheme.

Just how deliberate? During the Cavaliers’ three ACC Tournament games tracked by SportVU, they threw 0-2 passes on 15 percent of possessions, 3-5 on 41 percent, and 6+ on 44 percent. Virginia averaged 1.00 points per possession with 0-2 passes, 1.04 when throwing 3-5, and 1.31 points with 6+ passes.

For comparison’s sake, during Duke’s two ACC Tournament games, the Blue Devils threw 0-2 passes 45 percent of possessions and 6+ only 16 percent. Virginia is patient when it comes to shot selection, constantly setting screens to free up an open man.

During its three victories to win the ACC Tournament – including a win over the Tar Heels in the title game – Virginia led all teams with an average of 1.28 points per possession when setting a screen. It set 46 screens for Jerome according to STATS SportVU tracking, resulting in an average of 1.43 team points per possession. SportVU also compiles who sets specific screens, and the list below shows Virginia’s top three combinations involved Jerome during the ACC Tournament (click to enlarge).

A No. 1 seed has never lost to a No. 16 seed in the NCAA Tournament, and Virginia’s body of work suggests UMBC doesn’t stand a chance. Some might say UMBC needs to get extremely lucky. It so happens KenPom defines luck in college basketball as “a measure of deviation between a team’s actual winning percentage and what one would expect from its game-by-game efficiencies.”

Which team ranks No. 1 in KenPom’s Luck Rating? UMBC. And that luck seems to be kicking in already. Virginia announced Tuesday that ACC Sixth Man of the Year De’Andre Hunter suffered a broken wrist in the conference tournament and will miss March Madness.

If Virginia can overcome the UMBC luck factor and Hunter’s injury, it’ll still have to survive a bracket featuring No. 2 seed Cincinnati, third-seeded Tennessee and fourth-seeded Arizona, which seems awfully low for a team with a talent like Deandre Ayton.

Duke (26-7)

KenPom rating: 3
Seed: No. 2, Midwest Region
First-round opponent: Iona

The preseason No. 1 team is back to being a national title favorite despite finishing just 2-2 down the stretch. The Blue Devils certainly appear to have the most talent with freshman Marvin Bagley III – who is No. 3 in KenPom’s national player of the year standings – and senior instigator Grayson Allen, along with a supporting cast that features lottery pick Wendell Carter Jr.

Duke is one of only two teams to finish in the top 10 in both KenPom’s adjusted offensive efficiency (third) and defensive efficiency (seventh), with Michigan State – the No. 3 seed in the Midwest – being the other. The Blue Devils can beat any team inside or out given their shooters (Allen, Gary Trent Jr.) and their front line (Bagley, Carter).

STATS SportVU tracked four of Duke’s games this season, with two at the ACC Tournament and one each at Indiana and at Wake Forest. In those games, Bagley and Carter combined for 81 close touches (originated from a pass within 12 feet of the basket), leading to 1.26 team points per possession. Carter’s free-throw rate (free throws made/field goals attempted) was 64.3 percent on close touches and he shot 78.6 percent after a close touch.

The inside domination doesn’t stop there. According to SportVU, Bagley shot 12 of 14 when contested at the rim by two or more defenders, and Carter went 4 of 5 in those same situations. With only a single defender, Bagley was 8 of 14 and Carter 7 of 10. Essentially, if the ball gets inside, forget about it.

And if Allen is on his game from deep, the opposition stands little chance – unless defenders can keep him moving. In Duke’s tracked SportVU games, Allen shot 5 of 15 (33.3 percent) on non catch-and-shoot 3s. When he caught and fired? A red-hot 8 for 13 (61.5 percent).

Allen is at his best when he doesn’t have to create. When taking zero dribbles, Allen shot 11 of 18 overall and 9 of 14 from the 3-point line.

As for Trent? He’d rather be on the move. Trent went 11 of 22 (50.0 percent) from the field when taking at least one dribble in Duke’s four games SportVU tracked. When he didn’t take a single dribble, he went 7 for 23 (30.4 percent) overall and 4 of 17 (23.5 percent) from deep. Have a look at Allen’s and Trent’s numbers from the ACC Tournament (click to enlarge):

Bagley, Carter, Allen and Trent all played well in the ACC Tournament semifinals, but the Blue Devils ran into the Tar Heels, who came away with a 74-69 victory. Now the defending national champions are seeking a repeat.

North Carolina (25-10)

KenPom rating: 7
Seed: No. 2, West Region
First-round opponent: Lipscomb

A 10-loss No. 2 seed that finished sixth in its own conference with a home loss to Wofford on its resume? Crazier things have happened, even though North Carolina is 3-3 in its last six games. But a run to the ACC Tournament title game convinced the committee big things are in store for the Heels.

Theo Pinson, Luke Maye – who is No. 9 in KenPom’s national player of the year standings – and last year’s NCAA Tournament’s Most Outstanding Player Joel Berry II are the nucleus from a title team looking to make another run. And since the Tar Heels ranked 104th in the nation in 3-point percentage, they’ll go as far as their attack-the-hoop game takes them.

In North Carolina’s four ACC Tournament games tracked by SportVU, Pinson scored 16 points on a team-high 17 drives, which are defined as touches that start at least 20 feet from the basket and end within 10 – excluding fast breaks. Those attacks led to 26 team points, more than any other UNC player who drove to the hoop in Brooklyn.

But Berry and Pittsburgh graduate transfer Cameron Johnson had success, too. Have a look below at the team points per drive for each player, according to SportVU (click to enlarge):

All three teams have their strengths, but anything can happen during March Madness. STATS SportVU gave us a deeper look into ACC powers, and the advanced metrics listed above are just a sliver of the data collected during the conference tournament.

Imagine if we could evaluate every college basketball team the same way with SportVU player tracking.

South Side Surge: Yoan Moncada Ready to Break Out for White Sox


Complete teardowns are the new hip thing to do in professional baseball, with the Chicago Cubs and Houston Astros winning the last two World Series after years of rebuilding the farm system through trades and high draft picks.

The Chicago White Sox seem to be one of the next teams in line to break out, with a number of prospects acquired via trade or the draft who are almost ready to contribute on the South Side. Outfielder Eloy Jimenez, acquired last season from the Cubs in the Jose Quintana trade, is the No. 4 overall prospect in baseball according to There is Lucas Giolito, a former No. 1 overall prospect, acquired in the Adam Eaton trade with Washington.

Seven White Sox prospects are littered across’s Top-100 ranking this spring, but possibly the most-hyped prospect of all gave up his rookie status last year with the White Sox — Yoan Moncada.

Moncada, acquired from the Boston Red Sox along with No. 10 overall prospect Michael Kopech in the Chris Sale trade, was himself a former No. 1 overall prospect out of Cuba. However, his .231 average and .753 OPS last season leaves much to desire from the young second baseman.

Moncada made his White Sox debut on July 19 last year, and proceeded to slash .105/.261/.263 for the rest of the month. He was better in August, slashing .238/.368/.413 in 18 games, but he was downright good in the final month of the season, slashing .305/.374/.500 over his last 20 games with four home runs and 10 RBI.

His final month upped his season WAR total to 1.9, although he only played in one-third of the White Sox’s games.

What adjustments did Moncada make to his game during the second half of his season? For one, he started by hitting the fastball better, according to STATS TVL data, which tracks pitch type (T), velocity (V) and location (L). He didn’t register a single hit off four-seam fastballs in July, and only one on a two-seamer. He upped that total number to 11 in August, and in September/October, he collected 18 hits off four- and two-seam fastballs.

That success came partly because Moncada was seeing the fastball better later in the season. Moncada swung and missed at 33 percent of four-seamers from righties in July, but improved to 26 percent in August and 28 percent in September. After swinging and missing on 20 percent of two-seamers against righties, he didn’t swing and miss a single time in August or September. And after registering a 20 percent swing-and-miss rate against lefty four-seamers in July, it dropped to 8 percent in August, and he didn’t miss a single one in September.

Here is a clip using STATS Video Solution showing Moncada getting overpowered and swinging through a four-seamer up in the zone in July, followed by a clip of him all over the same pitch in September, both off Kansas City’s Ian Kennedy:

It wasn’t just the swing-and-miss rate that improved for Moncada, though. A 55 percent groundball rate in July turned to 51 percent in August and 41 percent in September. That led to a higher hard-hit rate, which naturally leads to more extra-base hits, a higher slugging percentage, and more production overall.

Moncada had a 32 percent hard-hit rate in July, which is a respectable number (for reference, Francisco Lindor had a 33 percent hard-hit rate last year). But in August it bumped to 37 percent, and in September it moved to 38 percent. Overall, Moncada registered a 37 percent hard-hit rate last year, the same as Houston phenom Carlos Correa.

Obviously, Correa and Moncada are not the same hitter at this point in their careers. Correa hit 84 points better than Moncada last year, although their batting average on balls in play was only 27 points different. That boils down to how much Moncada struck out.

While the league-wide strikeout rate was just over 24 percent in 2017, Moncada struck out in 37 percent of his official at-bats. Just like with his swing-and-miss rate, though, he was trending in the right direction as the season got older. After striking out in 43 percent of his at-bats through the end of August, he lowered that number to 31 percent in September.

The combination of three things – making more contact, hitting the ball harder when he did make contact, and hitting the ball in the air more – led to a .818 OPS in September, which included five home runs and 11 RBI. Not-so-coincidentally, the White Sox had a 15-14 record the final month of the season after heading into September at 52-80.

If Moncada carries that production into his first full season with the White Sox, he’ll cement himself as a cornerstone of the franchise’s rebuild.

How STATS Helps Digital Media Outlets Enhance MLB Coverage


Likening the length of a Major League Baseball season to a marathon wouldn’t nearly do justice to the year-round sport. A six-month regular season, 40+ days of nail-biting playoffs, trade-rumor stacked Winter Meetings, and pitchers and catchers reporting mid-February for a six-week spring training just to do it all over again? Running 26.2 miles over a few hours suddenly feels like a walk in the park (or at least to first base).

Needless to say, the chance to captivate a country by way of America’s pastime is nearly a year-round opportunity chock full of thrilling milestones, record-breaking contracts, and tear-jerking sports magic moments. What’s daunting for digital media outlets, broadcast partners and fantasy sports companies is figuring out how to provide quality and unique coverage during MLB’s seemingly endless, expansive campaign.

MLB plays roughly 1,200 more games per season than any other North American major sport on a nearly daily basis, requiring every outlet to reach their customer base with essentially zero down time. And unless you’re outfitted with a full staff of data collectors, researchers, analysts, and writers, this massive opportunity quickly looks more like an expensive, nearly impossible task.

Enter: STATS. Only the correct data provider can help simplify the delivery of advanced analytics, real-time live updates, historical data, quality research and in-depth fantasy notes to fans of all 30 MLB teams. That’s where STATS’ MLB coverage steps up to the plate.

STATS is MLB’s official data provider and has a full slate of products that captures every moment during and surrounding the 2,430-game regular season before the month-long playoffs, ranging from the most minor of transactions to record-breaking player and team achievements. Whether using STATS PASS’ historical database tracking statistics back to 1876, or accessing unique advanced metrics through TVL data and STATS Video Solution, digital media outlets can fulfill any need necessary to satisfy fans’ MLB cravings.

And for the fans who want their baseball information in real-time? STATS’ data feeds provide not only some of the fastest but also most accurate in-game updates in the industry, which Northwestern University validated through a STATS-commissioned study. By tracking every pitch and producing the correct outcome within seconds, STATS is far and away the industry leader in delivering clients the tools necessary to set themselves apart during the MLB season.

The value of such high-quality, real-time data even extends to fantasy games and the outlets hosting a variety of leagues and contests. Fantasy baseball requires daily attention to player news and updates, injury statuses and performance trends to build the best collection of MLB stars. STATS’ serves digital media companies with daily, automated player notes and headlines through STATS Hosted Solution and up-to-the-minute in-game insights with STATS Widgets. It’s never been easier for clients to present relevant information in such an efficient manner.

That’s especially important for fans who have money on the line in fantasy baseball contests. STATS API produces award-winning Daily Fantasy Sports (DFS) projections available to digital media outlets looking to serve die-hard DFS players. Three times STATS has ranked No. 1 for most accurate baseball projections by FantasyPros and the Fantasy Sports Trade Association (FSTA).

Keeping focused throughout the long MLB season can be challenging and often requires a plethora of support tools to satisfy customers craving baseball data. STATS’ full suite of MLB products lightens the load for digital media companies and gives fans the means necessary to remain informed regardless of their needs.

Have a look at the MLB products STATS offers at

STATS’ Advanced Analytics Featured in Sirius XM NFL Radio Interview


STATS’ advanced analytics team is constantly developing new metrics to enhance player evaluation and team performance in college football and the NFL, and those efforts received more national recognition at the NFL Combine.

STATS’ Manager of Advanced Analytics Kyle Cunningham-Rhoads appeared as a featured guest on SiriusXM NFL Radio show Late Hits with hosts Alex Marvez and former college and NFL coach Rick Neuheisel to discuss STATS’ unique advanced metrics and its new product, X-Scout. During the nearly 17-minute interview, Cunningham-Rhoads explained some of the science and research behind a new wave of analytics changing player evaluation at all positions.

“Everyone has access to data, whether it’s the tracking data that comes from the NFL or the third-party data like STATS provides,” Cunningham-Rhoads said during the interview. “The difference we can make is we help teams get the most out of that data through all of these metrics.”

Cunningham-Rhoads and his team have made revolutionary strides in player evaluation, including efficiency metrics for offensive and defensive line and cornerback positions. STATS’ new X-Scout product is a result of game-tracking data – such as pressures allowed, pressures forced and defensive targets, among many others – that powers a model producing an efficiency metric based on a player’s position.

X-Scout will assist NFL teams as they lead up to the draft and player-selection process, while also helping clubs evaluate college players during the season. During the Sirius XM interview, Marvez and Neuheisel asked which cornerback STATS rated the best heading into the 2017 draft, and Cunningham-Rhoads said LSU’s Tre’Davious White, who was the fifth cornerback selected, and 27th overall by Buffalo. White validated that lofty ranking by tying all rookies with 18 passes defended and also intercepting four passes.

“We’re by no means saying, ‘You should pick this player,’” Cunningham-Rhoads said regarding X-Scout. “It’s more like, ‘Hey, here’s a list of guys you should be looking at, and here’s how they might fit into your existing system. X-Scout is not replacing the value of the scout, but rather augmenting their skills, and making it possible to see so much more than basic stats well in advance of the combine.’”

Marvez and Neuheisel also pointed out Las Vegas oddmakers didn’t have much confidence in Philadelphia to win the Super Bowl, listing the Eagles with only 40-1 odds to be crowned champions. However, STATS’ combined roster evaluation metrics ranked Philadelphia as the No. 1 team heading into the 2017 season.

Football Made For Media


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