Thursday, March 8, 2012

The Positives and Negatives of Plus/Minus

Just a couple of nerds.
Sports aren't just for jocks anymore: the nerds are taking over. The nerdification of sports has become so mainstream that Brad Pitt starred in a baseball movie about stats, not baseball. Thank Moneyball.

After reading Moneyball a few years ago I began to heavily read about sabermetrics and became a full-blown disciple of Bill James. For my upcoming fantasy baseball draft I've been looking at advanced stats to see who is likely to regress and who is the real deal. I'm really nerding out and loving every minute of it. I still have to make notes to myself reminding me not to draft B.J Upton, because no matter what some stats say, there are still some players that draw me in. Likewise, I will select multiple Blue Jays way before any sane person would select them, but the heart wants what the heart wants.

My love of advanced stats has only somewhat transferred over to hockey, and my knowledge is still very much in its infancy, but I am trying to incorporate more than just goals and assists into my evaluation of players. I find I spend much more time scanning before writing a post that either trashes or praises a player because I don't want the nerd squad to throw someone's corsi rating in my face.

As my search to cram my head with more hockey knowledge than useful life skills continues, I've taken a bit of a harder look at some traditional stats that I was once willing to accept. One of the primary stats I've grown skeptical of is plus/minus, which I previously used to solely inform my opinions about a player's defensive worth. However, I'm not ready to totally disregard plus/minus, which might brand me a leper among the fancy staters, but I don't care.

Today's post at The Good Point looks at the situations when plus/minus can be informative, as well as when it is absolutely worthless.

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