Thuuz Moneyball

Clayton Kershaw. Player with the lowest Thuuz cost-per-point excitement cost

Clayton Kershaw. Player with the lowest Thuuz cost-per-point excitement cost

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The film Moneyball describes how a small market Major League Baseball club was able to build a contending team on a minimal budget. With the help of advanced statistics designed to reveal the true value of each player’s contributions to winning, the Oakland A’s and their GM Billy Beane were able to select players who might be overlooked in traditional scouting. This controversial approach inspired radical changes to professional baseball, turning scouting into less of an art and more of a science, as management learned that wins could be had much more cheaply if money were spent on the most productive types of players.

Over the course of a season, Thuuz rates each Major League Baseball player’s Excitement Quotient (EQ) based on how much he contributes to game excitement. Contributions can include big hits, spectacular steals, and masterful pitching – but just as important is the clutch factor. Does the “filthy pitch” strike out the side with the bases loaded? Does the big hit come at a critical moment, turning a likely loss into a sudden victory?

Inspired by the release of Moneyball, we thought it would be interesting to see which players earn their keep by providing the most excitement for the fewest dollars. The formula is simple – each player is rated from 0 to 100 on the EQ scale, measuring their game-by-game excitement contribution over the season, with the average player scoring a 50. We then look at the above-average players and divide their 2011 salary by any EQ points above 50. This provides a metric revealing the cost per point of excess excitement contributed.

The top player in baseball in terms of this excitement metric is Cy Young candidate pitcher Clayton Kershaw of the Los Angeles Dodgers, with an “Excitement Cost” of $59,240. Other young pitchers hold down the next dozen or so spots, before we reach the top position players: Mike Stanton, outfielder for the Florida Marlins, and Alex Avila, catcher for the Detroit Tigers, at $110,722 and $115,791 respectively.

Below are the National and American League “All-Excitement” 25-man rosters, based on Excitement Cost data collected through September 12th, 2011. To ensure that all positions are represented, the teams require five outfielders, two catchers, at least one infielder at each position and the highest scoring remaining players. The National league requires 12 pitchers and the American League 11, of which at least 5 must be starting pitchers. The teams are formed by selecting the most economical players in terms of Excitement Cost to fill each of these roster spots.

The cost for each of these teams comes in below 19 million dollars – about half of the lowest payroll in the league, and less than 1/10th of the highest.

NL Pitchers

Kershaw, Clayton
Kennedy, Ian
Vogelsong, Ryan
Venters, Jonny
Worley, Vance

Troy Tulowitzki.

Troy Tulowitzki.

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NL Infielders

Sandoval, Pablo
Duda, Lucas
Roberts, Ryan
Morse, Michael
Walker, Neil
Hanigan, Ryan
Tulowitzki, Troy
Iannetta, Chris

NL Outfielders

Stanton, Mike
McCutchen, Andrew
Morgan, Nyjer
Fowler, Dexter
Smith, Seth

AL Pitchers

Masterson, Justin
Fister, Doug
Holland, Greg
Alburquerque, Al
Hellickson, Jeremy
Sale, Chris
Robertson, David
Pineda, Michael
Walden, Jordan
Pestano, Vinnie
Romero, Ricky

AL Infielders

Avila, Alex
Hosmer, Eric
Hannahan, Jack
Moreland, Mitch
Kotchman, Casey
Sizemore, Scott
Wieters, Matt
Ackley, Dustin
Cabrera, Asdrubal

AL Outfielders

Joyce, Matt
Thames, Eric
Ellsbury, Jacoby
Gordon, Alex
Cabrera, Melky

Most Exciting games from the MLB in 2011

Pitch-By-Pitch Results From 2466 Games Numerically Analyzed for Pace of Game, Parity of Teams, Novelty of Action, Shifts in Momentum, and Overall Context

PALO ALTO, CA–(Marketwire – Nov 1, 2011) – Thuuz Inc., platform provider of real-time sports excitement apps and alerts, today announced the Top Ten Most Exciting Games of the 2011 Major League Baseball Season and Postseason. Thuuz has rated the most exciting games of the season based on formulas that take into account not only what happens, but when it happens, rewarding the teams who come through in the critical moments, who turn the tide of a game with the key hit, pitch or steal at the key moment, who amaze us when the game is on the line. Late rallies, big comebacks, commanding performances on the mound and critical blow ups make this countdown of the Top Ten games not to be missed by any baseball fan.

#10 Kansas City Royals (12) @ Los Angeles Angels (9); April 3

Matt Treanor hit a walk-off 3R HR to win it for the Royals in the 13th inning. There were a total of 8 HRs in this early season slugfest, 5 for the Angels and 3 for K.C.

royals-angels 2011

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#9 Milwaukee Brewers (7) @ Colorado Rockies (6); May 20 Tied at 5 after 9 innings, both teams scored in the 13th. The Rockies then scored in the top of the 14th, however the Brewers responded as Prince Fielder ended the game with a walk-off 2R HR in the bottom of the 14th.

#8 Minnesota Twins (1) @ Chicago White Sox (0); May 3 Francisco Liriano threw a no-hitter despite walking 6 and only striking out 2. Good thing because his team only provided one run of support. A less glamorous but more suspenseful no-no than Verlander’s or Santana’s.

#7 San Francisco Giants (5) @ St. Louis Cardinals (4); April 8

“It’s obvious we’re not retiring torture.” — Bruce Bochy. This game had Giants written all over it. Brian Wilson blew a save and the lead in the 9th inning, but Pablo Sandoval tied it in the bottom half. In the 12th, Albert Pujols dropped a grounder, Nate Schierholtz beat a would-be game ending double play, and then Aaron Rowand hit a bases-loaded single to win it.

#6 Boston Red Sox (3) @ Baltimore Orioles (4); Sep 28

Boston’s September record was 7-19 going into this final game of the season. With a lead of 3-2 going into the 9th, it seemed Boston might salvage what would have been a monumental late season collapse. Jonathan Papelbon struck out his first two batters, but then surrendered two doubles and the game winning single to Robert Andino, who said, “To make Boston go home sad, crying? I’ll take it all day.”

red sox orioles


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#5 Los Angeles Dodgers (6) @ Arizona Diamondbacks (7); Sep 27

The Dodgers scored five in the top of the 10th inning, but the D-Backs responded with a six run bottom half, including a walk-off grand slam by Ryan Roberts on the first pitch he saw from Javy Guerra.

#4 Arizona Diamondbacks (6) @ Cleveland Indians (4); June 28

The Indians were down 2 heading into the 9th when Carlos Santana hit a 2R HR to tie the game. However, the Tribe didn’t manage to stay tied for long, as pinch-hitter Wily Mo Pena sent the crowd home happy with a walk-off 2R HR in the bottom of the 9th.

#3 Florida Marlins (6) @ Washington Nationals (5); May 13

Aside from being exceptionally exciting, this game featured two of the most memorable plays of the year. The Marlins scored 3 times in the 1st, but by the end of the 4th, the game was tied at 4. Then, Roger Bernadina made the catch of the year on a 2 out connection by Mike Stanton: The Marlins scored the go-ahead run in the 11th on Omar Infante’s nifty head-first slide into home, where he evaded the catcher’s tag by stopping his momentum and reaching over and around the catcher to touch home plate before being tagged. Excitement, back and forth action, one of the best catches of the year, and a remarkable slide. This game had it all.

#2 Tampa Bay Rays (8) @ New York Yankees (7); Sep 28

On the last day of the regular season, down seven runs in the 8th inning, Tampa Bay mounted a surreal comeback, scoring 6 in the 8th, and then a 2-out, 2-strike homer in the bottom of the 9th to send it to extras. In the 14th inning, four minutes after the Red Sox had blown a 9th inning lead to the Orioles, Evan Longoria hit his second home run of the game, dooming the Red Sox and clinching a wild card berth for the Rays.

#1 Texas Rangers (9) @ St. Louis Cardinals (10); Oct 27

Arguably the best World Series Game ever played. The Rangers held leads on five separate occasions over the course of the game and even had the Cardinals down to their very last strike on two separate occasions, but couldn’t close the deal. David Freese played hometown hero with a game tying triple in the bottom of the ninth and a walk-off home run in the bottom of the eleventh — an unlikely hero yielding an unlikely outcome on a team that looked as unlikely as any to make the Postseason in the first place. The overwhelming suspense and surprise made this game the clear stand-out of the year.

World Series Rangers Cardinals Baseball

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Note: Thuuz sent out real-time alerts for the above games, on average, during the bottom of the 6th inning.

Special mention must also be given to September 28th as the best day of the Major League Baseball Season, the night the Wild Card was decided. The trio of match-ups of Boston-Baltimore, New York-Tampa Bay and Philadelphia-Atlanta were absolutely phenomenal. Moreover, the coincidental timing of each of these games led to drama that has rarely been seen in a single night of baseball. The Yankees-Rays game shows up at #2 on our Top Ten list. The Red Sox-Orioles game shows up at #6. While the Phillies-Braves game doesn’t appear in the Top Ten, it also packed a punch as the Phillies put up a run in the ninth inning to send the game into extra innings and then won it in the thirteenth, eliminating the Braves from Postseason play.

In addition to compiling the Top Ten Most Exciting Games, Thuuz has compiled results ranking the Most Exciting Individual Performances in a single game, the Most Exciting Individual Players over the entire season, as well as the Most Exciting Teams of the 2011 Major League Baseball Season and Postseason. Complete details can be obtained by sending an e-mail to