NERD Scores Return with Something Not Unlike a Vengeance

As of 1997, when the the author visited the latter, just the Great Wall of China and Fresh Kills landfill in Staten Island shared the distinction of being the only man-made structures visible from space. Visible from space neither then nor now — and also made by what the author’s wife regards as “half a man at best” — are the NERD scores one finds below.

Devised originally in response to a challenge issued by viscount of the internet Rob Neyer, and expanded at the request of nobody, NERD scores represent an attempt to summarize in one number (on a scale of 0-10) the likely aesthetic appeal or watchability, for the learned fan, of a player or team or game.

NERD for Pitchers: Leaderboard and Formula
Leaders and Laggards
Here are the leaders thus far by pitcher NERD (minimum 20 IP as starter):

Name NERD xFIP- SwStrk Strk Velo Age Pace Luck KN
Jose Fernandez 10 2.72 2.43 1.32 1.90 1.84 1.73 0.60 0.00
Stephen Strasburg 10 2.11 2.13 0.86 1.35 0.86 -0.07 1.00 0.00
Masahiro Tanaka 10 2.41 2.47 1.86 0.24 0.86 -1.32 0.05 0.00
Michael Wacha 10 1.24 1.35 0.75 0.88 1.35 1.73 0.00 0.00
Ervin Santana 10 2.01 2.77 0.94 0.53 0.00 0.43 0.00 0.00
Yordano Ventura 10 0.68 1.31 0.12 2.46 1.35 0.94 0.00 0.00
Zack Greinke 10 2.47 1.27 0.45 0.00 0.00 -1.15 1.00 0.00
Nathan Eovaldi 10 0.83 0.19 1.71 2.07 1.11 0.83 0.00 0.00
Alex Wood 10 1.55 1.05 1.11 0.00 1.35 1.05 0.00 0.00
Cliff Lee 10 1.55 0.24 2.14 0.00 0.00 1.11 1.00 0.00

And here, not for nothing, are the laggards by that same measure:

Name NERD xFIP- SwStrk Strk Velo Age Pace Luck KN
Paul Maholm 0 -2.03 -1.70 -1.91 0.00 0.00 0.55 0.35 0.00
Scott Feldman 0 -1.52 -1.78 -0.16 0.00 0.00 -1.60 0.00 0.00
Kevin Correia 0 -1.77 -1.91 -0.63 0.00 0.00 -1.26 1.00 0.00
A.J. Burnett 0 -1.21 -0.71 -1.85 0.00 0.00 -1.26 0.00 0.00
Hector Santiago 0 -1.47 -1.82 -1.60 0.06 0.62 -0.53 0.00 0.00
Miguel Gonzalez 0 -1.36 -0.84 -0.82 0.00 0.00 -0.58 0.15 0.00
John Danks 0 -1.82 -0.11 -1.02 0.00 0.00 1.22 0.00 0.00
Ubaldo Jimenez 0 -1.82 -1.52 -1.13 0.00 0.00 0.77 1.00 0.00
Bronson Arroyo 1 -1.87 -1.74 0.15 0.00 0.00 0.77 1.00 0.00
Kyle Gibson 1 -1.06 -1.27 -1.87 0.00 0.62 -0.02 0.00 0.00

Formula
The formula for pitcher NERD remains largely unchanged since last season — with the exception that ERA and xFIP have been replaced by park-adjusted ERA and xFIP (i.e. ERA- and xFIP-) for Greatest Precision. Below are the components included in its calculation:

• xFIP-
• Swinging-Strike Rate (SwStrk)
• Strike Rate (Strk)
• Velocity (Velo)
• Age
• Pace
• ERA- minus xFIP- (Luck)
• Knuckleball Rate (KN)

And here’s the formula itself:

(zxFIP- * 2) + (zSwStrk / 2) + (zStrk / 2) + zVelo + zAge + (zPace / 2) + (Luck / 20) + (KN * 5) + Constant

Notes
• Any variable preceded by a z represents the z-score — or standard deviations from the mean — of the relevant metric. The population used for determining the mean in this case includes all pitchers who’ve thrown 20 innings as a starter.

• Players are never assessed negative, but only positive, scores for Velo, Age, and Luck. Any number that would be below zero is simply rendered as zero. Note that Velo and Age are capped at 2.0; Luck, at 1.0. For science reasons.

• The constant at the moment is about 3.8.

NERD for Teams: Leaderboard and Formula
Leaderboard
Here’s the complete leaderboard for team NERD. A discussion of the components of, and formula for, team NERD follow below:

Teams NERD Bat HR% BsR Bull Def Pay Age Luck
Angels 10 1.12 2.38 1.78 0.19 1.14 0.00 0.00 0.74
Rockies 9 1.05 0.66 0.34 -0.05 1.74 0.73 1.32 0.00
Braves 9 0.00 1.49 0.28 2.23 2.27 0.26 0.54 0.00
Marlins 9 0.17 0.30 1.06 -0.68 0.64 1.55 1.32 0.39
Pirates 8 -1.06 1.20 1.50 0.11 -0.04 0.53 0.54 1.60
Rays 7 0.57 -0.22 0.62 -0.68 0.45 0.88 0.00 1.04
Brewers 7 0.22 0.28 -0.32 2.62 1.02 0.53 0.00 0.00
Astros 6 -1.73 0.79 -0.21 -0.52 -1.88 1.62 2.09 1.03
Giants 6 0.09 1.75 -0.55 0.81 -0.39 0.00 0.00 0.00
Dodgers 5 0.42 0.66 -0.55 0.11 0.84 0.00 0.00 0.23
Twins 5 0.69 -0.11 0.17 -0.29 -1.03 0.58 0.54 0.00
Athletics 5 1.50 0.87 -1.98 0.58 -0.84 0.85 0.00 0.00
Indians 5 -0.29 -0.79 1.11 0.26 -1.29 0.60 0.00 0.81
Blue Jays 5 -0.03 0.79 0.01 -0.60 0.24 0.00 0.00 0.33
Nationals 5 0.66 0.31 -0.93 1.13 -0.53 0.00 0.54 0.00
Mariners 5 -1.85 0.25 -0.71 -0.44 0.79 0.68 1.32 0.93
Yankees 5 0.13 -0.57 1.28 0.03 -0.69 0.00 0.00 0.00
Cubs 4 -1.81 -0.34 0.73 -1.15 0.30 0.09 0.54 1.51
Reds 4 -0.29 -0.58 0.06 -1.86 1.96 0.06 0.00 0.68
Tigers 3 0.25 -0.12 -0.32 0.11 -0.85 0.00 0.00 0.00
Red Sox 3 -0.33 -0.08 -1.37 1.13 -0.81 0.00 0.00 1.01
Orioles 3 -0.32 -1.05 0.23 -0.21 -0.39 0.18 0.54 0.00
D-backs 3 -1.56 -0.81 -0.93 0.42 -0.26 0.44 0.00 2.00
Rangers 3 -0.07 -1.36 0.84 -0.60 0.11 0.06 0.00 0.00
White Sox 3 0.53 0.47 -1.71 -1.93 -0.91 0.00 1.32 0.00
Padres 3 -2.11 -1.05 0.84 0.03 0.74 0.75 0.00 0.38
Mets 3 -1.96 -1.16 1.44 -0.60 0.72 0.60 0.00 0.00
Royals 3 -1.37 -1.79 -0.55 1.13 1.35 0.55 0.54 0.00
Phillies 2 -0.36 -0.76 -0.55 -0.91 -0.06 0.00 0.00 0.00
Cardinals 1 -1.08 -1.38 -1.59 -0.36 0.19 0.10 0.54 0.00

Formula
The formula for team NERD — and that formula’s assorted variables — are all below.

Here are the components included in its calculation:

• Park-Adjusted Batting Runs Above Average (Bat)
• Park-Adjusted Home Run Rate (HR%)
• Baserunning Runs (BsR)
• Bullpen xFIP (Bull)
• Defensive Runs (Def)
• Payroll, Where Below Average Is Better (Pay)
• Batter Age, Where Younger Is Better (Age)
• Expected Wins, Per WAR, Minus Actual Wins (Luck)

And here’s the formula for team NERD:

zBat + zHR% + zBsR + (zBull / 2) + (zDef / 2) + zPay + zAge + (Luck / 2) + Constant

Notes
• As with pitcher NERD, any variable preceded by a z represents the z-score of the relevant metric — in this case, relative to averages for the whole league.

• Teams are never assessed negative, but only positive, scores for Pay, Age, and Luck. Any number that would be below zero is simply rendered as zero. Note that Luck is capped at 2.0.

• The constant for team NERD is currently at about 4.0.

Today’s Highest-Rated Game
Cleveland at Los Angeles AL | 22:05 ET
Justin Masterson (28.0 IP, 87 xFIP-, 0.3 WAR) faces Tyler Skaggs (28.0 IP, 100 xFIP-, 0.4 WAR). With regard to the Angels, it would appear as though their poor-ish record at the moment (11-13) has little to do with the quality of the club’s field players. To wit: they’re second in the majors by park-adjusted hitting (113 wRC+) and first overall in batter WAR (6.2). The club’s starting pitchers, meanwhile, have skewed decidedly more mediocre.

Readers’ Preferred Broadcast: Cleveland Radio.

Today’s MLB.TV Free Game
Oakland at Texas | 20:05 ET
Sonny Gray (32.0 IP, 84 xFIP-, 0.8 WAR) faces Yu Darvish (28.0 IP, 91 xFIP-, 1.1 WAR). Of note regarding the latter: while, for much of last year, his overall excellence more than compensated for his very slow pace, that’s less so the situation thus far in 2014. Neither Darvish’s park-adjusted xFIP (91 xFIP-) nor his swinging-strike rate (9.7%) are even half a standard deviation better than average.

Readers’ Preferred Broadcast: Texas Radio.

Complete Schedule
Here’s the complete schedule for all of today’s games, with our very proprietary watchability (NERD) scores for each one. Pitching probables and game times aggregated from MLB.com and RotoWire.

Note: the following table is entirely sortable.

NERD Thing

Away   SP Tm. Gm. Tm. SP   Home Time
Jeff Samardzija CHN 5 5 4 4 3 CIN Alfredo Simon 19:10
Sonny Gray OAK 6 5 5 3 5 TEX Yu Darvish 20:05
Jake Odorizzi* TB 7 7 5 3 3 CHA Andre Rienzo* 20:10
Yovani Gallardo MIL 2 7 6 1 10 STL Michael Wacha 20:15
Franklin Morales COL 3 9 5 3 6 AZ Wade Miley 21:40
Justin Masterson CLE 7 5 6 10 4 LAA Tyler Skaggs 22:05
Tyson Ross SD 5 3 6 6 7 SF M. Bumgarner 22:15

To learn how Game NERD Scores are calculated, click here.
* = Fewer than 20 IP, NERD at discretion of very handsome author.

We hoped you liked reading NERD Scores Return with Something Not Unlike a Vengeance by Carson Cistulli!

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Carson Cistulli has published a book of aphorisms called Spirited Ejaculations of a New Enthusiast.

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NERD scores warm my heart and feed my soul.