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):
And here, not for nothing, are the laggards by that same measure:
The formula for pitcher NERD remains largely unchanged since last season — with the exception that ERA and xFIP have been replaced by park-adjusted ERA and xFIP (i.e. ERA- and xFIP-) for Greatest Precision.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:
• Swinging-Strike Rate (SwStrk)
• Strike Rate (Strk)
• Velocity (Velo)
• 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
• 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
Here’s the complete leaderboard for team NERD. A discussion of the components of, and formula for, team NERD follow below:
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
• 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.
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.
|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.
Carson Cistulli has published a book of aphorisms called Spirited Ejaculations of a New Enthusiast.