German Open (tennis) Championship final analysis

An interesting, unpredictable final ahead at 9am ET today, as Italian’s top tennis player and an Argentinian who upset no less than Roger Federer in the semifinals do battle.
Fabio “Fogna” Fognini is World #19,, a clay specialist, with a conterpunching style. He is the #12 seed in this tournament. 
Here are his cycles:

He has played much of the 9 day tournament in a triple-high phase, and only in these last 2 days his mental game has been quite off and failing. His competitive fire is still quite strong today, tho his athletic ability and focus will be average at best.

Federico Delbonis got in the tournament as a qualifier and has had quite the magical run through the 5 matchups thus far in the tournament. He ranks as the World #98, and the #8 player out of Argentina.  This is his first time in an ATP final. Here are his cycles:

His tournament has seen him play more of a finesse style to be successful, relying on more of his emotional and mental strength.  He’s at the top of his game in terms of wisdom, and his power is slowly returning to par, tho still below average today.

Measuring their 2013 stats:
Delbonis has the edge in every service-based category.  On the return side, Fogna has nearly every category except for % of break points converted.

They have one head-to-head matchup, tho this was at the Qualification level. Delbonis won in 3 sets.  He led in every category except for 1st serve % (68 to 61).

I’m giving this match to Delbonis in 3 interesting sets. The crowd wlll be somewhat partisan but the excitement will be rather large today.

Home Run Derby prediction

As usual, I take a rather unusual but insightful approach to figure who is the best at hitting home runs, at least at CitiField. Why don’t some of these players go on tour in, say, October or November at different stadiums to really determine who’s better and who’s best? Get the leading (available) home-run hitter from each club to participate.

Here are the stats I’ve seen about CitiField’s HRs:
Fun fact: When game time temp was 90 degrees plus, only 15 HRs have been hit here. One game saw 2 HRs; that was on 7/5/13, with the temperature at 91. Cole Hamels of the Phillies surrendered HRs to David Wright and Scott Hairston.

Robinson Cano has 2 HRs here in 61 PAs. with a ..561 SLG, pretty high up for his park average.  His Fear Factor stats (see my earlier post on my unique sabermetric stat) for CitiField are: Contact: .819. BpH(bases per hit) 1.882. FF: 462.407, an oustanding mark. This high number suggests he’s very capable, in a normal game with a normal pitcher, able to make contact and hit the ball out at CitiField on just about any pitch.  Lifetime stats: Contact: .811  BpH: 1.639. FF: 398.76. OffVl%: .515.  Very balanced hitter for average and power.   Lifetime record of one HR for every 94 pitches seen.  
55% of his lifetime HRs are pulled, 37% up the middle, 8% are opposite field.
Both of his CitiField HRs came in 2012, 6/22 (deep RF) and 6/24 (deep CF) , both off Miguel Batista, with an estimated true distance of 440 for each. The homer to RF would have been out in all 30 ballparks. 
Here are his biorhythms for today: From
Never mind that this is a  critical physical day with an upward swing. This is actually the best place for a home run hitter, as the hits are going to feel effortless. Robinson probably will not have a real gauge as to his real strength or feel tired, or anything. Pure athletic ability is on the rise and on the high side, and looking good for tonight.

Prince Fielder:  lifetime contact average is .673, BpH: 1.866. FF: 376.86. OffVl: 38.27%,, a very free swinger.
He averages one HR every 73 pitches.
49% of his HRs are toward CF or the power alley, 43%, pulled, and 8% opposite field.  17% of his HRs are line drives.
CitiField history: 1 HR in 45 PAs, SLG of .333, ranking near the bottom for all parks (only Nationals Park gives him a worse SLG, .323). The one HR came in 2011, August 20, vs. Chris Capuano,, hit 424 feet pulled toward the RF pole, out in every ballpark.  FF stats:  contact .577. BpH: 1.332 for a rock bottom FF of 230. CitiField might as well be Kryptonite for his game.
Biorhythms for Fielder:
Mixed bag here; Mastery of the plate is in pretty good shape tonight for him. The strength is there but waning, and he might have trouble judging even the BP pitches tossed to him. Doesn’t look good for tonight.

Chris Davis: contact average .615, BpH 1.91 for an FF of just 352.39.  Off Vl% is .42.3, a free swinger. Not going to scare too many pitchers as he can’t connect that much.  Averages 1 HR every 69.9 pitches.
36% of his HRs are pulled, with 54% sprayed, and 10% to the opposite field. Only 4% of his HRs are line drives.
CitiField history: No HRs in 8 PAs,  0-for-8 with 4 Ks.
Hmmm. This is practically a triple-critical day, very rare to experience the cycles like this, and it’s safe to see he’s not going to be in touch with his athletic self at being in a void. That can work both ways, whether he hits everything he sees (his physical cycles IS going up after all) or he’ll make some terrible swings with no judgement, no sense of being ‘locked-in’. Real tough to gauge tho I might give some benefit of doubt considering that cycle….then again his poor record at this ballpark kinda evens things out.

Yoenis Cespedes lifetime contact .701 average, BpH of 1.774, for an FF of 373.07, respectable. Off VL% is .445, so he swings and misses more often than usual. He hits one HR for every 85 pitches. 
60% of his HRs are hit straight-away or the power-alley, 36% are pulled, and 4% hit to the opposite field.  27% are line drives.
Never batted at CitiField.
Under the influence of two critical days in a row, and a downward physical cycle, this does not look good at all for Yoenis’s chances. Average, to be fair, but average at best.

David Wright: Your host HR hitter has these careet stats: Contact: .695. BpH: 1.681, for an FF of 350.48, which is rather average. Off VL: 45.6%.  At CitiField: Contact: .673. Bph: 1.604. FF: 323.847.  So he’s actually even less of a HR threat in his home ballpark!    He has just 37 HRs at CitiField, one out of evey 36 PAs.
He’s averaging 1 HR, every 106 pitches.
35% of his HRs are pulled, 47% are sprayed, 18% to the opposite field,  10% of his HRs are line drives.
2009 (first year at CitiField): Average distance was 404 feet, longest being 434. Each HR had plenty in it. 4 of the 5 would be HRs in each ballpark.
2010: Average HR distance was 403, Longest was 447. (Wanna see it? Sure you do!) Mixed bag of pure distances. 8 of the 12 hit would have been out in all 30.
2011: Averaged 397 in distance,, longest was 432..3 of the 5 would be out in all 30 ballparks.
2012: 12 HRs, with an average of 403, longest being 434. One HR would be good in all 30 ballparks this year, averaging 21 ballpark-clearances this year
2013: 3 HRs at home this year, averaging 406 feet, long is 427. all 3 would be out in 28+ of 30 ballparks, one 30 of 30.

Looking pretty good for Captain America, with mastery of the strike zone intact, even with a waning physical cycle and a high mental cycle at that. Have to like his chances, along with the home park advantage of sorts.

Pedro Alvarez: Contact: a very low .593.  BpH: 1.858, for an FF of 330.53, fairly low. Off Vl%: .415, the mark of a free-swinger.  Averages one HR every 83 pitches.
48% of his HRs are pulled, 44% are sprayed, and 8% go to the opposite field.  11% of his HRs have been line drives.
CitiField:  2 HRs in 43 PAs at this ballpark, for an SLG of .568, ranking among the top ballparks he hits in. He’s gonna love it here.  The 2 he hit were: 9/25/12, going 420 ft to the opposite power alley, out in all 30 parks; and 5/9/13, a distance of 433, pulled to right field, out in all 30 as well.
For all his good stats here, he’s just not in form to make it happen, while he’s in the midst of a triple-low.  I think he might survive the first round. But, these exhibitions do take some endurance by the time if and when you reach the final.
Michael Cuddyer: Contact average: .723 (average for the league), BpH: 1.682, for an FF of 364.82, slightly above average. Off VL: .483, very balanced hitter. Gotta love players who can hit for power and average and not miss much.
Averages one HR every 117 pitches. 
53% of his HRs are pulled, with 42% sprayed, and 5% to the opposite field.  12% of his HRs are line drives.
CitiField: No HRS in 12 PAs here, and, in fact has an SLG of .100 (1 single in 10 ABs). CitiField does not suit him at all.
Cuddyer is approaching a triple-low himself and already having a long negative physical cycle, reaching its nadir today. Cannot expect him to advance out of the first round.

Bryce Harper: Contact average: .692.  BpH: 1.824, for an FF of 378.662   Off Vl%: .406, definitely a free-swinger.
One HR every 93.6 pitches.
33% of all HRs hit to the OF were pulled, 54% are sprayed, 13% to the opposite field.  17% of his HRs are line drives.
CitiField: Bryce has the most HRs of any visiting player in the bunch, with 3, coming in 41 PAs,, and an SLG of .697 5th best among the parks he has hit in.  What are his FF stats here?   Contact: .682.  BpH: 2.093.  FF: 428.22, very high. 
Here’s what happened in his 3 HRs at CitiField: 
7/23/12: 410 ft to straightaway CF, out in 26 of 30 parks.
4/20/13: First HR went 433 to the power alley in RF,  out in 29 ballparks. Second HR went 423 to about the same location, out in 28 of 30.
Yes, waning stats, but still has enough power to be a force tonight.

Now to put this all together!
Best HR/PA ratio at CitiField: Harper. Worst: Cuddyer.
Best SLG at CitiField: Harper. Worst: Davis.
Lifetime contact average. Best: Cano. Worst: Altuve
Lifetime Bases per hit average. Best: Davis. Worst: Cano.
Lifetime Fear Factor. Best: Cano. Worst: Altuve
Pitches per HR: Best: Davis. Worst: Cuddyer
Longest average HRs at CitiField: Best: Cano. Worst: Wright
Biorhythms: Best: Cano. Worst: Cuddyer & Harper.

And here’s how I rank the 8 thusly:
Finalists: Cano over Harper.
Advancing to the 2nd round but no further: Davis, Fielder.
All others will fail to get to the 2nd round.


What is the toughest golf course for majors?

I was somewhat amused at ESPN’s Scott T. Miller’s latest missive for the website, outlining with real journalistic arrogance the one golf course that deserves to be considered the toughest true test of golf.  It just happens that the course he ranks is the host of next week’s Open Championship.   Skewered stats, anyone?

For my own sabermetric take, I used the same sample of years Scott focuses on, 1953-2012 (also 2013 for Augusta National), and the same courses, and measured each course based on the final score of 4-round play, inclusive of all majors, and the Seniors and Women’s opens. I include the average score, number of tournaments, and the score’s relation to the course’s average par score, again, inclusive of all majors.

Oakland Hills: 279.87/8 (-0.13)
Winged Foot West Course: 279.8/5 (-0.2) (average par 70)
Oak Hill: 279.57/7 (-1.57) (average par 70.28)
Oakmont: 280.66/9 (incl. US Women’s Open) (-3.34) (average par 71)
Royal St. George: 276.6 over 5 tournaments (-3.4)
Baltusrol: 278.85/7 (-3.43) (par average 70.57)
Pebble Beach: 282.5/6 (-4.16) (par average 71.66)
Olympic: 279.14/7 (-4.26) (average par 70.85)
Southern Hills: 275.22/9 (including Tour Championship) (-4.78)
Carnoustie: 281.14/7 (-5.14) (average par 71.57)
Muirfield: 278.5/8 (-5.5)
Royal Lytham & St. Annes: 279/13 (-5.92) (average par 71.23)
Royal Birkdale: 280.64/14 (incl Women’s British Open) (-6.2) (par 71.71 average)
Augusta National: 279.19/63(-8.81)
Royal Troon: 276.16/6 (-10.48) (using par average of 71.66)
St. Andrews: 277/12 (-11)

*Winged Foot: East Course: 294.33/3 (used in US Women’s Open, Senior Open) (average par: 72. Score:+6.33)

Yes, there deserves to be a big ol’ * next to Winged Foot East Course as it didn’t host a men’s major…yet even the men’s majors proved to be very competitive in relation to par. So why doesn’t that course host more majors? Well it seems the golf club proper does host the US Open in 2020, and that will be one to savor, regardless of which course it is.

Men’s final, Wimbledon 2013 analysis

Born some 1300 miles and one week apart, the top 2 seeds in the gentlemen’s draw do battle at the game’s most prestigious tournament.
Andy Murray is, of course, the UK’s great hope, He had not dropped a set until the quarterfinals, and that day saw him comeback 2 sets down to triumph.
Novak Djokovic, world #1, hadn’t dropped a set himself until the semifinals, going the distance vs Juan del Potro.
Here’s a head-to-head and biorhythmic look at the matchup:

This is the 19th meeting, the first taking place in 2006,  which was the ATP Masters in Spain. Djokovic has a match record of 11-7 overall, with a set advantage of 27-21. He managed to score the only bagels (6-0 score) between them. This happened twice early in their matchups.  Tiebreaks are split 5-5 between them. They’ve gone to a 5th set 3 times, twice in the Aussie Open, once at Forest Hills.  Currently, Djokovic has won 7 of the last 10 sets, and the last 3 matches.  This is their 2nd meeting on grass, a matchup Murray won 7-5, 7-5, enroute to a gold medal victory at the London Olympics.
I have interest in picking out some stats from the head-to-head stats to find any trends that seem to present themselves:

1st serve: Novak in wins has ranged 44-68% in wins, 57-68% in losses.  Murray 66-71% in wins, 41-63% in losses. There’s a very clear demarcation line there, needing to get the first serve in better than 63%.

1st serve pts: Novak ranging from 66 to 83% in wins, 53 to 75% in losses. Murray in match wins has led this category with 69-85% range, and 50-79% in losses. So for Novak, he needs to get  beyond 75%, and Murray beyond 79%. 

2nd serve pts: In wins, Novak has a range of 44 to 68%, with 29 to 71% in losses. Some overlap there.  For Murray, his range in wins is 47 to 62%, with 25 to 58% in losses.Loo ks like Murray needs 59% then to win in this category. 
Break points saved: Novak in wins has a range of 57-100%, with 16-80% in losses, so he must save at least 80% to guarantee a win. Murray in wins ranges from 50-66%, with 37 to 75% in losses.

1st serve return points: Novak in wins ranges from 28 to 50%, and 15 to 44% in losses, so he must get past 44% for a win. Murray in wins ranges from 32 to 46%, and 16 to 36% in losses, so we know Murray must get past 36%.

2nd serve return points: Novak in wins ranges from 45 to 69% and 37 to 75% in losses. Murray: 48-70% in wins, 28-62% in losses.

Break points converted: Novak in wins: 25-62 %. Losses: 33-50%   Murray: 45-80% in wins, and 0-83% in losses.

Total service points won: Novak is 57-73% in wins, 46-59% in losses.  Murray: 57-70% in wins, and 40-67% in losses. So Djokovic needs at least 59%, Murray 67%.

Total return points won: Novak is 32-59% in wins in this category, and 29-42% in losses. Murray: 40-54% in wins, 26-42% in losses. So both players needs 42% or higher in this category.

Hopefully there’s some good trends here for you to follow.

As for biorhythms:

These two weeks have been rather interesting for the #2 seed. Started tournament on a triple low, just easing out of it with a mental critical day 1 day in, while sweeping round 1. On July 3, he   had the physical critical day, coinciding with the grueling 5-set match in the quarterfinals, with the mental game all the while as strong as it ever has been for him.  Emotional critical day fell during the semifinals match (remember his plea to keep the game going minus roof without delay after 3 sets?).  Now he’s in a triple high period and he should be at the top of his game.


Novak started the tournament with supreme athletic ability and passion, not dropping a set until the semis. Went through a double critical day, affecting him in rounds 2 and 3 but you’d hardly notice that in the results.  Mental critical day came on 6/30, before his 4th round.  Since then, mental game has soared, and his passion has seriously waned, bottoming out 2 days ago.  His athletic ability is rather average but gaining only slightly.

Murray in 4 exciting sets. 



Sprint Cup NASCAR at Daytona (analysis/prediction)

Halfway through the Sprint Cup series, a look at Daytona’s famed super-speedway course and the important stats to help determine a winner.
Wins: 14 active drivers carry a win here, Jeff Gordon has 6, Tony Stewart 4. Trevor Bayne with his lone win coming in just 5 starts.  Winless: Mark Martin (55), Terry Labonte (60), Michael Waltrip (50)
Top 10s: Labonte has 26 Top 10s out of 60 races. Schrader 22 of 45. Dale Earnhardt Jr. is 15-27. Matt Kenseth 13-27. Kurt Busch 12-25, Carl Edwards 8-17.
Laps turned without win: Terry Labonte 9941, Martin 8596, Schrader 7058, Bobby Labonte 6597,, Joe Nemechek 5000.
Laps led without win: Schrader, 298, Martin 273, Kurt Busch 239, Denny Hamlin 217, Terry Labonte 158.
Best average finish, 3-race minimum: Dale Jr (14.0), Clint Bowyer (15.5), Terry Labonte (15.6), Gordon (16.1), Kevin Harvick (16.5).
Running at finish: Terry Labonte 49-60. Mark Martin 43-55, Michael Waltrip 39-50, Jeff Gordon 36-41, Ken Schrader 34-45. Kurt Busch only missed 1 finish in 25 races, Denny Hamlin perfect in 15.
Lead lap finish: Martin 32-55, Gordon 31-41, Terry Labonte 31-60, Schrader 28-45, Burton 27-39.  Clint Bowyer has a great reputation at 80% here, 12-15.
Predicted top 10:

1 Bowyer
2 Kenseth
3 Ricky Stenhouse Jr
4 Kahne
5 Paul Menard
6 Kyle Busch
7 Martin Truex Jr
8 Greg Biffle
9 Michael Waltrip
10 Carl Edwards