Examining Triple Crown noms, comparing to Future Wager picks

The nominations for this year’s Triple Crown series have been announced.  I studied the list of 368 horses to look at which horses made the cut and which ones matched the key horses I examined out of the Derby Sire Future Wager from November.  Here were my bets from that wager, plus the odds, and key horses that drove me to place bets on the sire and which ones are in or out.  For the wager, I get all of the 3YO nominated progeny, not just the key ones.  Examine the list for yourself at http://www.brisnet.com/brisnet_promos/TC16PPs
UNCLE MO  (9-1)    Key:  Nyquist (in), Uncle Walter (in), Mo Tom (in), Abiding Star (out), Forevamo (in), Junkers (out), Little Schmo (out), Uncle Brennie (out), Uncle Jerry (in), Uncle Jimmy (out), William Crofty (out).
Others receiving noms: Uncle Lino, Uncle Guy, The Big Mo, Southwest Trail, Sea Wizard, Rally Cry, Prospectus, Outwork, Name Changer, Mo Power, Mo For The Money, Little Mo, Laoban, Conquest Superstar. 19 total
Nyquist was 9-1 in the first FW pool.
TAPIT (7-1) Key: Mohaymen (in), Tathqeef (in), Acoustic (out), Gray Sky (in), Hollywood Don (out), Rafting (out), Tarpon Bay Road (in), Tusk (out) .
Others: Ziconic, Tasit, Synchrony, Royal Obsession, Lani, Kismet’s Heels, Hot Item, Hint Of Roses, Cupid, Creator, Conquest Big E, Adios Reality. 16 total.
Synchrony is 96-1 from the FW pool, Mohaymen 11-1, Conquest Big E 39-1
HARD SPUN (37-1): Key: Young Brian (out) , One Legend (out), Donation out), It’s All Relevant (in), Nana Looch (out), San Dimas (out), Spin Cycle (out).
Others: Memories Of Winter, Hardly Home, Black Ops.   4 horses total
None were in Pool 1, so all these would be worth 3-5 from the field selections.
BERNARDINI (11-1):  Key: Greenpointcrusader (in), Regalo (out), Rachel’s Valentina (out)
Others: Zulo, Shagaf, Seymourdini, Saltini, Sail Ahoy, Moon Gate Warrior, Gulf Of Mexico, Forever Bernardini, Enroute, DIrect Message, Battery, Active Management. 13 horses total.
Sail Ahoy was 45-1 in Pool 1, Greenpointcrusader 28-1
KITTEN’S JOY (40-1): Key: Oscar Nominated (out), Smarty Kitten (out), Camelot Kitten (out)
Others: Catapult, Billy’s Kitten.  2 total. Both did not appear in Pool 1.
So I have 54 different horses of  the 368 that were nominated.
Thus far, all horses from the standard 23 in Pool 1 were nominated.
In other news, I’ve decided not to enter the NHC Tour, owing to the overall costs of entry fees at different events, and learning there will be only 5 free online tournaments in the year.   The entry fees for most of these events start at $50 per. I wish I had deeper pockets to invest in these contests. I have to wonder whether those who commonly bet $10 per race like I do are just getting priced out.

Next podcast will be published next week, timed to air prior to Super Bowl Sunday

Santa Anita race selections 1/24/16

As I return to handicapping, I’m taking a random track, this one being the Great Race Place, and am seeing how I do while I prepare for the NHC Tour.     I’ve just completed selections in the last hour, so all analysis will be posted on Twitter at @idealisticstats. Here, then, are the numbers:
Race 1: 5-1-2
Race 3 (skipping race 2): 4-5-7
Race 4: 2-3-4
Race  5: 6-4-3
Race 6: 4-8-1
Race 7: 6-3-1
Race 8: 6-7-4
Race 9: 2-3-10

I went to my older quicker system to get these selections done.  My newer system I put more stock in, which is inspired by several recent books I’ve read on expert handicapping.

The podcast will return at some point in February when the Enlightened Trails resume in mid-February.  It’s possible it may arrive sooner, such as for a notable sporting event, in which case I’ll alert you on the main page.

Baseball HOF vote reaction, and today’s NFL game scoring trends

Once again going without podcast for a week; some weeks are just much slower than others.
I do have a reaction to the BHOF&M vote tho plus NFL playoff predictions in focus today.
Very pleased to see Piazza get in convincingly. Griffey by all accounts was an absolute lock.  I feel that the 20% decrease in voters, removing the writers that don’t toe the line and keep voting, was the defining impact. There were less votes per ballot but at least the quality of writers are better than before.   Notice the big increase from the leading steroid accusees: Bonds and Clemens received increases of over 10%.  McGwire’s open admission of guilt may have cost him in the long run, tho he remains in the game.  He faltered in his final year with 12%.  Maybe it’s that lack of admission of guilt that keeps the most questionable players in the process. No news is good news, right?
We’re into the strongest classes in voting history. 5th ranked player in the voting is over 60% for the 3rd straight year.
Curious why Bagwell is a just miss; he’s a can’t miss for me.  Jeff Kent, on the other hand, doesn’t fit in at all here.
My 10: Piazza, Bagwell, Raines, Clemens, Bonds, Schiling, Mussina, Walker, Sosa, Griffey.   From the alternate ballot: Piazza, Bagwell, Clemens, Bonds, Mussina, McGwire, Sosa, Sheffield, Griffey, Hoffman.    Ultimately I agree on 7, and go by positional strength for the remainder, which does make Hoffman a standout player.
The top 2 players in MVP Shares from this ballot got in, Piazza with 3.15, Griffey with 3.2  By that logic, the players who are next should be Bagwell, Bonds, Clemens, Sosa and Sheffield. The glamor stat of HR/PA rules: Piazza with 18.13 was only bested by Griffey with 17.94, Bonds with 16.54, McGwire’s 13.13 ,and Sosa’s 16.24
I wish the ballot were broken up by position so that there is a fair amount of ballots for each type. Hoffman is the better RP than Billy Wagner, but not by much, and yet he doesn’t quite get in. I get it; there are so many batters on the ballot and so few relievers. There has to be a better playing field of a ballot in the future.  Until then, some biases by position will remain.
Per baseball-reference.com 36 players will be up for balloting in 2017, 21 new shooters. Among them: Ivan Rodriguez, Manny Ramirez, Jason Varitek, Vladimir Guerrero, Tim Wakefield and Magglio Ordonez would seem to stand out.  But I haven’t done the numbers yet. When we get closer to HOF weekend, I’ll take a closer look.
For today’s NFL playoffs, here’s what I’ve come up with:
Offense: 3.9, 8.3, 5.0, 9.0
Defense: 4, 5.7, 2.3, 7.6
Offense: 3.9, 8.5, 5.1, 9.7
D: 4.6, 6.4, 1.8, 6.8
Offense: 5.6, 7.8, 5.7, 6.7
D: 2.3, 4.3, 4.7, 5.8
O: 4.5, 8.3, 5.8, 5.8
D: 1.9, 4.9, 4.2, 5.1

Trend: Both sides with improving offense in 2Q, Pitt further improves on defense in 4Q and finds a way to win then.

O: 6.32, 8.2,3.9, 7.1
D: 4.3, 4.7, 3.7., 5.4
O: 6.7, 7.2, 4.2, 6.;9
D: 3.4, 4.4, 3.3, 7.8
O: 4.3, 4.7, 5.0, 8.0
D: 4.5, 8.2, 3.1, 4
D 4.6, 6.0, 5.5, 6.3
D 3.4, 7.0, 2.4, 3.9

Trend: Stronly defensive game, Houston better on D in the 2nd, both sides pitching shutouts in 4th as well.

2016 Baseball Hall Of Fame ballot analysis

Time again to see what the Baseball Hall of Fame ballot is about for the new year.   Need I remind you that I do like to judge based on the stats more than character.  The fact is, there are a lot of cheats and malcontents that are already voted in.   Pete Rose should belong for his true hustle and character on the field and not for his off-field character.  Apparently, he did make some in-game decisions that affected his own gambling, and he did bet with his own team in mind.  So, that’s reason enough for me to ignore him.  But you know something? He’s already in the Hall. The Museum part, anyways.   Jesse Spector’s good column in The Sporting News explains. 
But is this enough? Does he deserve to be voted with recent and longtime veterans for a plaque to go along with that?  To get lauded by thousands at Cooperstown with current Hall of Famers? To make a speech?  We have to believe that the powers that be at MLB and the BHOF&M do not want this spectacle. I don’t want Pete to be put on that pedestal. It’s enough that his positive contributions are already in the Museum.
As for steroids, I say there was already no precedent set before these players came along to do so.  There been bulked-up players, sign stealing mechanisms, all sorts of shenanigans going on forever in this game.  You always try to gain an edge, even a perceived one.   Ultimately, I say, put them all in the Hall, or at least on the ballot, with the exception who have been strongly alleged or found to have deliberately hurt the spirit of the game.   Bill Pennington’s story for the New York Times explains the infamousness of the HOF:
Too late to take down the plaques of lauded individual ballplayers. It should be enough that enough players have a place in the Museum itself. Not just the HOF’ers, either, but those who owned the moment, one moment, that changed the game.

WIth that typed, I’ll present my reasoning for the players I selected in two forms.
Firstly, I drew from 10 categories pulled from www.baseball-reference.com
First 4 sections deal with leading the league and being in the top 10 of the league in various categories, plus 2 sections by Bill James presenting a de facto approach. I can remember first reading about this in his 1983 Baseball Abstract.
Next there are the WAR and JAWS stats, emphasizing wins added to a team and also strength in numbers by position.
Finally there are the number of years by age and career a player’s total output has resembled prior HOF players’ stats at the time.
The top 10 players with the most top ten appearances of each player across the 10 categories

category are those that I chose for my mythical ballot.  As with the actual ballot, it does not discriminate by position.
I post at the bottom of each category the ‘threshold’ number that it would take to be on the doorstep and also in the HOF.
I have no real issue with these 10.  Maybe Trevor Hoffman, but it’s because he’s had an outstanding RP career, and yet his WAR is so much less than others. It’s not for a lack of trying; he’s merely a specialist.  Specialization can’t be measured against players who are in the lineup all the time.    Griffey is a mortal lock, as is, yes, Bonds and Clemens.  Larry Walker continues to get overlooked, as does Sammy Sosa; both are quite deserving.  Lee Smith shouldn’t have been on the ballot this long; his numbers are weaker in comparison even to other relievers here.  Best of the rest along those I haven’t selected are Edgar Martinez and Alan Trammell.
It took 5 top 10 showings to make it into the HOF based on these numbers.  I had to separate Mike Piazza from Gary Sheffield. It was kinda close but here’s my reasoning:
Sheffield does have edge in terms of leading leagues in more categories. Piazza is very close in numbers in terms of both WAR and JAWS. The kicker was the similarity by age.  Piazza had 11 seasons in which the closest player in stats resembling his own at the time. All were catchers: Fisk at age 24, Dickey ages 29-37, Yogi 37-38.  Also Javy Lopez 25-28.
For Sheffield, he has just 2 seasons: Gary Carter at age 22, and Duke Snider at 34.  After age 30, his career closesly resembles Chipper Jones, plus Bagwell for 1 year.   Chipper is first eligible in 2018. If he gets in, that would make it easier for Sheffield for certain.   Does Chipper belong with this year’s ballot?  His Black and Grey Ink stats are too low. The HOF Monitor and Standards definitely fit in here.  His WAR and JAWS also are rather high.  7 similar batters to HOFers, but none by age. His top 10 at age 40 tho does provide great comparison.  To sum up, I’d put Chipper in, and Sheffield thereafter.
Here’s the attached spreadsheet for my standard mythical ballot:

Last  year I created an alternative set of categories, one that represents old and new stats that properly play into the fame quotient.  The main approach I used was to proportionally cast ballots by position based on the percentage of positions represented.  One sector for all offensive players, one for starting pitchers, one for relievers. Truly the real life balloting should be segmented this way, otherwise decent relievers have no chance against all-or-nothing super sluggers.  I’d truly want to see all positions have their own balloting. Hopefully that will make the Hall more fair for catchers and other positions that are often underrepresented.
The attached spreadsheet contains these categories:
Games/games played/finished: Playing into the longevity factor as a basis for fame.  Nomar is particularly a non-factor here while it helps the causes of Lee Smith, Curt Schilling and others.
WPA/LI bat/pitch stats: Best examples of # of wins given to team based on leverage index stat, measuring pressure involved to win said games.  Makes for a better case for Sheffield in this manner and much less o for Trammell.
MVP Shares are voted on by the BBWAA members, same ones as in the Hall.  The shares are a good accurate indicator of whom really belongs.  That helps out Hoffman for sure, and not so much Mussina or even Tim Raines.  Same case for CYA Shares, giving Hoffman an edge against other relievers at least.
Number of franchises: In this era of sports, the lower number of teams played for, the better.    That factore strengthens the case for Bagwell, Edgar Martinez, Trammell and McGwire. Not so for 8-team veteran Lee Smith or Sheffield.
K/BF, HR/PA. Power stats, simplified.  Billy Wagner averaged 3.01 K/BF, a strikeout an inning, considering every batter faced. Hampton was more of a control pitcher, explaining his 7.08 ratio.  The glamour stat of HR/PA certainly helps Piazza, McGwire (13.13!) and Sosa.
Postseason games played: Some love for Jim Edmonds, 64 games in all, 50 for McGriff, 49 for Kent.
My Fear Factor stat is the best marriage of power and contact accuracy, putting emphasis on the batter/pitcher conflict.   Interesting that Nomar leads all those on the ballot, with the usual suspects not too far behind.  The pitcher equivalent of the stat makes a better case for Billy the Kid than usual, as does Lee Smith. Schilling and Mussina seem weaker in comparison to their counterparts on the ballot.
I took the top 7 batters and watched for who fell in the top 10 in their categories the most, and added the top 2 SP, and the top reliever.
There is a definite consensus between the two ballots, with 7 players I’d green-light to Cooperstown.  6 more are question-marks, in on one but out on the other: Sheffield, Schilling, Hoffman, Raines, Walker, and McGwire.