So, it’s a few years old, but in baseball, there is this thing called the Win Expectancy Finder. Basically, at any given point during a game, you can plug in the numbers and find out the expected probability of a win by either team.

So, the home team is up by one in the bottom of the sixth with men on first and second and two outs?

Historically, the home team will win 77% of the time

This leads to all kinds of fun (including graphs!). But the best part is this: using these numbers, we can find Win Probability Added, which determines exactly what any action taken on the baseball field added to a team’s probability of success. There’s a good explanation here. To sum up:

Let’s say our batter in the bottom of the ninth hits a single to put runners on first and third with no outs. This increases the Win Probability from 71% to 87%, for a gain of 16%. So, in a WPA system you credit the batter +.16 and debit the pitcher/fielder -.16. If you add up every positive and negative event from the beginning to the end of a game, you wind up with a total for the winning team of .5, and a total for the losing team of -.5. And the player with the most points will have contributed the most to his team’s win.

Now doesn’t this sound like something that could work for soccer? How, exactly, this would work I have no idea. Maybe someone is already doing it. Colin has probably been doing it for years. But if not, let’s get on it people.

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