You don’t need to tell me that the Tewaaraton watch lists are not created based on statistics alone. And I’m not really upset at the players that are or are not on the list. By and large, I’m more of a “who cares?” kind of guy.
That said, one of the main virtues of our site is that we have all the games, all the plays, all the players in our database. And that means we can apply some objectivity to identify the players who could have reasonably expected to see themselves on the newly released list.
As a refresher, we rely on the concept of “expected-goals-added” a lot around here. In short, it is a measure, like WAR in baseball, that attempts to aggregate all a players contributions into a single number. Helps us to compare apples to oranges. Or in this case, unheralded defensemen against well-known defensemen.
EGA works by calculating an “expected-goals” number for each play that is based on how often a play occurs before a goal (either for your team or the other team). For an offensive player, a turnover has a negative EGA value. An assist is worth .5 goals. And so on.
By adding up all the plays that a player has made on the year (via the play-by-play logs), we can get to an EGA number for every player. And we can get a layer deeper, by counting up the EGA from defensive plays vs offensive plays so that everyone has a defensive EGA and offensive EGA number. (Of a FOGO EGA number if that is your thing.)
Matt Farrell – Holy Cross
And when we do that, we can see things like the fact that Matt Farrell of Holy Cross currently leads all players in defensive EGA with 1.41 and 4th among all defenders in total EGA with 4.08. Not on the Tewaaraton Watch List, but hey, who cares about on-field performance.
All told, across 4 games. He’s got 17 ground balls and 10 caused turnovers. More impressive than the raw numbers is that Farrell has ranked as high as 3rd on the Crusaders in terms of EGA in a single game.
And remember, that EGA includes both those highlight caused turnovers as well as the penalties incurred and the goofy turnovers from d-poles on clear attempts. A bit part of Farrell’s EGA-haul is the fact that he has not committed a penalty.
Clearly, this man is having an impact on his team that warrants consideration for the sport’s top award.
Austin Haynes – Delaware
In terms of top defenders, Delaware’s Austin Haynes is right up there with Farrell. He’s got 15 ground balls and 11 caused turnovers. He does have one penalty to his name, but all that is still enough to make him #2 in the country in terms of defensive EGA.
Against NJIT, his line totaled 1.84 EGA (7th on the team). In that one contest, he was a menace on the defensive end with 7 caused turnovers and 5 ground balls.
Show the man some love.
So how did they do otherwise…
Real quick, we should point out that the committee that created this list did have some home-run selections (and some whiffs). Here are the players that the committee selected along with their ranking in our top 100:
- Dylan Gaines (Denver) – Defensive EGA Rank: 2; Total EGA Rank: 15
- Johnny Surdick (Army) – Defensive EGA Rank: 4; Total EGA Rank: 3
- Cade Van Raaphorst (Duke) – Defensive EGA Rank: 10; Total EGA Rank: 11
- Craig Chick (Lehigh) – Defensive EGA Rank: 10; Total EGA Rank: 5
- Nick Mellen (Syracuse) – Defensive EGA Rank: 20; Total EGA Rank: 57
- Jack Rowlett (North Carolina) – Defensive EGA Rank: 34; Total EGA Rank: 6
- Isaac Paparo (UMass) – Defensive EGA Rank: 48; Total EGA Rank: 10
- JT Giles-Harris (Duke) – Defensive EGA Rank: 88; Total EGA Rank: 98
- Chris Fake (Yale) – Not ranked in top 100
- Ryland Rees (Stony Brook) – Not ranked in top 100
Narrative over Numbers
And there are more guys we could point out who might deserve a look next time around. Lafayette’s Stephen Sajer has accumulated the 5th most defensive EGA this year. Wagner’s Kyle Stofko, Marquette’s Nick Grill, Rutgers’ Kyle Pless, and VMI’s John Schmank were all in the our top-10 in terms of defensive EGA.
I get why the committee picked the players they picked. Some of it is no-doubt a reward for stellar play last year (i.e. Chris Fake). And that is fine.
But inevitably, a player in the lower tiers of D1 lacrosse is always going to have a harder time getting recognized for these sorts of extra-curriculars.
And that is where our no-emotion/no-context database can help.