Are star players over-rated in MLB? A key statistic—wins above replacement player—doesn't stand up to scrutiny

Credit: CC0 Public Domain In football, soccer and basketball, player quality has one obvious and inescapable metric: scoring touch-downs, goals, points. In baseball, it’s more complicated—it isn’t easy to directly associate a single player’s play with team wins. This is why “wins above replacement player” (WARP) has become so popular: It’s a statistic that manages…

Statistics sends strong signal to market: Sales stability creates long-run success, not just sales

It was a bittersweet triumph. Their model had been validated in the real world. Share prices of Wayfair—which had billed itself as “the Amazon of furniture”—had fallen 23 percent over one day after the company announced a fourth-quarter loss. Wayfair’s model was broken—and Daniel McCarthy’s model, created with Wharton marketing professor Pete Fader, identified the…

Richard Maunder obituary

My friend Richard Maunder, who has died aged 80, was distinguished in two separate scholarly disciplines: mathematics and musicology. His book, Algebraic Topology, first published in 1970, became a well-established textbook, and when his interests turned more fully to music he created a new version of Mozart’s Requiem that was controversial but led scholars and…

Can you solve it? Bigger! Faster! Heavier!

Hi guzzlers We use numbers every day to describe the world – distances, weights, speeds, debts, populations, and so on. Yet most of us struggle to have an intuitive sense of what these numbers mean. How big is big? How fast is fast? Today I’ve set a different challenge to my usual mathematical puzzle. The…