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List of Sports Statistics

List of Sports Statistics

Sports statistics are becoming more and more important as the age of sport analytics grows. Coaches and managers are beginning to put more trust into the numbers and statistical analyses of sports data which is why understanding sports statistics will be crucial to understanding the games today as we know them. Listed below are just a few useful explanations of important metrics that are commonly used in some of the major sports.


Table of Contents


Football Statistics

  • Total Quarterback Rating (QBR): QBR is a commonly referred to statistic that measures how a quarterback performed overall in a football game. It is a complicated statistic, but is easy to evaluate, as the scale runs from 0 to 100 (158.3 = perfect passer rating). Some of the key metrics involved in the calculation of the quarterback rating include win probability, expected points, dividing credit to teammates, clutch index and defensive adjustment.
  • Yards After Catch (YAC): Yards after catch measures what it describes: the amount of yards a receiver gains after making a catch. This can be accumulated by any receiving player, so tight ends, running backs, and wide receivers tend to earn yards after catch. Be sure to not confuse this with yards after contact, which refers to the yards a player earns after the first touch by a defender after making a catch.
  • Sack: A sack is a defensive statistic that occurs when a defender tackles the quarterback behind the line of scrimmage before he can make a pass attempt, resulting in a loss of yardage for the offensive team. Players can earn half a sack (0.5 sacks) when multiple players contribute to the tackle that brings the quarterback down.

Soccer Statistics

  • Assist: An assist in soccer is earned when a player makes the pass that directly results in a goal for his or her team. Assists can take many forms, but are usually just the last pass to the player that scores the goal. An assist may also occur as the result of a rebounded shot from the goal post or goalkeeper.
  • Interceptions: Interceptions in soccer are similar but not quite the same as in football. A player makes an interception in soccer when they successfully get in the way of an opposing team's pass and maintain possession after blocking the pass attempt. If possession is not maintained then it is simply a block, deflection, or tackle.
  • Expected Goals (xG): An up and coming metric, expected goals measures the probability of scoring in any given possible goal-scoring situation, taking into account several circumstances unique to the play. Some of these situational factors include what type of shot was attempted, where the shot was, where the defenders are positioned, and many more key metrics.

Baseball Statistics

  • On-Base Percentage (OBP): On-base percentage is a measure of how often a player is able to successfully reach base. OBP is calculated by taking hits + walks + hit by pitch and dividing that by at bats + walks + hit by pitch + sacrifice flies. This provides a more accurate measure of how good a player is at reaching base on his or her own accord by dividing out the walks, hit by pitch, and sacrifice flies.
  • Slugging Percentage (SLG): Slugging percentage is a unique metric that shows how much of a "slugger" a player is: how much power a player has measured by how far they get around the bases. This metric is calculated by taking the weighted number of singles, doubles, triples, and home runs and dividing that by total at bats. The weights for each play are 1, 2, 3, and 4 respectively (gives more credit for HRs, less for just a single, etc.).
  • Runs Batted In (RBI): RBI is a useful metric that measures the number of runs that occur because of a players at bat. Whenever a player makes a hit and his or her teammate runs home, that is one run batted in. RBI accounts for all scoring scenarios except for when a runner scores as the result of an error.

Basketball Statistics

  • Field Goals (FG): Entirely different than the field goals in football, field goals in basketball represent any 2-point and 3-point shots. Aside from free throws, any points a player scores will come from a successfully made field goal attempt. By measuring field goals, one can calculate field goal attempts, made, percentage, and much more.
  • Effective Field Goal Percentage (eFG%): Field goal percentage is calculated by taking the number of 2-point and 3-point field goals made and dividing it by the number of attempts of those shots. Effective field goal percentage takes into account that a 3-pointer is worth more than a 2-point field goal, and weights it appropriately.
  • Real Plus Minus (RPM): RPM is a useful metric for measuring a player's input to a team's success based on his or her performance. Real plus minus roots from plus minus, which measures the net total of points scored by a player's team while that player is on the court. Real plus minus is effectively plus minus per 100 offensive and defensive possessions, which helps standardize the metric.

Hockey Statistics

  • Points: In hockey, points represent the total number of both goals and assists that a player records in a game, season, or stretch of play. Points provide a more extensive and overarching measure of how much a player contributes to his or her team's success by summing both goals and assists.
  • Power Play Goals: In hockey, a power play occurs when one team has an advantage over the other team because the other team has less players on the ice for a given amount of time. Power plays most often are the result of penalties that bar a player from the ice for a few minutes. Power play goals measures how many goals are scored during a power play.
  • Shutout: A shutout is a team and goalie related statistic that measures the success of the goalie and defense of a hockey team. A shutout occurs when a team allows no goals to be scored against them for the entire length of a match. This metric is generally attributed to the goalie since they are directly responsible for making goal-saving stops.

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