Hey, its your weekly Expansion Draft Post. No, our normal writers didn't do this one either. Honestly, when people like you can do stuff like this, you will continue to push us to do better. We plan on it. For now I've added some tags, and made certain that you can easily find our other Expansion Draft posts, fanposts and fanshots.
Thanks to the excellent Sounder At Heart community, I've spent an unhealthy amount of time poring over the data provided by dave and sidereal. While trying to figure out who I would protect in the upcoming expansion draft, I developed a MEL script which creates a graphical representation of any statistical data set. Below is a visualization of the Seattle Sounders 2010 season statistics for league play.
In the first image (Salary Analysis), circle size (area) is dictated by player salary while the circle brightness is a function of age. For example, a young cheap player like Sanna Nyassi is a small white dot. An older player with a large salary like Kasey Keller is a large black dot. The green ring represents minutes played divided by eligible minutes under contract. The blue ring is player rating. Players are arranged left to right on the x axis based on starts and games played.
In this second image I tied circle size to Quality Minutes (player rating * minutes played) , brightness to PP90 and the green ring represents Offensive Output Percentage. OOP is the percentage of goals and assists that a player contributes. In this case I scaled the ring to equal 1 Montero unit, or roughly 25% of total team points.
*note that the green numbers indicate player points, not %.
Unfortunately we as MLS fans don't have a wealth of statistical information to work with. I would love to see Passes Attempted and Completed which is such a vital indication of overall quality. Soon my aching nerd heart will drink deep at the well of MLS soccer statistics...but for now I'll fill in the rest with my gut. More after the jump.
Looking at the charts above with my fan hat on, I see how undeniably productive the triumvirate of Steve Zakuani, Fredy Montero and Blaise Nkufo are for this team. Defensively: Keller, Riley, Leo, Alonso, Parke and Ianni are soldiers who have stayed healthy despite multiple mid-week games, dislocated fingers and collisions with Conor Casey. In the potential stars realm: Nyassi, Fucito, Flaco and Sturgis are all young and have tremendous upside. Just returning from injury: Jaqua is a big body that seems to have learned from Blaise how to better play target forward. We also have a best XI defender in Mr. Hurtado.
That's 15 players before we even start discussing whether Brad Evans has a career ending injury. Why must you break my heart Garber!!!
Now wearing my GM hat, I see a fantastic return on my investment dollar from: Montero, Zakuani, Leo, Riley, Ianni,Alonso, Parke, Sturgis and Nyassi. Not only are they collectively making less than our former Swedish midfielder, they are all relatively young for their position. Next I look at our veteran leadership: Keller and Nkufo, each with large contracts and only one more year before retirement. Jaqua has struggled with a chronic injury and has a sizeable contract, yet is our only other target forward option after Blaise retires. Flaco is an interesting case, as he has a fantastic PP90, looks smooth on the ball, great touch, high IQ, yet can't break into the starting lineup. Alvaro is certainly skilled but may not be rugged enough for the poorly officiated MLS game. Fucito is lacking a decent sample size and has shown a worrying proclivity for injuries, but his explosive speed and knack for scoring goals coupled with youth and a tiny contract make him very hard to expose. Hurtado is a stud.
Given the above reasoning my protected list is as follows:
1. Fredy Montero
5. Jeff Parke
7. Leo Gonzalez
8. James Riley
10. Sanna Nyassi
11. Mike Fucito
12. Nate Jaqua
It's a gamble to expose our 2 DP's (Blaise and Alvaro Fernandez), but given their expense and the fact that one will retire soon, while the other can't crack our starting XI, it seems a calculated risk to me. Keller is certainly risky and my fellow season ticket holder is not a fan of this one. I just don't see either team using a pick on an expensive player who may retire. Ultimately I may add Keller to the list in place of Fucito, it all depends on the needs of Vancouver and Portland. What do you think?