There's More To MLL Statistics Than Meets The Eye

PHOTO BY PRETTY INSTANT/JEROME MIRON

Clean saves lead to quicker outlets. The Machine scored on 39.3 percent of possessions following Bernlohr’s saves.


Advanced metrics enthusiast Joe Keegan, a database analyst by day and the brains behind Moneyball Lacrosse, charts every play of every game in Major League Lacrosse in search of statistical trends. His research this season debunks three misleading statements.

1. The best players don’t need picks to get their hands free.

Paul Rabil (New York Lizards) shoots 23.9 percent unassisted in one-on-one dodging situations. With a pick, 31 percent of the shots Rabil creates for himself find the back of the cage. Jeremy Sieverts (Denver Outlaws) jumps from 24.6 percent to 34.4 percent. Connor Buczek (Florida Launch) goes from 21.3 to 34.6.

2. Stopping shots is a goalie’s only job.

Save percentage and goals against average don’t paint the full picture of a goalie’s impact on a game. There’s so much more to the position: communicating slide packages, preventing rebound opportunities and throwing outlet passes.

Ohio Machine goalie Kyle Bernlohr made clean saves at a higher rate than anyone in MLL. Of his saves, 41.7 percent were clean, well above the league average of 31.1 percent. Clean saves lead to quicker outlets. The Machine scored on 39.3 percent of possessions following Bernlohr’s saves.

3. All passes are created equal.

Certain players produce better shots for their teammates than others. Passes from 2016 MLL MVP Tom Schreiber (Ohio Machine) are finished at a 40-percent rate. When faceoff man Greg Gurenlian (New York Lizards) feeds, his passes produce a 47.6-percent shooting percentage. Combined with assist-to-turnover ratio and unassisted shooting percentage, coaches can use these numbers to see who they should (or should not) slide to. 

This article appears as part of the “Myth Busters”​ package in the September/October edition of US Lacrosse Magazine. Don’t get the mag? Join US Lacrosse today to start your subscription.







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