Wednesday, June 5, 2019

Top Performer of '19: Santos

Pedro Santos recorded the highest rated game of any Columbus Crew player last weekend in his first time out in injured Federico Higuain's number 10 position.

His performance was energetic, fast and direct - a stark contrast to Higuain's more methodical approach. Neither approach is right or wrong, per se, but you have to be incredibly good at what you do to take a more surgical approach. Santos' direct and fast approach gets attention because it is exciting! And he almost won the game for the team, to boot.

There is a dark side to the way Higuain plays, however. Slow and methodical is a close cousin to old and slow.  Santos is no spring chicken either at 31 and we may not see that sort of outburst from him again now that he will likely be playing it week in / week out.

Who Scored gave him a 9.15 rating against NYCFC. That's impressive. Anything in the nines means it was a special night. No other player has recorded anything over 8.5 in Columbus.

9.15 Pedro Santos (Week 16)
8.44 Zack Steffen (Week 2)
8.43 Federico Higuain (Week 12)
8.34 Robinho (Week 12)
8.29 Gaston Sauro (Week 3)

Good performances can be a little random and a little lucky so one thing I like to look at, particularly in MLS, is which players are having either really good outings or really bad ones while discounting the middle/average results. This is similar to the way a lot of survey companies look at data. It's also how some companies calculate customer satisfaction scores (or Net Promoter Scores).

The Net Promoter Score is calculated by subtracting the percentage of customers who are Detractors (or bad performances) from the percentage of customers who are Promoters (outstanding performances). For purposes of calculating a Net Promoter Score, Passives (average performances) count toward the total number of respondents, thus decreasing the percentage of detractors and promoters and pushing the net score toward 0.

What this math results in is a range from +100 to -100. Anything over +50 is great (+70 is outstanding, but no Crew players there). 0 to +50 is fine. Anything in the negative is bad.

Outstanding performances = 7.00 and up. Bad Performance is 6.00 and below.

NPS Score

+53 : Pedro Santos

+33 : Gyasi Zardes
+29 : Federico Higuain
+27 : Waylon Francis
+20 : Harrison Afful
+19 : Robinho
+15 : Artur
+13 : Wil Trapp
+11 : Josh Williams
+9 : Gastón Sauro
+7 : Héctor Jimenez

0 : Zack Steffen
0 : Connor Maloney
0 : Jon Kempin
0 : Lalas Abubakar
0 : Ricardo Clark

-11 : Justin Meram
-13 : Jonathan Mensah
-20 : David Accam
-25 : David Guzman
-33 : Eduardo Sosa
-40 : Luis Argudo
-43 : Niko Hansen
-50 : Patrick Mullins
-67 : J.J. Williams
-100 : Joe Bendik

Highlighted above are three regular starters that are performing not all that well. Interestingly enough, two of Porter's guys. I also called out Artur and Trapp. Both don't appear to be hurting the team but the interesting thing is that Artur was the one benched when maybe they should just split time. Trapp being captain (and the face of the team) prevents that, but a good benching might not be the worst thing for him right now.

One last thing about Santos. I think it is pretty remarkable that he is improving the way he is. This isn't to say he was as bad as prominent Crew fans (Twitter, Big Soccer, Reddit) would have you think. He came on to the team as a good player and played well. He's growing into the league and team. Something a lot of good/great players never seem to be able to do (or care to). I believe that a good chunk of this has to do with Federico Higuain and the culture he brings with him.

We shall see where this takes the team. They still have a ways to go this year. I'll consider a 10 goal, 10 assist year for Santos a huge win. He has it in him.

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