The New Proving Ground
From Yosh Rau’s porch, Matty Marshall explains how the new stat rankings work, talks to Yosh about his legacy as one of the best back players to pick up a gun, and about what these new Statistics mean for paintball.
I can’t wait to see Yosh. I have something important to show him, and I’m chomping at the bit, jumping out of my car and rushing up his steps.
“Mattyho!” I hear, right as I raise my middle knuckle to rap a beat on the front door.
“Yoshio!” I holler, it’s the call/response greeting we’ve been saying back and forth for years. “Come this way. Beware the landmines,” Yosh calls from the side of his house, his voice booming through the wooden fence squaring off the yard.
I unlatch the gate, creak it open and Mongo, the massive 123 pound Presa Canario that patrols this yard, comes right at me. Lucky for me, I know this gigantic creature, and heeding Yosh’s advice, I step carefully in the tall grass, new growth from the recent rain. All around us San Diego is rare green; it’s been a wet winter here in the desert.
Two months have passed since I’ve really seen Yosh Rau, one of the best back players ever to play the game. We’ve both been out adventuring and working.
Our history runs deep, many lost nights in far off lands, many stories for when we’re old, and I’ve come over to catch up on our recent vivid additions to the memory banks, but today is different. I can’t contain my excitement; he’s the first person I get to show our new statistic rankings to. He’s ranked 12th out 112 players, not bad at all.
Yosh rocks back in a plastic chair, smiles wide, beaming his old soul into the low light of the early evening. I love Yosh. Everyone loves Yosh. He is un-hate-able, humble, intense, hardworking, intelligent, one of the best gunfighters in the world. He’s won over 40 tournaments, so far, which is a staggering number. Him and his team, Dynasty, have been playing together since they were teenagers and have defined the sport for the past ten years; all other teams are compared to them, when we’re talking about who’s the best. Yosh’s name has slowly become synonymous with the perfect Back Player archetype. I hear other teams saying things like “We just need a Yosh Rau” or “Just hold it down like Yosh”.
Yosh wasn’t gifted with speed or small size, like some of the other players on Dynasty, but he’s a very mentally tough person, and it’s through force of will and hard work that he’s put himself at the top of the game. Obviously he had talent, but talent only gets you so far.
His 30th year on earth is right around the corner, and Yosh is taking it in stride, without even a hint of this new “quarter life crisis” BS I’ve seen in a lot of my other 30 something friends.
“Dude, I want to show you something,” I say, pulling out my laptop and pulling up a chair.
Yosh’s always positive, sprite like girlfriend Melissa is there as well, sitting cross-legged in a chair with her high cheek bones framing a model’s smile seemingly permanent and wide, puffing gently on a cigarette like a 50’s starlet. The three of us crowd around in the dark on their backyard porch, the laptop light illuminating us.
“So what do you have for me?” Yosh says, like he’s about to get a present.
“Alright, I guess we should start at the Overall Player Rankings. Also, a few things to keep in mind as we’re looking at these numbers–some of them are just straight percentages and some of them are a percentage based on its relation to the league leader, so the leading number will become the benchmark 100%.”
I pull up the spreadsheet and dive right into it.
“This is the Leaderboard, with the overall leader at the top, their ranking number all the way to the right. Here are the six metrics that we use to determine who is the Top Gun and its corresponding weight percentage. They are: Win Rating (15%), G Rating (30%), Winfluence (15%), Survival Rating (22.5%), Points Played Rating (7.5%), and the Penalty Rating (10%). Each one of these metrics has a percentage of importance connected to them. When we created these percentages, we were trying to come up with balanced, weighted metrics by asking ourselves, ‘What are the most fundamental elements when defining a great paintball player.’ What do you think is the most important thing in paintball?” I ask Yosh.
“Winning. No, wait, shooting people, because you have to shoot people in order to win.” Yosh answers definitively.
“Right, so HOW important is shooting people, as a percentage? Well, we think it’s 30% important. So the G rating is worth 30% of the Overall Player Rating.
The next most important thing is winning. There are two metrics for winning—Win Rating, and Winfluence. And they’re both worth 15% of the Overall Player Ranking. So between shooting people and winning, that’s 60% of the total score.”
“Got it, yeah that makes sense, now what’s ‘Winfluence?”
“That actually simple, it’s your personal Win Influence, so if your team wins 50% of its points, but when you’re on the field you’re winning 75% of the time, then your Winfluence is 25%, because you’re winning 25% more than your team.”
“That’s badass. Great name.” Yosh says with a laugh.
“Yeah, love that one too. Wish I could take credit for it,” I say with a chuckle. “Ok, let’s start with an easy one, Win Rating. You’ve personally won 14 points out of 18 played and your winning percentage is 77.78%. The gross rating is 77.78, 15% of that number is 11.67, your net rating, which puts you in a three way tie with Zach and Dalton from your team. The only guy with a higher rating in the whole league is Ryan Smith from Houston Heat, but he’s has only played 6 points, five of which he won.”
“Well, that’s because we’re on the same line and our line was handling. And it looks like Heat should play that kid more. Because if you look at his Winfluence it’s the highest in the league,” Yosh adds with another laugh. He does this a lot.
We move on to the other categories–
G rating: With this section, every player is ranked in relation to the highest rating. So, Marcello Margott and Ryan Martin have set the bar; they are killing 1.07 players per point, so that would be 100%, though Ryan has played all his prelim games and Marcello has only played 2 games. That’s another thing to keep in mind, because of the Galveston rain out, some of these players haven’t finished their games for the prelims, that’s why it says ‘pending’ on the far left of the stat leader board. It’s going to be interesting as time progresses to see how things change. We will also have separate lists for Semis and Finals, because not all teams will be able to get to Sunday on a regular basis and it’s going to be fascinating to see what the numbers say as far as who the clutch players are, when it counts. To get the G Count Rating, you take the Player G count and their Points Played and figure out how many kills they are getting per point, then that average is weighed against the league leader to get a percentage.
Survival Rating: This metric is 22.5% of the overall player raking because we need to be rewarding the players who are staying alive. You have to be alive to kill people, right? This is especially important for Back Players. In fact, as we move forward we might have to increase or decrease this percentage when we break down the ratings for Front, Back and Mid player positions. It might be more than 22.5% important for a back player to stay alive and less for a front player. We’ll just have to see how it shakes out. In order to get this statistic you just take the Total Player Play Time and the Total Point Time in Player Games to figure out what percentage of the time they are alive during the points they play. It’s a simple percentage.
Points Played Rating: We needed to find a way to reward the guys who are getting a lot of reps out there, because it’s hard to succeed in paintball when you’re playing a lot of points and carrying the weight. This too is a simple percentage. You take the Player Points Played and the Team Points Played to figured out what percentage of the team’s total points is each guy is playing. So, for our number 2 ranked player, Ryan Smith from Houston Heat, this isn’t a good category because he only played 6 of 24 points, or 25% of the total points played. So he has a lower score in this category than the other guys in the top ten. But for a guy like Nick Leival, from Upton 187 cRew, this stat helps his rating because he’s played all 21 points so far.
Penalty: This is a direct negative to your overall score, how could penalties be anything other than a negative in the overall Rankings right? In order to get this metric, you take the Player Penalties and their Points Played to get their Penalty % of Points Played (PPPP). Here again, all other players are measured in relation to the league leader, which is Brandon Robinson from CEP, who’s getting flagged 17.65% of the time he’s on the field. A big number here can really drop you down some positions. Take Kyle Spicka from the Ironmen for example, who had 3 penalties in 4 games, and was penalized 10% of the points he played. His massive penalty rating dropped him down 12 spots in the overall ranking.
After we go over everything we just sit there for a few minutes looking at the big moon, heads spinning, going through our careers, trying to think what is would be like if this was around from the beginning. We talk on and on late into the night, telling old stories about all the different adventures we been on, all the different players we’ve played with, verbalizing being old and salty. Yosh doesn’t know how much longer here’s going to be playing, maybe 3 to 5 years at the most depending on how his body holds up and if he’s still having fun. We calculate how many days of paintball he’s played over the years—1700 days of paintball. 15 years at 45 weekends a year plus 15 extra tourneys plus 5 years of mid-week practice. To put that in perspective, he went to school for 15 years for 140 days a year, which is just over 2000 days. So in a few years he will have played more days of paintball than days he spent in school.
“What do you think about the stats?” I ask him.
“My first thought was how great of a tool it’s going to be for the players and coaches to make their teams better, but then I started thinking about this is going to create a whole new proving ground, one based on your actually performance instead of just other players opinion, or what color your shoes are. We’re going to find out who the best players really are,” Yosh says. And then finally, “Man, where was this ten years ago?”
“True man, so true, but it’s here now,” I say.