Mexicans Abroad: A look at their overall minutes

I wish I had practical and useful ideas. While others think of rational ways that would better their lives, I sit in front of my laptop and stare blankly at soccer statistics and scores. Recently, during one of my usual catatonic-like states of mind when looking at my screen, I realized that I haven't seen much in regards to overall minutes for our Mexicans abroad in Europe. Sure, I've seen minutes after games but I'm a child of the internet generation and wish to see lists and organized numbers. Perhaps even a multi-colored graph with overall minutes. These are the ideas I think of, not "maybe I should wash my car" or "I really need to start budgeting again."

Am I the man to do this? Am I the person who is right to crunch numbers and attempt to find answers from these perplexing digits? Maybe, maybe not, but keep reading if you want to follow along with my haphazard journey of numbers, broken abaci, and soccer.

Piojo has mentioned to the press that regular playing time is one of the more significant factors when selecting players. It's easy to assume that certain players have more minutes over others, but nobody every really talks about those exact numbers. Here are a few of my findings for overall minutes and by "overall minutes" I mean any minute played in their respective first division, second division, or cup tournaments, but not counting friendlies:

    1.  Carlos Vela-2938
    2.  Hector Moreno-2307
    3.  Guillermo Ochoa-2250
    4.  Anibal Zurdo-1849
    5.  Diego Reyes-1800
    6.  Andres Guardado-1705
    7.  Javier Aquino-1688
    8.  Gio dos Santos-1653
    9.  Hector Herrera-1607
    10. Gabriel Piccolo-1258
    11. Chicharito-1116
    12. Ulises Davila-1093
    13. Nery Castillo-747
    14. Tecatito-329
    15. Jona dos Santos-21
    16. Jonathan Espericueta-0

If you would like a cool-looking graph, that I unfortunately had to take a screenshot of and then upload with imgur, click right here.

Looking at the overall numbers, there are a few surprises but explanations as well. Diego Reyes has had a significant amount of time playing in Europe but that is due to his involvement with FC Porto B and the Taca de Portugal for FC Porto. If the list was just based on numbers with the senior Porto team, Reyes would have a total of only 270 minutes. Another interesting thing to note with Reyes as well is that every time he has played for FC Porto B, he has played a full 90 minutes. The same goes with his three games with FC Porto during the Taca de Portugal. Diego Reyes has never been subbed on or off during a game since his stay in Portugal. Another interesting note is Javier Aquino garnering more minutes overall than Giovani dos Santos. In actuality, during the regular season Gio has had more minutes than Aquino. The only reason Aquino has still gained more minutes overall is because of his involvement in the early stages of the Copa del Rey and Gio's injury in November. Chicharito's total of 1116 minutes is expectedly sad, but even more dismal when we begin to look at average minutes per call-up.

What I mean by "call-up" is anytime the player was selected to the roster for any game. It didn't matter whether they were a sub, on the bench, or starting, I counted that as a game. If they were not on the roster sheet for the match, I didn't count it. Here are the results for the average amount of minutes based on their call-ups:

Along with the average minutes, I also included the player's total call-ups in parentheses.

1. Guillermo Ochoa-86.5 min per game (26)
2. Hector Moreno-85.4 min per game (27)
3. Carlos Vela-75.3 min per game (39)
4. Anibal Zurdo-73.9 min per game (25)
5. Gio dos Santos-66.1 min per game (25)
6. Andres Guardado-63.1 min per game (27)
7. Javier Aquino-62.5 min per game (27)
8. Diego Reyes-60 min per game (30)
9. Gabriel Piccolo-59.9 min per game (21)
10. Nery Castillo-49.8 min per game (15)
11. Ulises Davila-45.5 min per game (24)
12. Hector Herrera-44.6 min per game (36)
13. Chicharito-31.9 min per game (35)
14. Tecatito-20.6 min per game (16)
15. Jona dos Santos-2.6 min per game (8)
16. Jonathan Espericueta-0

Want another cool graph for this list as well? Here you go.

There are no real surprises here either, we are beginning to get a sense that Ochoa, Moreno, and Vela are all vital members to their squads. Especially Vela who was easily able to collect 2938 minutes with his 39 call-ups this season. Another interesting thing to note is the serious lack of playing time for Chicharito who has had the opportunity to play 35 times but has only a 31.9 min average. At this point, you might ask yourself, well what about the average for their appearances on the field? I don't care if they were just sitting on the bench, how much time did they average every game they got to step onto the pitch? Well, my eager reader, I've got more numbers for you. Here are the average minutes based on appearances:

Appearances are placed in the parentheses.

1. Guillermo Ochoa-90 min per appearance (25)
2. Diego Reyes-90 min per appearance (20)
3. Gabriel Piccolo-89.9 min per appearance (14)
4. Hector Moreno-85.4 min per appearance (27)
5. Carlos Vela-77.3 min per appearance (38)
6. Andres Guardado-74.1 min per appearance (24)
7. Anibal Zurdo-73.9 min per appearance (25)
8. Gio dos Santos-68.9 min per appearance (24)
9. Hector Herrera-64.3 min per appearance (25)
10. Javier Aquino-62.5 min per appearance (27)
11. Ulises Davila-52 min per appearance (21)
12. Nery Castillo-49.8 min per appearance (15)
13. Chicharito-44.6 min per appearance (25)
14. Tecatito-29.9 min per appearance (11)
15. Jona dos Santos-7 min per appearance (3)
16. Jonathan Espericueta-0

Sorry friend, I didn't have time to make a pretty graph for this one.

What we are looking at here is the average minutes based on appearance. So essentially, the average amount of time per game, but only during the games when they had an opportunity to play. The numbers look fairly similar to that of the average minutes by call-ups by there are more interesting notes. For Ochoa and Reyes, it looks like every time they played, they played the whole game. The same can almost also be said for Gabriel Piccolo and Hector Moreno. This average still doesn't really help Chicharito's case for playing time though. Even when he gets a chance to play on the pitch, he still averages less than 45 minutes.

What we must remember when looking at these numbers is that, for the most part, we should take them with a grain of salt. Thirty-one year-old Anibal Zurdo has more minutes in Europe than Chicharito and Tecatito combined, but that doesn't mean he should be called up or is a better player. There are many variables when looking at these numbers such as: injuries, coach preferences, second-division play, and cup tournaments. Yes, Carlos Vela has more minutes than any other player, but maybe Moreno or Ochoa would have more if their respective teams had more opportunities to play as many games as Real Sociedad. Either way, it was genuinely interesting for me to see these numbers organized.

I'm no mathematician, so if you're reading this and are visibly angry at my methods, please create your own results. I'm not even being sarcastic, I would love to see other people crunch numbers and look at their results. Until then, I will just continue forgetting about washing my car but thinking of new "soccer ideas."

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