PDC Stats Analyst Christopher Kempf assesses the top ten PDC stars - based on their last 200 legs played - ahead of the upcoming Mr Vegas Grand Slam of Darts.
#1 Averages - Ross Smith
#1 OChE - Gerwyn Price
#1 Doubles - Gerwyn Price
#1 171-180 - Ross Smith
#1 99, 101+ Checkout - Andrew Gilding
Despite averaging more than any other player in the PDC over their last 200 legs played, Ross Smith missed three darts to qualify for the Grand Slam of Darts and will need to wait another two weeks until the Players Championship Finals to redeem himself.
In spite of this, Smith finished the Players Championship season in some style, winning Players Championship 28 and averaging 98+ in each of his last nine ranking matches on the ProTour.
On top of this, the former European Champion continues to be the player with the highest output of 180s in the PDC by some distance, throwing at least ten more scores of 171-180 than even traditional heavy scorers like Dave Chisnall and Michael van Gerwen.
With a rise in averages of 1.64 over the past two weeks, Smith is on the verge of becoming one of only a handful of players [MvG, Josh Rock, Gerwyn Price and Luke Humphries among them] with a 200-leg average exceeding 100.
Nevertheless, Smith will have to wait until his first round match against Scott Williams at the Players Championship Finals to finish the job in Minehead.
Close on his heels, and finishing the European Championship as the most checkout-efficient player in the PDC is Gerwyn Price, who is currently on a pace to win 65% of his legs against ProTour opponents.
Having earned a day off after winning Players Championship 29, Price managed more than 50% accuracy for the tournament on his doubles and a 75% completion rate on his two-dart combination checkouts, leaving him with the best finishing percentage of any Tour Card Holder over the past 200 legs.
Two months ago, the prospect of facing Gian van Veen in a Grand Slam group may have inspired some anxiety among Price's fans, but the 2021 World Champion has regained the advantage over the young Dutch star with an average now nearly five points higher than Van Veen's.
Stephen Bunting secured qualification for the Grand Slam with an emphatic 111 average, easily dispatching Martin Schindler and pushing his average past the 98 mark and securing a top-five rank in the Form Guide for the first time.
Dave Chisnall, his opponent on Saturday's opening day at the Grand Slam, has a clear advantage in prize money and titles won in 2023, yet on the basis of their most recent performances, Bunting has the edge.
The former Lakeside Champion is currently performing at a standard that would win 60.8% of legs against ProTour opponents [the third highest in the PDC], versus 53.5% for Chisnall.
Having appeared in only four previous editions of the Grand Slam, Bunting is better positioned now on current form than at any previous time to finally reach a televised PDC ranking final.
The seeds most at risk of a group stage exit at the Grand Slam are Jonny Clayton and Nathan Aspinall, currently ranked 36th and 37th among Tour Card Holders for their last 200 legs in terms of averages.
Clayton in particular has had limited big-stage success since his appearance in July's World Matchplay final, where he lost to Aspinall at the Winter Gardens.
The Welshman has failed to advance to the quarter-finals of any European Tour event, on top of first-round losses in the World Grand Prix and European Championship to Ross Smith and Jose de Sousa respectively.
Aspinall has converted his averages somewhat more efficiently into legs won over his last 200 legs, but currently holds only the 48th highest doubles percentage in the PDC, suffering heavy defeats to Gerwyn Price and Michael van Gerwen on TV since his Blackpool triumph.
Aspinall's group contains both German hero Ricardo Pietreczko and Australian number one Damon Heta, both of whom currently have an advantage in averages against him - therefore advancing beyond the group stage may prove harder than reaching the final last year.
*OChE (Ordinal Checkout Efficiency) explained:
OChE is a metric designed to evaluate the efficiency at which players convert their averages into legs won.
The statistic is the % of legs a player would expect to win on the ProTour, calculated from a weighted average of 4,5, 6 & 7 visit checkout rates.
Follow Christopher on Twitter @ochepedia