NEW Interactive Rankometer!!

Hi there. I’m back from hibernation with my first interactive visual. Click on the image below and try it out! As always, comments / suggestions are appreciated.  (For those of you who may not be familiar with Rankometer and how it works, I’ve added a brief description further down in this post).

Rankometer is a tool that helps you get a quick visual snapshot of a team (in this case the pitching staff) by ranking each of its 5 starting pitchers and 2 best relievers. Rankometer is based on the philosophy of comparing players relative to their peer group and ranking them accordingly. For the starting rotation, we look at each team’s best starting pitcher (described in the first column as #1 STARTER) and rank them based on a chosen stat (in this case we are using an advanced metric called xFIP which is an adjusted earned run average stat). We do the same for each team’s second best starter, third best starter, and so on. The same is done for the team’s best 2 relievers (using a stat called Win Probability Added). With this basic ranking structure in place, we can select any team and see a visualization of how that team’s pitching staff ranks relative to other staffs in the league. Rankometer does this by shading a column below each pitcher on the chosen team, creating a graphic equalizer effect that indicates how good a pitching staff is (tall bars indicate high rankings, low bars indicate low rankings). One additional note: I’ve been updating the stats manually (I haven’t figured out yet how to do that automatically) so the data is a few weeks old.  In the future I’d like to have the data updated on a daily basis).

PlayerShaper looks at Ryan Braun

PlayerShaper looks at a player’s strengths across 4 key areas and measures those strengths relative to the rest of the league. For hitters, PlayerShaper looks at on base percentage, power, speed, and defense. Click on the image for a closer look!

Visualizing Game Score

You may have heard of Game Score, a Bill James stat that quantifies the quality of a pitcher’s start, incorporating a number of measures such as number of innings, runs allowed, strikeouts, hits, walks, and so on.  A score of 100 is about as good as it gets, and a 50 is about average.  Here are a few pitchers from 2010:

Is Andy Pettitte a Hall of Famer?

Hi there. I’m back after a prolonged offseason hibernation. Over the last several months there’s been a fair amount of the annual “Is he a Hall of Famer” debate. There’s the “the numbers tell me” argument, which tends to help players like Bert Blyleven. And there’s the “my eyes tell me” argument, which tends to favor players like Jack Morris. Here’s a fusion of the two, using our “eyes” to look at “the numbers” courtesy of Rankometer.

With Rankometer, we examine a pitcher’s career by visualizing how his WAR stacked up against his peers each season. Since a Hall of Famer should be performing at an elite level, we look at the top 30 starting pitchers in each season, since they would seemingly represent the “elite” (each team’s ace, the top 20 percent, however you want to look at it). So let’s take Rankometer for a spin and see what our eyes tell us.

Let’s first look at a first ballot Hall of Famer, Greg Maddux. What do my eyes tell me? He was the best among the best for a long stretch. Consistent dominance for an extended period of time. The big block of color says “Hall of Famer” to me.

Now let’s look at a borderline candidate, Mike Mussina. Rankometer reveals a lesser pitcher than Maddux, but still an elite pitcher for an extended period of time, with some off-years here and there. Hard to say with Mussina, but after looking at his Rankometer I am more of a believer.

Now, let’s look at Andy Pettitte. What do your eyes tell you when you look at his Rankometer? To me, the visual doesn’t come close to Mussina’s (let alone Maddux’s). I know we’re not considering his postseason resume, which this doesn’t capture (maybe a future revision could). But still, my eyes don’t tell me “Hall of Famer” when I look at this visual. What do you see?

Score Tracker compares the Giants and Rangers

Here’s a look at the Giants and Rangers, using Score Tracker to compare their wins and losses in the 2010 postseason. Like everything in Texas, the Rangers have done everything big, with only one game decided by 2 runs or less. In contrast, the Giants have been anything but Giant, taking more of a “conservationist” approach to their games. With the exception of their 6-1 loss and their 3-0 “blowout,” every game has been decided by 2 runs or less.

OCTOBOMETER AND THE YANKEES

Here’s a look at the New York Yankees batting order, comparing regular season OPS with postseason OPS. Cano and Granderson have stepped up, while a parade of Yankees (led by A-Rod) has shrunk from the limelight.

Paintomatic looks at the Giants Starting Rotation

Here’s a look at the San Francisco Giants’ starting three for this series. It’s unclear why the Giants flipped Matt Cain and Jonathan Sanchez, but after looking at Paintomatic it does make some sense. For the most part, Tim Lincecum and Cain throw the same pitches, at roughly the same velocity and with similar frequency.

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