Introducing the 5 Tool Analyzer

Here’s a new visual that maps a player’s skill across the commonly accepted “5 tools” for position players.  This first graphic explains how it works:

Let’s take the 5 Tool Analyzer for a spin.  I was curious to see if I could find a player who was “perfectly average” in 2009 and I think I found him in Dave Murphy (he’s roughly at the 50th percentile across all 5 dimensions):

By now you’re probably wondering if there is a “perfect player” in baseball (a player who is the best across all 5 dimensions).  What I discovered was that most all-star players have at least one weak (or average) area.  But there were a few players who came close to perfection, and you’ll be surprised to see the one who came closest:

Chone Figgins was an intriguing example of a player who truly excels in all but one category (in his case power):

Adam Dunn’s visual map paints a classic portrait of an “all bat” player.  He has DH written all over him:

Jack Wilson represents the inverse of Dunn – an “all glove” player.

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Homage to Randy Johnson

Here’s a word cloud for Randy Johnson’s career strikeout victims.  Lots of batters abused by the Big Unit.

Josh Beckett’s 2009 Season

Continuing my “hot and cold” theme of late, here’s a visual of Josh Beckett’s 2009 season, with red indicating a quality start (minimum 6 innings pitched with no more than 3 earned runs allowed).  The squares represent innings completed, with earned runs allowed inside each inning.

How Red Sox Hitters Ranked in 2009

There’s been a lot of talk about how (and where) the Red Sox should upgrade their offense.  This visual paints a picture of the Red Sox lineup compared to the rest of the American League.  Note, Marco Scutaro is now the starting shortstop as of today.

Introducing the Rank-o-Meter!

A few days ago I posted some visuals showing the seasons of Zack Greinke, Felix Hernandez, and CC Sabathia.  I’ve made some changes to these visuals and wanted to share all three of them in succession.   I’m experimenting with something called the “Rank-o-meter,” (a bit cheesy, I know) which presents a simple concept: How hot (or cold) was a player relative to his peers.  Check out these three charts and let me know what they tell you about these three pitchers?  Did the Cy Young Award voters get it right?

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Bringing Visualization to Baseball

Baseball has been around for awhile.  Over a hundred years, with a VAST treasure chest of information and history.  As a baseball fan I’ve often wondered why there was so little visualization of stats and other information.  It seems like most of baseball’s rich history has been communicated through rows and columns of data.  Not that I have anything against numbers, but shouldn’t we have progressed beyond this approach by now?  I got curious about progress, and looked back at how things have changed in our society since baseball was invented.

Take a look at how little the box score has changed since 1876!  It’s really the tip of the iceberg in terms of how little innovation there has been in the sport’s design and communication of information.  My hope is to be part of a revolution in changing the way baseball is viewed and understood by its fans.

Let’s put the CC Sabathia talk to rest

Looking at CC’s 2009 season, and comparing it to the same visuals for Felix Hernandez and Zack Greinke (below), it’s not even close.  CC was great down the stretch and in the postseason, but WAY too inconsistent to win a Cy Young award.

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