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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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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Do Baseball Players Need Shrinks?

Here’s a look at the difference (psychologically) between being baseball’s best and worst teams.  A Yankee player leaves the ballpark with a high probability of a win (and a smile on his face).  In stark contrast, a guy toiling away for the Nationals leaves the ballpark with a frown on his face two-thirds of the time.  What’s interesting to note, though, is that even the very best teams still lose a lot, supporting the old adage that baseball is truly a game of failure.

2009 happiness meter

2009 New York Yankees Season at a Glance

Here’s a look at the World Champion New York Yankees 2009 Season.  In a sport where even the best teams suffer their share of ups and downs, the Yankees played remarkably well for the vast majority of the season, especially in the second half.  If it wasn’t obvious enough, the red color indicates the team playing well, and blue representing a slump (measured by week-to-week win percentage).

2009 yankee season

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Pettitte and Hamels in the Postseason

This graphic shows the postseason track records of tonight’s Game 3 lefties.  The experience factor is clearly in Pettitte’s favor, but what’s most remarkable is the number of quality starts he’s given the Yankees over the last 14 years (shown in red).  An amazing run, including this postseason’s 3  quality starts over the Twins and Angels.  Note, Hamels did not submit a quality start in any of his 3 outings this postseason.  The track record points to a win by Pettitte tonight.

pettitte and hamels

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Phillies pitching vs. Yankee hitting

Here’s a graphic which matches the Phillies Game 1 and 2 starters – Cliff Lee and Pedro Martinez – against the Yankee lineup. Red means the matchup favors the Phillies, blue means the Yankees are favored, and gray means a wash. Both pitchers have faced these hitters a number of times (line width = # of at bats), but Pedro has fared much better than Lee. Of course, much of Pedro’s success came several years ago when he was a better pitcher. We’ll see in Game 2 if Pedro can cheat father time once again in this post season.

Lee and Pedro vs Yanks

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Andy Pettitte vs. the Angels

Here’s a graphic showing Andy Pettitte’s track record against tonight’s expected Angels batting order.  As evidenced by the predominance of blue, Pettitte has had his way with this lineup for the most part.

pettitte vs angels

Then again, if there’s one thing I’ve learned from watching baseball over the last 3o years, it’s “expect the unexpected.”

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Scott Kazmir Owns the Yankees

Check out the Yankees’ lineup against Scott Kazmir lifetime.  Yanks may have their hands full tonight.

Kazmir Ownage

October Jitters: Which Yankees are rising to the occasion?

Here’s a visual representation of the Yankee lineup, comparing regular season and post-season OPS (on base percentage + slugging percentage).  As usual Jeter has stepped up his game (as had A-rod, which is not so usual).  And Matsui and Posada are their typical steady selves.  How long can these 4 guys carry the Yankees offense?

Yankee Jitters

How Good Are The Yankees?

Here’s a graphic showing how the Yankees rate as a team relative to the rest of the American League.  I used 5 measures – Batting Average, Home Runs, Stolen Bases, Earned Run Average, and Errors Allowed.  At a quick glance you can get a sense of where the Yankees’ strengths and weaknesses are.

Yankees Team Rankings

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A look at AJ Burnett’s 2009 Season

A visual look at the 2009 regular season of tonight’s Yankee starter – AJ Burnett.  This graphic ranks the top 70 AL starters by month, divided into 5 groups of 14.  Since there are 14 teams in the AL, and each team has a 5 man rotation, a perfectly average AL pitching staff would gave one pitcher squarely in the middle of each group (ie. a #1 stater, a #2 starter, etc).  Burnett’s season was the epitome of “up and down.”  He started out poorly and steadily improved, by June and July he was pitching like an ace.  Then, he reverted back to the AJ Burnett of April and May.  Which AJ Burnett will we see tonight in the Bronx? (to see more Yankee graphics, check out the Yankees Postseason Dashboard.

Burnett season

Yankees vs. Angels: Who swings the lumber?

Here’s a visual comparison of tonight’s Game 1 batting orders for the Yanks and Halos.  The Yankee lineup is filled with big numbers and big names, but the lesser-known Kendry Morales stands tall with the Yankees’ top sluggers.  Unfortunately, there isn’t a lot of power elsewhere in the lineup, especially with Mike Scioscia’s choice of Jeff Mathis over Mike Napoli.

ALCS lineup comparison

So much for Diversity

Well, we’re down to four teams in this year’s playoffs and judging from this map, we’re not looking at a ton of geographic diversity.  Out of ALL the teams in major league baseball (indicated by gray dots), somehow we ended up with 2 Southern California teams and two North East Corridor teams.  It’s basically a battle of two coasts now, with lots of frequent flier miles logged for both teams, media, and fans.

coastal LCS

Yankees Postseason Mashers

Who’s mashing on the Yankees this postseason?  Check out the graphic below.  Alex Rodriguez, welcome to postseason baseball.  Finally.  Johnny Damon, where did you go?  To see ongoing updates of the Yankees in the postseason, check out the MLB Team Dashboards on the right side of my blog.

yankees alds

Yankees Angels Preview

Here’s a visual comparison of payroll and who earns what.  The angels have a very healthy payroll ($114 million) yet they’re still blown away by Yankee spending.

Yanks Angels payroll

Red Sox – Yankees Rivalry Over The Years

Looking at the last 100 years.  Pretty lopsided after Ruth was sold to the Yankees, the last 5 years notwithstanding.

sox yanks rivalry

Looking at MLB standings differently

Here’s a different way to look at MLB’s standings, now that we’ve wrapped up the season.  Like my other posts, I’m experimenting with font size to indicate payroll.  The larger teams have the higher payroll, the smaller teams the lower payroll.  Not surprisingly, most of the teams that made the playoffs (in red) had medium-t0-high payrolls, with Minnesota being the exception.  I’m also amused by the comparison between the Florida Marlins (tiny font, tiny payroll) and the New York Mets (further back in the standings, larger font, bloated payroll).  Go Mets!

MLB standings

Yankees vs. Twins – a tale of 2 wallets

Same visual comparison of the payroll for these two rosters.  Note the vast majority of the money is spent on Yankees players, with a few Twins players surrounded in a sea of Yankee blue.

yankees v twins

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