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December 23, 2011

Baseball Prospectus News

Introducing the Transactions Browser

by Bradley Ankrom

When you grow up in a military family, change can sometimes feel like the only consistent thing in your life. For me, while bouncing between stations up and down the Eastern Seaboard for much of the '90s, consistency also came in the form of my regular Wednesday routine where, no matter what part of the country I was standing in, I was able to track down a newspaper stand, gas station, or commissary that carried Baseball Weekly (renamed Sports Weekly when they added football to their coverage in 2002). After reading Bob Nightengale’s latest and checking my position in the Clubhouse Fantasy League, I usually found my way to the team-by-team transactions, where the story of a given team’s season could be told in unbiased stock language. That’s where my fascination with roster mechanics began and, based upon the comment threads of our Transaction Analysis articles, I’m guessing many of you share that same interest.

That’s why I’m pleased as Punch (but not as smug) to unveil Baseball Prospectus’ new Transactions page. Let’s take a look around, shall we?

The latest 50 league transactions greet you as the home page loads for the first time. Right away, you’ll notice that instead of grouping all of a team’s transactions into a single row, we’ve broken each player out into separate listings, making it easy to quickly pick out specific players. To see all of a player's transactions, simply click on his name in the text string. If you're interested in his player card, click the headshot. Similarly, all of a team's transactions can be viewed by clicking on the team name in the text string, and clicking on the logo will open up that team's audit page. Some rows feature an “Analysis” link, which offers direct access to the Transaction Analysis article that discusses the move.

Above the listings is a search form that allows you to browse transactions by any combination of player, team, and date range. For example, if you’re interested in the exact dates that Cliff Lee was placed on and activated from the disabled list in April 2010, you can enter his name into the Player Name field and specify a date range of 4/1/2010 to 4/30/2010, which returns the following:

To see the rest of Lee’s transactions, simply clear the date range and resubmit:

If you’re only concerned with the dates Lee has been traded and don’t care about his injury or free agency history, clicking the blue “Advanced Search” link next to the search button will give you myriad ways to narrow the scope of your search, including the ability to limit results to specific transaction types:

Submitting that query will return only the three records for his trades to Philadelphia, Seattle, and Texas:

The rest of the options displayed in the Advanced Search form allow you to narrow your search by league, team, general manager, injury, transaction type, and player age at the time of the transaction. Selecting a second league, team, or general manager enables you to find all of the trades made between the specified entities:

Next to the date fields in the Advanced Search form, you have the option to change the kinds of dates that are returned in your query. By default, the transaction date—the date the move is announced—is used, but you can select “Use Effective/Retroactive Dates” to return, for example, the date Joe Mauer’s placement on the disabled list is retroactive to.

You probably noticed in the screen shot of Cliff Lee’s trades that the infamous Bartolo Colon-for-the-farm move, which sent Lee, Brandon Phillips, and Grady Sizemore from Montreal to Cleveland in July 2002, was nowhere to be found. Currently, our transaction logs only go back as far as January 2009, the earliest MLBAM makes them available. However, you can expect more historical years to be added over the next few weeks.

Aside from adding historical seasons, what features or improvements would you like to see? Let us know in the comments or feel free to send me a note with your thoughts. 

Related Content:  Transactions,  Transaction Analysis

47 comments have been left for this article. (Click to hide comments)

BP Comment Quick Links

buddaley

Will you include contract extensions? For example, when I looked for transactions by Andrew Friedman, I did not find the Matt Moore extension listed. Am I missing it, is there some step I did not take or are such deals not included?

Dec 23, 2011 04:55 AM
rating: 1
 
Bradley Ankrom

That's one of the big things we're addressing in the next update of the browser. I'm not exactly sure why, but MLBAM transaction logs don't include when a player resigns with his current club, which is obviously something we want to capture in this tool.

Dec 23, 2011 05:35 AM
rating: 0
 
Richard Bergstrom

Can't Cot's Contracts help?

Dec 23, 2011 08:03 AM
rating: 0
 
Sharky

Looks pretty cool!

Dec 23, 2011 05:02 AM
rating: 1
 
dianagram

This is an answer to one of my silent data mining prayers (and nearly worth the price of a BP subscription itself)

Thanks BP!

Dec 23, 2011 05:09 AM
rating: 1
 
modofacid

This is pretty stellar

Dec 23, 2011 05:52 AM
rating: 0
 
keyser soze

Solid. I think I just found my new homepage.

Dec 23, 2011 05:55 AM
rating: 2
 
Bradley Ankrom

One thing I probably should have mentioned in the intro is that we're working on a way to group together players involved in trades for easier viewing. Currently, the MLBAM logs give each player his own row, though players involved in the same trade will usually share the same transaction id. I'm hoping to have a fix for that rolled out in the next week and a half or so.

Dec 23, 2011 06:08 AM
rating: 0
 
Lassaller

Plus 1 for the trade grouping.

I'm not sure if you can do this right away as it would make this page work differently than the others, but it would be interesting and helpful if you could make the links interactive within the Transactions feature.

Using Cliff Lee as an example, clicking on Lee would bring up the transactions with Lee while choosing the Mariners would display a slice of the Mariners transactions, focusing on before and after the Lee trade.

I appreciate all of BP's data but I want the ability to wander aimlessly in it, to randomly explore and find connections on my own. It's what I like best about the internet.

Perhaps there is a way to show both, to explore as well as BP's current method of linking to Lee's stats page? Hopefully someone can design methods for multiple ways of presenting BP's data -- and in an intuitive way.

Thanks again!

Dec 23, 2011 06:41 AM
rating: 1
 
Bradley Ankrom

I made a few quick changes:

1) clicking the player name in the transaction text string will now take you to all of that player's transactions.

2) clicking the team name will take you to all of that team's transactions.

3) clicking the player headshot will open up his player card.

4) clicking the team logo will open up that team's audit page.

I like the idea of slicing the team results up, too - let me discuss with some other folks and we'll see if it's feasible.

Thanks for the suggestions.
Brad

Dec 23, 2011 07:01 AM
rating: 0
 
Lassaller

Thank you very much!

One other suggestion. If you search for someone that isn't in the Transactions, like Babe Ruth, you get a blank page.

Is there a way to put up a search result that says what was queried for is outside of the current scope?

Dec 28, 2011 08:45 AM
rating: 0
 
R.A.Wagman

This is awesome. I think a nice way to have full trades be shown would be as a mouse-over box, such as what we see on BO when a term from the glossary is used. That would allow for keeping of the line by line formatting while providing that extra bit of information in a simplified manner.
Cheers, and happy holidays.

Dec 23, 2011 21:37 PM
rating: 0
 
jhardman

Yay!

Dec 23, 2011 06:54 AM
rating: 0
 
Dan W.

This feature is great. One suggestion might be to include, on the team pages, entries for when a team lost a player to another team via free agency -- something akin to what Christina used to do in her TA columns, which was to say (e.g.) "12/6/11: Mets noted the loss of SS Jose Reyes." This would provide a more comprehensive chronology, looking at one team, of how different moves fit into a bigger picture of player loss/acquisition.

Dec 23, 2011 07:33 AM
rating: 2
 
Bradley Ankrom

I hadn't thought of that, thanks for the tip.

Dec 23, 2011 15:04 PM
rating: 0
 
dianagram

The "Glossary" of transactions doesn't seem to show up (at least in Firefox 9).

Dec 23, 2011 07:47 AM
rating: 0
 
MichavdB

Looks great!

Dec 23, 2011 07:48 AM
rating: 0
 
Richard Bergstrom

Can you add an Advanced Search filter for looking at all transactions that had an analysis written up for them?

Dec 23, 2011 08:05 AM
rating: 0
 
Richard Bergstrom

Also the Analysis link looks a little wonky. For example, in the Latos trade, only Alonso has an Analysis link.. not Latos or Volquez, etc.

Dec 23, 2011 08:06 AM
rating: 0
 
Bradley Ankrom

Yes, not sure why it's capturing most, but not all, TAs. Working on a fax.

Dec 24, 2011 08:39 AM
rating: 0
 
Bradley Ankrom

Also, working on a fix.

Dec 24, 2011 08:39 AM
rating: 0
 
Peter Hood

I can't see to find the link on the Home Page.

Dec 23, 2011 08:22 AM
rating: 0
 
BP staff member Dave Pease
BP staff
(2)

we've added "Transactions" to the links at the top of every page. Thanks!

Dec 27, 2011 16:15 PM
 
Peter7899

Does the Search include a players minor league transactions? Like prospects being traded?

Dec 23, 2011 09:38 AM
rating: 0
 
Bradley Ankrom

Yes, MILB transactions are included in the search results.

Dec 23, 2011 15:05 PM
rating: 0
 
markbhey

Having a hard time seeing all AL transactions to AL teams.....assume this will be valuable for AL or NL only leagues, no?

Dec 23, 2011 10:01 AM
rating: 0
 
bobbygrace

This is great. Thank you!

A nice addition would be definitions of terms such as "optioned," "selected," "designated for assignment," and "outrighted." They could appear when you "hover" over the words, as happens with SNLVAR and such.

Dec 23, 2011 10:47 AM
rating: 0
 
Tim Carvin

This is such a great new feature. Outstanding job

Dec 23, 2011 16:00 PM
rating: 1
 
slackerjake

This is great.

I found it cumbersome, however, to get back to the homepage.

Dec 23, 2011 16:47 PM
rating: 0
 
Bradley Ankrom

Good catch. If you click on the page header - "Transactions" - you'll be returned to the start page.

Dec 23, 2011 17:07 PM
rating: 0
 
BP staff member Dave Pease
BP staff
(2)

to follow up on this you can click the Baseball Prospectus logo on the top left of any page to get back to the homepage.

Dec 26, 2011 20:44 PM
 
FrankL

Search by League (NL or AL only) possible? All transactions, all players, for a specified time period. You know, useful for the one-league fantasy junkies - not that there's anything wrong with that - that happen to find the Holy Grail.

All smiles and wishing you a happiest of Holiday Seasons.

Dec 23, 2011 19:28 PM
rating: 1
 
liptowi

It would be helpful to hav ethe tranactions segregated by league.

Dec 23, 2011 20:04 PM
rating: -1
 
Bradley Ankrom

Thanks, everyone, for your comments and suggestions. I've implemented a few of your ideas already and am working on others over the holiday break. Keep 'em coming!

Dec 24, 2011 07:58 AM
rating: 0
 
kmbart

This page needs a link directly off the home page; someone already asked where that link was in the comments above, but there was no response. I've poked around the site and can't find a path to access the Transaction Browser except via this article.

Dec 25, 2011 05:26 AM
rating: 0
 
BP staff member Dave Pease
BP staff
(2)

There isn't one, but we will add one.

Dec 26, 2011 06:37 AM
 
BP staff member Dave Pease
BP staff
(2)

its in there now!

Dec 27, 2011 16:14 PM
 
Sacramento

Brad, is there any way to link the Player Cards when you click on their name in the list of transactions involving them? That would make it easier to check their stats without having to open another window.

Dec 25, 2011 11:02 AM
rating: 0
 
Bradley Ankrom

Do you mean linking the player's name in the text string to their player card?

Dec 26, 2011 19:40 PM
rating: 0
 
Sacramento

Yeah, that's it.

Dec 26, 2011 21:08 PM
rating: 0
 
Bradley Ankrom

If you click on their headshot, that'll open up their player card.

Dec 27, 2011 09:19 AM
rating: 0
 
ColKiner

How about a way as you add historical season to click on a date and see all the transactions that occured on a particular day. That would aide some of us who use baseball simulations of past season to accurately know when players shuttled between the Majors and the DL/Minors without checking player by player

Dec 26, 2011 12:28 PM
rating: 0
 
Bradley Ankrom

So if you clicked on the date at the left of the row it would show you only the transactions of that day?

Dec 26, 2011 19:42 PM
rating: 0
 
Bradley Ankrom

Added this feature - clicking the date in any transaction row will show you all of the transactions for that particular day. Good suggestion.

Dec 27, 2011 09:19 AM
rating: 0
 
Richard Bergstrom

You could add a ticker on the right beneath the "Blogs beta" section.

Something like "Transactions On This Day In History". etc.

Dec 28, 2011 15:16 PM
rating: 0
 
SC

What data feeds the list? I'm in a cutthroat fantasy league that assigns newly called up player to the first owner who can claim him. On days when hotly anticipated prospects are getting called up (or superstars who started the season on the 60-day), owners are all combing numerous sites, hitting refresh in the hopes of finding the move listed first.

We've long wondered when a transaction becomes official, and how that information is conveyed to various media outlets. Can you shed some light on this, and whether we can expect this page to be the first to report transactions when they happen?

Dec 27, 2011 13:37 PM
rating: 0
 
Bradley Ankrom

MLB.com is probably your best bet. Our transactions update daily, but I believe MLB.com's update throughout the day.

Dec 27, 2011 14:25 PM
rating: 0
 
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