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May 1, 2012

Baseball Prospectus News

Introducing the Revamped Baseball Prospectus Glossary

by R.J. Anderson

Navigating the Baseball Prospectus Glossary has been an occasionally frustrating, often-unfulfilling proposition in recent years. Kurt Vonnegut had it right in Hocus Pocus when he wrote, “[Everybody] wants to build and nobody wants to do maintenance.” For some time now, we’ve been adding to and subtracting from our statistical suite without being as diligent as we should have about updating and cleaning out the clutter in our glossary section. But that’s all behind us. We’ve spent the past month revamping the glossary, and now it’s ready for a big reveal.

Those of you who have used the glossary before will notice a new structure. In the past, the glossary featured over 20 categories. We wanted to streamline the browsing process, and we made reducing the number of categories (to 14) our top priority. Offering near-identical categories that differed almost solely in name only complicated matters, so we trimmed the extraneous ones without sacrificing any useful information. Here are the categories we’ve decided to present, along with a brief summary of each section’s subject matter:

All:  Self-evident.

Archaic: Prospectus’ statistical graveyard. These are the items we’ve chosen to discontinue or have made obsolete with subsequent innovations.

BPro Exclusives: The bread and butter of our exclusive offerings live here. If you need to find out what goes into True Average or what constitutes an excellent Wins Above Replacement Player tally, then this is the place to click. Rather than clog this category up with entries for every branch and limb from every statistical tree, we compartmentalized the finer details into four sub-sections: Offense, Defense, Pitching, and Base Running.

General: This section contains information about site features, such as the Transaction Browser and Compensation section. Additional categories contain information about the Playoff Odds Report and Team Audit pages.

Injury: All of the injury information on the player cards can be found here.

PECOTA: BP’s bellwether. 

Sabermetric: A place where you can find non-Prospectus-exclusive advanced metrics offered on the site. Additionally, Standard is home to the non-exclusive, non-advanced metrics.

But what good is a glossary if the definitions are no longer recent or useful? With the exception of the Archaic section, we went through and rewrote or cleaned up otherwise unclear definitions. You won’t see many changes in the Standard section (after all, what more is there to write about the definition of a single?), but the BPro Exclusives and sub-sections are full of new explanations. In fact, on the BPro Exclusives page, you’ll also find that the definitions come with handy looks at the metric’s spectrum, like so:

You should never trust an author who claims his first drafts are flawless. Mistakes and oversights sometimes occur in projects of this magnitude, so if you see an error or have a suggestion, please alert us through the comments or contact system.  We want to make this a worthwhile tool for the new users and the readers who know all the ins and outs of our offerings alike. 

Oh, and one more thing. Vonnegut also wrote, “The lesson I myself learned over and over again when teaching at the college and then the prison was the uselessness of information to most people, except as entertainment. If facts weren’t funny or scary, or couldn’t make you rich, the heck with them.” Help us prove him wrong. 

R.J. Anderson is an author of Baseball Prospectus. 
Click here to see R.J.'s other articles. You can contact R.J. by clicking here

Related Content:  Glossary

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