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June 21, 2006

Aim For The Head

Customized Stat Reports

by Keith Woolner

Hola amigos. I know it's been a long time since I rapped at ya, but the BP tech team and I have been hard at work. Over the past six months, we rewrote and enhanced our underlying stat database so we could improve both Team Tracker and our stat reports to offer more statistics and customizability, which were the top requests from our readers last season. Most of the changes have been in production now for awhile, so I thought it was time to introduce them more formally and make sure everyone knows about them. (Note: our custom stat reports are for subscribers only.)

For those of you who haven't played around with the new reporting system, I highly recommend it. Almost all of the currently available standard stat reports are, in fact, using the new system.

You can select the type of report you want to see:

  • Batter stats for a full season (combining multiple teams, if applicable)
  • Batter stats for a team-year (separate lines for each team he played for)
  • Team total batting and pitching stats
  • League-wide batting and pitching stats
  • Batting stats by position, either by league, or for all MLB in a season
  • Pitching stats (both full season and team-year, as in batter stats above)
  • Team records by run scored, runs allowed, and run difference (e.g. record in one-run games)
  • Team Winning and Losing Streaks
  • Umpire statistics (batting/pitching stats grouped by who was the home plate ump)
  • Expected runs in an inning by number of outs and runners on base
  • Expected wins (based on empirical data) based on inning, # of outs, baserunners, and run differential.
  • Clay Davenport is also close to having new stat categories that will reintroduce minor league statistics and the Davenport Translations to the site.

Once you've selected the type of report you want to see, you'll be shown a page that lists all of the statistics available for that report type. You construct a customized list of just the stats you want to see by highlighting the stat and moving it to the right hand column. You can arrange the stats in any order you want.

For example, some of the statistics available for batters include the descriptive information (name, team, age, primary position), typical total stats you'd expect (AB, HR, RBI, H, SO, SB, CS), plus some you wouldn't (Reached On Error, PA in Double-play Situations, number of balls/strikes seen). You get the usual "triple crown" rate stats--AVG, OBP, and SLG--as well as less well known rates like isolated slugging (ISO) or double plays per opportunity. There are even some idiosyncratic ones that I added because I like to use them (I'm not just a writer/analyst, I'm also a customer), like TBP, or "total base percentage," which is TB/PA, and named because it is analogous to on-base percentage. (Yes, I know it's not a true percentage.)

You get per-plate appearance component rates--generally labeled with the stat label followed by an "R" for Rate. So, SOR is strikeout rate (SO/PA), HRR is home run rate (HR/PA), and so on.

In addition, the stats you see on other reports, such as the RBI Opportunities report (which has been enhanced for 2006) includes the number of runners at each base during a batter's plate appearance, and how many of them he batted in. From our Quality of Opposition report, you get the composite AVG/OBP/SLG allowed by the pitchers a batter faced. From the Double Plays report, you have NETDP--the number of double plays a batter hit into beyond what a league average batter would have done in the same number of double-play situations. And, of course, you get a wealth of BP-invented statistics, such as Value Over Replacement Player (VORP), Marginal Lineup Value rate (MLVr), Equivalent Average (EQA), and Runs Above Replacement Player (RARP), while Pitcher Abuse Points (PAP), Support-Neutral Win/Loss (SNWL), and Win eXpectation above Replacement, Lineup Adjusted (WXRL) are available for the pitching reports.

When you've selected all the stats you can handle, you move on to the final page, which looks very much like one of our standard reports. Here, you see a first cut at the report you specified. You can modify the way the report is sorted, filter by team, league, or playing time, or even restrict the report to show just players on one of your BP Fantasy Team Tracker teams.

Speaking of Team Tracker, if you haven't checked out the enhancements for Team Tracker this season, please do so. In addition to supporting a much larger number of stats in the Team Tracker reporting than we did last year, we've added much more flexibility to specify the time period you want to look at. You can view stats since a certain date, such as May 13th, or look back an arbitrary number of days, so if 47 is your lucky number, look at the last 47 days worth of stats. We've also added a upload feature where you can add a group of players all at once, rather than having to find them one by one and add them to your team.

Many of you probably remember that our stat reports were not quite up to snuff at the start of the season, and it took us awhile to straighten things out. If you're still upset about that, and are looking for someone to blame, I'm your man. I had aimed to have all of them ready by mid-March, but underestimated the amount of work involved. Because baseball has a fixed start date, and since I was unable to convince Bud Selig to pause the season for a week or two until we could complete the work, the schedule slipped very visibly. I don't like to disappoint our readers, so at the risk of being told this is too little or too late, I'd like to apologize to all of our readers for that mistake.

The good news is that with the infrastructure in place, it will be easier and quicker for us to add new stats and new years of data to the stat reports. Among the additions that we plan to add in the upcoming weeks and months are:

  • Incorporating the most recently released seasons of Retrosheet play-by-play data to extend our complete stat reporting back to 1957.
  • Adding James Click's baserunning statistics (as presented in Baseball Prospectus 2005) to the stat reports.
  • Adding more minor league data
  • Expanded player cards
  • Fielding stats
  • Leaderboards
  • Batting and pitching streaks & feats
  • Batting and pitching splits.
  • More detailed park-specific stats and factors
  • Adding the new relief categories I proposed in an article earlier this year

All of the changes we've made so far and all the items on the "to-do" list were requested by readers. If there's a stat you want to see on the site, or another feature you think we need, please let us know. You can (and do) influence what we work on. In the meantime, here's hoping that you all enjoy the new stat reporting features.

P.S. I haven't forgotten about my promise to look at historical pitch count trends. The development work on the reporting features took more time than expected, but I will be returning to that topic again soon.

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

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