Sports Reference Blog

Neutralized Baseball Stats Back and Better Than Ever

Posted by Mike Lynch on May 26, 2017

When we launched our new site three months ago, one of the casualties was the neutralized stats tables we printed on player pages. Those tables were originally built using code that had grown increasingly unwieldy and were not something we'd be able to adequately maintain moving forward. That said, we're happy to announce that we have rebuilt these tables and added new features, as well.

If you're unfamiliar with this feature, a good place to start would be this primer on neutralized stats. The basic concept is that the game has changed substantially over the years and in various ballparks, so we adjust all player seasons into a neutral context. This is useful when trying to gain perspective on batters at Coors Field or in The Year of the Pitcher, for instance. We also have options where you can view any player's stats converted to a particular ballpark for a specific year. So you could see what Babe Ruth would have looked for playing in Coors Field in 2000, for instance.

To view neutralized statistics for a given player, start at their player page. Let's use Mike Trout as an example. On his player page, locate the area that says "Mike Trout Overview" which is highlighted in red. Further down that bar is a dropdown that reads "Finders & Advanced Stats." Hover over that dropdown and click on "Advanced Stats" in the batting section. Doing so will take you here. The final table on that page (before you reach appearances on leaderboards) is titled Neutralized Batting. This is where you can view Trout's neutralized statistics (also seen below).

Additionally, you'll notice a link atop the table reading "Adjust to Different Run-Scoring Environments." This link will lead you here, where you can experiment and see what Trout's numbers would look like in a variety of different settings. For instance, you can see that, as of May 25, 2017, Trout would be a career .376 hitter if playing in the run scoring environment of the 2000 Rockies. Or a .281 hitter in the environs of the 1968 Dodgers.

Perhaps you're seeking even more context, though. With our newest tool, you can now compare whole sets of players in various run scoring environments. This is because we've added Neutralized Stat Finders to the Play Index. This new set of tools, which does not require a Play Index subscription for use, is comprised of the Neutralized Player Batting Finder and the Neutralized Player Pitching Finder. These allow you to look up things like the follow:

***2001 Barry Bonds would have hit 94 Home Runs playing in the run scoring environment of the 2000 Rockies

***Hank Aaron would have hit 1,003 career Home Runs playing his whole career in the run scoring environment of the 2000 Rockies

***Statistics for all 2017 pitchers converted to the run scoring environment for the 1968 Dodgers

***And, finally, what the 1927 Yankees would have looked like playing in the run scoring environment of the 2000 Rockies

We hope you enjoy playing around with this restored and improved feature. Please let us know if you have any questions or comments

3 Responses to “Neutralized Baseball Stats Back and Better Than Ever”

  1. Simon Says:

    Any chance of an option to use neutralized stats for the similarity scores? The "similar batters through age XX" would be a more useful guide to a player's future if park and scoring environment distortions were removed.

    Also on the topic of similarity scores, any chance of bringing back the old feature where you could open a page showing the career totals for the 10 most comparable players?

  2. Kelly Says:

    This is fun but let's not pretend its accurate. Fenway Park does not have a single "Park Effect" that affects Dustin Pedroia and David Ortiz in the same way. There is a Fenway Park Effect for lefty bashers like Ortiz and a Fenway Park Effect for right handed slap hitters like Pedroia. Park Effects need to be done on an individual player basis and not as a global average and until that happens, I won't trust WAR or Neutralized Stats or any other adjusted stats to be anything more than fun toys. (For the record Ortiz's SA was 6.3% higher in Fenway than in other parks, while Pedroia's was 7% - so they were actually pretty close. But Yaz's and Rice's were both 9% higher, and Jacoby Ellsbury's was 11% higher at Fenway).

    tl;dr: you can't apply one park effect to all kinds of hitters (or pitchers).

  3. birtelcom Says:

    Kelly: The accuracy of b-ref's park adjustment depends on what you are trying to adjust for. B-ref's park adjustment reflect the basic fact that a single run scored in one park has a greater or lesser effect on a team's chance of winning the game than it does in other parks. So when a hitter creates a run, or a pitcher or fielder prevents one, it has a different win value depending on the park in which the game is played. Adjusting for that very important fact is all B-ref's adjustment seeks to do and all it claims to do. It is not trying to claim that it adjusts for righty-lefty effects, or slugger-contact hitter effects or anything other than neutralizing the win value of a run. WAR is not trying to tell you what David Ortiz as an individual would have performed playing his home games in Petco rather than Fenway, it is only trying to estimate what the value of his run creation was in terms of how many wins it was worth, reflecting an adjustment for the fact that it took more runs to win a game in Fenway than Petco. I agree that the precise adjustments for individual stats in a player's Neutralized Batting stats are thus less of a real reflection of what those individual stats would have been in a neutral environment than they might appear to be. But I hope that doesn't affect your view of Wins Above Replacement, which is a different kind of effort, one that is meant to do exactly what the park adjustment helps with, estimating the win value of a player's contribution.

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