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The Real Problem with Baseball’s Defensive Stats

Posted by admin on September 8, 2014

After reading Jeff Passan's article about WAR and his view of its failings, I got a little hot under the collar and intemperate in my discussion of the issue on twitter.

The defensive metrics are constantly critiqued. I agree that there may be issues with the defensive stats, but my issues aren't the ones brought up by the critics. I believe that the metrics do a decent job of measuring the percent of time a particular ball with a particular hang time has been caught in the past. All you need for that is a stopwatch and a way to mark the play's location on the field. Sure there may be biases in this, but there are biases in who batters and pitchers face or even what umpire they appear against. So this isn't the biggest issue with fielding stats.

It's also true that fielding stats don't correlate quite as strongly year to year as the batting stats do (see chart after break), but there is also a lot more variability in opportunity for fielders than for batters (and more variability in batting stats than people perceive). A batter is going to get 3-6 PA's per game every game. The distribution of balls hit to fielders is much more random. But even this isn't the big issue with fielding stats.

20 Comments | Posted in Advanced Stats, Announcement, Baseball-Reference.com

Introducing the College Basketball Team Game Finder

Posted by David Corby on September 4, 2014

 

I'm excited to announce the Team Game Finder as a long overdue addition to our college hoops site. This is a sibling of the very popular feature on our NBA site.

We have complete box scores going back to 2010-11 which power the game finder. You can select any criteria among a school's box score statistics, its opponent's, or the difference, as well as other important characteristics such as home/away, overtime games, regular season vs. the NCAA Tournament, and so on.

The search options allow you to span seasons, count matching instances and match against cumulative criteria, for one season or many.

We hope you find this useful and please let us know if you have any suggestions or find any bugs.

 

tgl_finder

1 Comment | Posted in Announcement, Basketball-Reference.com, CBB at Sports Reference

More #FancyStats Features Added to Hockey-Reference.com

Posted by Hans Van Slooten on September 3, 2014

It's been a while since we last announced new "advanced stats" features to Hockey-Reference, but with the latest shake ups in the hockey stats world, we felt that this was a good time to begin rolling out new features for the more statistically-minded fans out there. This is by no means the only roll out, as there are numerous features to come, but we feel it is better to roll out features as we complete them rather than waiting until they are all done.

That said, here's what we've added:

1) Additional Possession Stats to the Player Additional Stats Page

Screen Shot 2014-09-03 at 12.21.15 AM

We've added Situational TOIRelative Corsi For %, Relative Fenwick For %, On-Ice Save and Shooting %, and Offensive and Defensive Zone Start %. You can find these on any player page after 2006 by clicking on Additional Stats at the top of their regular stats.

Screen Shot 2014-06-05 at 3.26.02 PM

2) A Play Index Finder for Team Advanced Stats

Until we can add additional stats to all of the league and team pages, we've created a simple Finder that allows you to run queries against the team advanced stats. To find this tool, just go to the top-left menu and click play index, then Team Advanced Stats Finder. This report can be run on any or all teams from 2007-2014.

Screen Shot 2014-09-03 at 12.30.12 AM

3) Finally, as a small addition to the play-by-play stats, we've included Faceoff Wins and Losses.

We hope you enjoy these new features and keep checking back often as we add more #FancyStat features as we approach the new season. As always, we appreciate any questions and feedback.

8 Comments | Posted in Advanced Stats, Announcement, Hockey-Reference.com, Play Index

Your One-Stop Resource for 2014 College Football Data

Posted by Mike Lynch on August 29, 2014

With the 2014 college football season upon, just a few reminders on where to find info for this season:

If you have any questions about where to find something or if you encounter any issues, please let us know here.

2 Comments | Posted in Announcement, CFB at Sports Reference, Data, Play Index, Uncategorized

Dive Into Our Stats with the Play Index This Season

Posted by Mike Lynch on August 29, 2014
The Play Index is the name we use to refer to PFR's collection of top-notch research tools. Read below for more information on some of the applications we have made available to you.

Search all plays from 1998 to today to find performances that match your criteria. Answer questions like…

Player Season Finder

Search through player season stats spanning from 1920 to today for single seasons or combined seasons that match your criteria. Answer questions like…

The answers to these questions and many, many more are at your fingertips using the Player Season Finder.

Player Game Finder

Search through player game logs spanning from 1960 to today for games that match your criteria. You can find…

With the Player Game Finder, the possibilities are almost endless.

Player Touchdown Finder

Search through every touchdown scored from 1920 to today for scores that match your criteria. Did you know…

Impress your friends and come up with your own "Did You Know" with a little help from the Player Touchdown Finder.

Team Game Finder

Find team games or seasons matching certain criteria. Did you know…

Player Streak Finder

Find the longest player streaks matching certain criteria. Did you know...

Team Streak Finder

Find the longest team streaks matching certain criteria. Did you know...

Super Bowl Play Finder

Search through every play in Super Bowl History.

Draft Finder

Search through every NFL and AFL draft pick.

Find head-to-head results and also find games matching a particular score.

Comments Off | Posted in Announcement, Features, History, Play Index, Pro-Football-Reference.com, Uncategorized

New Football Features for 2014

Posted by Mike Lynch on August 29, 2014

With football season once again upon us, we figured users that have been away from the sites in the offseason could use a refresher on some changes/updates. We remained hard at work in the offseason rolling out a series of new features & improvements for users to enjoy this season:

We hope everyone finds these new features useful this season.

 

15 Comments | Posted in Announcement, Data, Features, Pro-Football-Reference.com, Uncategorized

Play Finder Updated Through 1998

Posted by Mike on August 15, 2014

We've added play-by-play data for the entire 1998 season to the play finder play index tool, another 41,000+ plays worth of data (bringing us up to over 725,000 total plays, including every play from every Super Bowl). Data-wise, this means we have Peyton Manning's entire career covered (as well as Ryan Leaf's if that's what you're into). All plays (and expected points, pass targets, and tackles) should now show up on 1998 boxscores as well.

1 Comment | Posted in Announcement, Pro-Football-Reference.com

2014-15 NBA Schedules Added

Posted by David Corby on August 14, 2014

Just a quick note that the NBA released 2014-15 schedules this week and we've added them to our team pages.

Some interesting games this year include the Christmas matchup of Cleveland and Miami, and also the December 23rd Cleveland at Minnesota meeting (that is, given trade speculation between those two teams).

Also, the Hornets play their first game since 2002 when they open October 29 vs. the Bucks.

The two international games this year are the Nov. 12th T'Wolves/Rockets game in Mexico City, and the Jan. 15th Knicks/Bucks meeting in London.

 

Comments Off | Posted in Announcement, Basketball-Reference.com, CBB at Sports Reference

European Basketball Stats

Posted by David Corby on August 14, 2014

We're excited to introduce our European Basketball site today. The new site features player and team statistics for four of Europe's most competitive leagues, Spain's Liga ACB, Italy's Lega Serie A, France's LNB Pro A, and the Greek Basket League. Europe hosts two annual transnational competitions each year, the Euroleague and the Eurocup, and we have stats for those as well.

Our database spans over 10 years for each of the featured leagues, with Euroleague and Eurocup stats spanning the life of those respective competitions (2000-01 and 2002-03, respectively).

First things first: The site is found at http://www.basketball-reference.com/euro. Otherwise, you can reach the site through the promotional blurb on our homepage, the quick links along the bottom left of the homepage, or by mousing over the links along the top of the site, e.g. 'Teams', and clicking on the Europe links...

 

euro_links

 

 

We have player stats, team totals, standings and schedules, and we've marked some important things like playoff teams, league champions and relegated teams. The only awards that we have are MVPs, but we'll be sure to add more of those soon.

The team pages have views for each league or competition that a club played in during the season. If you want to see team and player stats across all leagues then click on 'All Leagues'. On the other hand, if you want to see statistics for club competition, or just transnational (Euroleague, e.g.) play, then click to view totals for just those seasons:

team_page

 

The player page shows all of the player's stats. For a 2013-14 Real Madrid player, for example, you'll see three stat tables, one for club competition, one for transnational, and one spanning both of those leagues. The former will show the teams that the player played for in those leagues, and the aggregated table will show the leagues that the player competed in:

player_page

 

 

Even tough we've just launched the site today, we're already thinking of improvements. Initially, we'd like to distinguish player stats between regular and postseason - once we've done that, we plan to add some more advanced stats. In the meantime, enjoy the 7,000 new player pages and over 1,500 new team season pages and be sure to point out any mistakes that you find.

 

Also! Thanks are due to Aaron Nielsen who was our source for these statistics. You can follow Aaron @ENBSports

 

1 Comment | Posted in Announcement, Basketball-Reference.com, CBB at Sports Reference

The Complicated History of RBI

Posted by Mike Lynch on August 6, 2014

If you have spent an extended amount of time on Baseball-Reference, you have likely noticed that some of our RBI totals do not match what you will see on some other sites. A notable example would be none other than George Herman Ruth. We list him with 2,214 career RBI, with a career high of 168 in 1921. Many sources, however, credit him with 2,213 career RBI and a season high of 171 in 1921.

How can there be any dispute over how many runs the most iconic player in the history of baseball drove in?

We're glad you asked.

It might come as a surprise to some, but RBI was not an official statistic until 1920, which was Ruth's first season with the Yankees. And even then, Rule 86, Section 8 was remarkably vague from 1920-30, instructing official scorers only that:

"The summary shall contain: The number of runs batted in by each batsman."

That left plenty of room for interpretation of the scoring rule. In the absence of a strict definition, official scorers across the league were inconsistent in what they considered an RBI. This inconsistency polluted numbers for a decade, despite the fact that the statistic was finally "official."

It wasn't until 1931, when Rule 70, Section 13 made the definition more explicit, that a uniform policy for counting RBI existed:

"Runs Batted In are runs scored on safe hits (including home runs), sacrifice hits, outfield put-outs, infield put-outs, and when the run is forced over by reason of the batsman becoming a base-runner. With less than two outs, if an error is made on a play on which a runner from third would ordinarily score, credit the batsman with a Run Batted In."

While this definition has seen some tweaks over time, for the first time official scorers had a clear definition of what should count as an RBI (though tabulation errors were still an issue in a pre-computerized era).

With RBI not tracked by official scorers, where do the pre-1920 RBI numbers come from? Here is a breakdown of the history of various RBI sources.

These RBI numbers have been used in various encyclopedias over the years and have served as the basis for further research done by SABR members. This research, where 5-7 newspaper accounts are looked at for each game in order to deduce RBI, often proves earlier reconstructions (and official totals) wrong. This leads to the volatile nature of early RBI numbers. A well-detailed account of this process by SABR's Herm Krabbenhoft can be found here, showing how he meticulously worked through Ruth's career RBI totals.

These thoroughly researched corrections eventually make their way to Baseball-Reference via Pete Palmer's data after they have been sufficiently vetted, which is why you will see discrepancies between our numbers and what you see in some other places. We have full confidence that when such alterations are made, that we are putting forward the best possible data generated by countless hours of expert research.

2 Comments | Posted in Announcement, Baseball-Reference.com, Data, History, Uncategorized

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