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Happy Opening Day 2016!

3rd April 2016

It's been a long winter in Philadelphia (and in Minnesota). In honor of Sunday and Monday, the greatest days of the year, here are some Opening Day features we have here at B-R:

Give them a try, and enjoy baseball's return.

Posted in Announcement, | 3 Comments »

MLB’s 11 Best Opening Day Starters

31st March 2016

For most sports, their biggest day is the final one. While the NFL, NBA, and NHL all schedule marquee games for their season opener, the event itself pales in comparison to the Super Bowl, the NBA Finals, or the Stanley Cup Finals. But baseball is somewhat different. While the World Series is obviously a huge event, Opening Day is, in and of itself, nearly as big a deal. Put it this way: the 2013 petition to make Opening Day a national holiday had over 100,000 signatures. Wikipedia's article about the first day of baseball season is just titled Opening Day. There's no need to clarify which sport we're talking about.

One of the best parts of Opening Day is the pageantry and build-up surrounding the selection of the Opening Day starter. In many ways, the choice of who gets the ball on Opening Day says a lot about where a team's mindset is at heading into the season. It's acknowledged as an honor, but not one that automatically goes to, on paper anyway, the "best" pitcher. For example, here's the 30 pitchers who started their team's opener last year: Read the rest of this entry

Posted in Announcement, | Comments Off on MLB’s 11 Best Opening Day Starters

Try the Play Index for FREE Through April 15

28th March 2016

Baseball season is here and to celebrate, you can use the Play Index for free through April 15! Just go to this page, sign up, and use this coupon code: analytics

The Play Index is our name for the various tools we've built that allow you to search the hundreds of thousands of players, seasons, teams, box scores, and even plate appearances collected in our database. Of all the research methods that we offer, none is more powerful than the Play Index. Have you ever wanted to know the answer to questions like:

What hitter had the most 40 HR seasons?

Which Mets pitcher had the most strikeouts in a road game?

What team had the most 2-out RBIs in a season?

What was the best WAR in a season by a pitcher with 15 Ws or under

And that's just scratching the surface. You can search full seasons since 1871 and individual games and streaks since 1913. You can also search for splits, individual events like inside the park HRs, pitcher vs batter matchups, and much more. The Play Index is the secret weapon of journalists, bloggers, front offices, fantasy experts, historians, and more.

It's normally just $36/year, but to celebrate the start of the 2016 MLB season, we're letting you try it out for free! Go to the sign-up page and enter the coupon code "analytics" to use the Play Index for free through April 15.

Posted in Announcement,, Play Index | 3 Comments »

New Box Scores and Play-By-Plays Added to Baseball Reference

1st March 2016

Thanks to the efforts of our friends at Retrosheet, we have added box scores for the 1913 MLB season to Baseball Reference. Additionally, we have added play-by-play for games as far back as 1930. Before this update, our oldest play-by-plays went back to 1938. In addition to the boxes and PBPs themselves, this update allows for a variety of new information searchable in the play index, as well as new rows of information in team/player/league statistics tables.

Here's a quick breakdown of the data coverage for the Play-By-Plays we've added from 1930 to 1937:

  • 1930 - 77% of games
  • 1931 - 82% of games
  • 1932 - 75% of games
  • 1933 - 81% of games
  • 1934 - 72% of games
  • 1935 - 71% of games
  • 1936 - 65% of games
  • 1937 - 82% of games

And here are some examples of some of the new information/searches available on the site:

We're very excited about these new additions and hope you enjoy them, as well. Please let us know if you have any comments, questions or concerns.

And thanks again to Retrosheet!

Posted in Announcement,, Data, History, Play Index, Uncategorized | 4 Comments »

Explaining our Handling of “Holds”

24th February 2016

UPDATE (Feb. 25, 2016): MLB has informed us that they will be updating Brach's 2015 holds total to 15 (matching us). MLB's Cory Schwartz commented: "We do credit Holds whenever the pitcher enters in a Save situation and leaves with the lead intact, so this was an oversight on our part."

It recently came to our attention that for the 2015 season, we credited Brad Brach with 15 holds. MLB, meanwhile, credited Brach with just 14 holds (NOTE: After reading this post, MLB has agreed that 15 is the correct number of holds for Brach in 2015). It was discovered that the difference was in the handling of the Orioles 5-4 win over the Mariners on May 21. Before we jump into the details, let's examine MLB's definition of a hold (bolding is ours, for emphasis):

"The hold is not an official statistic, but it was created as a way to credit middle relief pitchers for a job well done. Starting pitchers get wins, and closers -- the relief pitchers who come in at the end of the game -- get saves, but the guys who pitch in between the two rarely get either statistic. So what's the most important thing one of these middle relievers can do? "Hold" a lead. If a reliever comes into a game to protect a lead, gets at least one out and leaves without giving up that lead, he gets a hold. But you can't get a save and a hold at the same time."

UPDATE (Feb. 26, 2016): Please see MLB's updated Holds definition here

As you can see, this isn't really much of a definition at all. There's little in the way of criteria here, and it's also pointed out that the statistic isn't even official, anyways. In fact, there's enough confusion that credits Cory Rasmus with 2 holds in 2015, but Elias (MLB's official statistician) credits him with 1 hold in 2015. We credit him with 2, for what it's worth. This "definition" provides enough room for interpretation that variance in recorded totals is not uncommon.

Being that the statistic is unofficial, explaining all of this might be a pointless exercise, but in an effort to be transparent, we at least want to point out what standard we are using to assign holds.

Our standard is to give a pitcher a hold any time they protect a lead in a save situation (meaning they could have been eligible for a save if they finished the game). Brach presents an interesting study in that May 21 game. Starter Chris Tillman pitched 3 innings and left with a 4-1 lead. Obviously, he was not eligible for the win due to Rule 10.17(b), as he did not complete 5 innings. Tillman was relieved by Brian Matusz, who allowed 2 runs in the 4th, but completed the inning of work and left the game leading 4-3, when Brach took the mound for the 5th inning. Brach completed 2 scoreless innings, but the Mariners tied it up in the 7th after Brach left the game. The Orioles eventually won the game.

With the benefit of hindsight, you could say that Brach would have been in line for the win (not the save) if he had finished the game, since he ended up being more "effective" than Matusz, which would make it nearly a lock that the official scorer would have given him the win. But, hypothetically, Brach could have given up 20 runs in relief, but maintained the lead, and earned the save (with Matusz getting the win). As unlikely as that scenario is, the point here is that we're not using hindsight in assigning holds. In our opinion, the opportunity for a hold is defined when you enter the game and is only removed retroactively if you are given the win.

To be as clear as possible: our policy is to credit a hold when a pitcher enters the game in a save situation and leaves with the lead (and is not later given the win by the official scorer).

As we bolded in MLB's definition of a hold, "If a reliever comes into a game to protect a lead, gets at least one out and leaves without giving up that lead, he gets a hold." It would sure seem to us that Brach's May 21st appearance fits that criteria.

Posted in Announcement,, FAQ, Ridiculousness, Stat Questions, Statgeekery | 10 Comments »

Call For Submissions for the 2016 Spira Award

21st January 2016

Did you write or read an excellent story, research paper, or book about baseball in 2015? If so, the window is open to submit that piece for consideration for this year's Greg Spira Baseball Research Award! Click this link to submit a piece for consideration.

The nomination period opened today, January 21, and will run through March 6. Any piece containing original analysis or research that was published between January 16, 2015 and January 15, 2016 is eligible to be nominated. Articles, papers, and books eligible for consideration include those published in print or in e-books, those published or posted on the Web, academic papers or dissertations, and papers presented at professional or public conferences. Winning entries must display innovative analysis or reasoning by an author who was 30 years old or younger at the time of the entry’s publication.

Anyone is free to nominate a qualifying piece for the Spira, and authors may self-nominate, but note that only one entry per author will be considered. The winner of the Spira Award will receive a cash prize of $1,000, with additional awards of $200 for second place and $100 for third place.

For more information on the Greg Spira Baseball Research Award, go to


Posted in Announcement, | Comments Off on Call For Submissions for the 2016 Spira Award

Tricks You Didn’t Know about Sports Reference: Domain Names

13th January 2016

Today, we finalized the purchase of from the folks at Rotowire (thanks guys!). This really doesn't do much for you as an end user, but I thought I'd also mention that there are some domain name tricks that can help you.

The main one is that each site has a shortened url of 5-6 characters that can save some typing on your end. This is especially useful on your phones. => => => => => => =>

Posted in Announcement,,, CBB at Sports Reference, CFB at Sports Reference, Olympics at S-R, | 1 Comment »

See How Many Baseball Players are Older/Younger Than You

22nd October 2015

It's a universal sports fan moment: the first time you realize that you're older than the player you're watching. Of course, as time goes on, the ratio flips. Eventually, its more of a surprise when you realize a player is older than you are. No matter where you fall on that spectrum, our newest tool will almost certainly make you feel old.

We've added a page that shows players born before and after whatever date you pick. You can also see their WAR and, thanks to the numbers in the left-most column, how many players in MLB were born before or after that date. For example: Read the rest of this entry

Posted in Announcement, | 10 Comments »

2016 Player Projections Added to Baseball Reference

21st October 2015

You may have noticed a recent addition to our player pages: an italicized stat line for 2016. These are projections for 2016, which were generated using the Marcel the Monkey Forecasting System.

The Marcel projection system was originally developed by Tom Tango as the "minimum level of competence that you should expect from any forecaster." Let's let him describe it:

Actually, it is the most basic forecasting system you can have, that uses as little intelligence as possible. So, that's the allusion to the monkey. It uses 3 years of MLB data, with the most recent data weighted heavier. It regresses towards the mean. And it has an age factor.

I do not stand behind these forecasts. Consider me only a trustee of the system. For me to stand behind a forecasting system, I'd have to spend a multitude of hours to get it right. And, the difference between doing it right, and doing it with the Marcels.... well, I'd rather continue spending my time working on other baseball research.

More details on Tango's system are available here:

Please Note: Tom Tango has not certified, reviewed, or confirmed any of the projections on this site. Any descrepencies from data published elsewhere are solely the responsibility of Sports Reference.

In order to generate these projections, we have used code published by Jeff Sackmann as a reference for our implementation. Jeff has also not certified or confirmed any of the resulting projections.

Posted in Announcement,, Data | 4 Comments »

Introducing New Pages for Non-MLB Statistics

4th September 2015

As you explore Baseball-Reference, you may notice a bit of a re-imagining of how we are now presenting non-MLB statistics on the site. Where we once had fragmented sections for player stats in various non-Major leagues (minors, Japan, Cuba, etc), we have now combined everything into a single page showing the player's professional history. This new page presents all of a player's career statistics on one page and makes it easier than ever to track a player's career trajectory and journey in one place. On player pages where is used to say "minors" it now lists a variety of levels at which the player played (like in the below image from Minnie Minoso's page). Clicking that link will lead you to a listing of that player's career at every level of play.

Minoso Register2


Through these pages, you can now find statistics for the following levels of play:

  • MLB since 1871
  • Complete affiliated Minor Leagues back to 1877
  • Negro Leagues from 1902-1960
  • Japanese baseball from 1936 to present
  • KBO baseball since 1982
  • Cuban National Series from 1961-2014
  • Arizona Fall League since 1992
  • Coverage of various Winter Leagues back to 2003 (and also 2000, 1999 and 1997)
  • Various independent leagues as far back at the late 19th century

As an example of how this all works, let's take a look at the all-levels career of the well-traveled Minnie Minoso: As you can see, the stat tables look like the ones you've grown comfortable with on our site. But instead of just being for a specific level of play, you can see Minoso's stats from MLB, the minors, the Negro Leagues, foreign leagues and independent leagues. Using the "show/hide" buttons atop the stats table, you can isolate or exclude statistics from various levels of play. Additionally, levels at which Minoso played more than one season will be summed beneath the table (as well as his all-level totals). Below you will see an abbreviated version of the table layout, displaying Minoso's long career. If you're wondering what some of the columns represent, hold your mouse over the column header and a description will pop up.

Year Age AgeDif Tm Lg Lev Aff G PA
1946 20 New York Cubans NNL NgM 90
1947 21 New York Cubans NNL NgM 106
1948 22 -3.1 Dayton CENL A CLE 11
1948 22 New York Cubans NNL NgM 78
1949 23 -6.7 San Diego PCL AAA CLE 137 598
1949 23 -5.8 Cleveland AL MLB CLE 9 20
1950 24 -6.4 San Diego PCL AAA CLE 169 671
1951 25 -4.0 2 Teams AL MLB CHW-CLE 146 622
1951 25 -4.0 Cleveland AL MLB CLE 8 17
1951 25 -4.0 Chicago AL MLB CHW 138 605
1952 26 -2.7 Chicago AL MLB CHW 147 668
1953 27 -1.7 Chicago AL MLB CHW 151 655
1954 28 -0.4 Chicago AL MLB CHW 153 675
1955 29 0.5 Chicago AL MLB CHW 139 615
1956 30 1.6 Chicago AL MLB CHW 151 665
Year Age AgeDif Tm Lg Lev Aff G PA
1957 31 2.3 Chicago AL MLB CHW 153 678
1958 32 3.5 Cleveland AL MLB CLE 149 638
1959 33 4.2 Cleveland AL MLB CLE 148 650
1960 34 5.5 Chicago AL MLB CHW 154 670
1961 35 6.8 Chicago AL MLB CHW 152 635
1962 36 8.1 St. Louis NL MLB STL 39 108
1963 37 9.3 Washington AL MLB WSA 109 363
1964 38 12.4 Indianapolis PCL AAA CHW 52 201
1964 38 10.5 Chicago AL MLB CHW 30 38
1965 39 17.0 Jalisco MEX AA
1966 40 Jalisco MEX AA 107
1967 41 2 Teams 2 Lgs A-AAA 49
1967 41 Orizaba MXSE A 36
1967 41 17.0 Jalisco MEX AAA 13
1968 42 2 Teams 2 Lgs A-AAA 78
1968 42 Puerto Mexico MXSE A 56
1968 42 12.0 Jalisco MEX AAA 22
Year Age AgeDif Tm Lg Lev Aff G PA
1969 43 2 Teams 2 Lgs A-AAA 110
1969 43 Puerto Penasco MXNO A 74
1969 43 12.0 Jalisco MEX AAA 36
1970 44 12.0 Union Laguna MEX AAA
1971 45 12.0 Union Laguna MEX AAA
1972 46 12.0 Union Laguna MEX AAA
1973 47 12.0 Union Laguna MEX AAA
1976 50 22.5 Chicago AL MLB CHW 3 8
1980 54 26.0 Chicago AL MLB CHW 2 2
1993 67 41.5 St. Paul NORL Ind 1 1
2003 -- 50.3 St. Paul NORL Ind 1 1
MLB (17 seasons) MLB 1835 7710
Minors (4 seasons) Minors 369 1510
NLB (3 seasons) NLB 274
Foreign (9 seasons) Foreign 344
Other (2 seasons) Other 2 2
All Levels (32 Seasons) 2550 9496
A (3 seasons) Foreign 166
AA (2 seasons) Foreign 107
AAA (3 seasons) Minors 358 1470
AAA (7 seasons) Foreign 71
Provided by View Original Table
Generated 9/2/2015.


Minoso provides a good example due to the variety of levels he played at. You'll also notice that for more obscure leagues there are sometimes empty rows of data. These are instances where we know a player was on a team in a given season, but we simply don't have the statistics. As a result, incomplete totals will be underlined in the tables (or just left blank when there is no data).

While the most obvious change may be to the player pages as demonstrated above, we've also created a new Professional Baseball History landing page, which will provide navigation to a wealth of non-MLB content. On this page, you'll see the left side of the page is dedicated to minor league data, while the center column directs to Japanese leagues and the right column contains links for Negro Leagues, Cuban National Series and the Korean Baseball Organization. Underneath this section you'll also find quick links to many of the minor leagues (broken down by level), as well as various fall/winter leagues and independent leagues.

We hope you find this new layout helpful. Please let us know if you have any questions or feedback.

Posted in Announcement,, Data | 7 Comments »