Sports Reference Blog

2018 WAR Update

Posted by Mike Lynch on March 15, 2018

As you browse Baseball Reference, you might notice some subtle changes to WAR figures on the site. There are four main reasons for this:

  1. Park factors for recent seasons have been re-computed to be three-year rolling averages. For instance, 2016 Park Factors now encompass 2015-2017. This is something that needs to be done when seasons end.
  2. We've incorporated restated and expanded fielding statistics from Sports Info Solutions. SIS's Defensive Runs Saved forms the basis for our Defensive WAR calculations since 2003. From 2011 on they recalibrated data using their timer measures to measure ball hang time. There was also some recalculation based on changing shift methodology. Though we're now publishing their catcher framing stat (Strike Zone Runs Saved), we have not incorporated it into WAR at this time.
  3. Pitchers who received time as position players (whether PH or in the field) are now being treated as part-time pitchers and part-time position players. Previously we treated them as full-time pitchers. Some pitchers like Red Ruffing, Bob Lemon and Jim Kaat appeared in many games as a position player, pinch hitter or pinch runner. We used to credit these PAs as pitchers, which overvalued their offensive contributions. To handle this, we compute a percentage of time as a non-pitcher and make an adjustment.
  4. Also, we have incorporated a good deal more Retrosheet data which has affected the years we can compute more advanced fielding and baserunning measures. We're now able to roll these measures back to 1953. Another important change is that with Retrosheet gamelogs back to 1908, we can now use their IP data back to that year to get starter/relief IP splits. Some pitcher WAR changes for 1908-12 are due to WAR now being calculated using gamelog IP rather than the "official" total listed on the player's stat line. The biggest difference here was the appropriately named Bugs Raymond. The "official" record credits him with 324.1 IP that season, but the gamelogs come out to 304.1, which significantly impacted his WAR calculation (see below). For further reading on discrepancies between "official" records and more recently produced gamelogs, please read this excellent explainer by Retrosheet's Dave Smith.

For further details on WAR and its calculation, please see this WAR explainer.

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Posted in Advanced Stats, Announcement,, Data, Statgeekery, Uncategorized, WAR | 1 Comment »

2018 NCAA Tournament Features

Posted by Alex Bonilla on March 13, 2018

March Madness is upon us, beginning with the First Four tonight. To help college basketball fans and casuals get ready for the Big Dance, we at Sports-Reference have prepared a small guide of features available on our site for just such an occasion.

Of course, what is a college basketball site without some brackets to pore over? In addition to having all four regions available in bracket form, we have links to all of the participating schools. Maybe you're looking for Providence's strength of schedule? Or maybe you need to catch up on who else is playing with DeAndre Ayton at Arizona? That and a lot more can be found on every team's 2017-18 page, easily found on the bracket.

Other features include:

Our NCAA Tournament Forecast, which bases odds of teams reaching the Sweet 16 and beyond on 5,000 simulations. This forecast will keep updating as real-life tournament results come in.

We have records and box scores of every NCAA Tournament going back to 1939. So if you need a refresher on how North Carolina got to the championship game last year, or are feeling nostalgic for the days when Georgetown was actually in the tournament, we have it all.

The NCAA Tournament Matchup Finder is ready for your bracketology research purposes. Maybe you need some context on how often the 13 seed pulls off an upset in the first round? Perhaps you'd like to take a 7 seed making it to the Final Four in three out of the last four tournaments into account when filling out the bracket? All of that info is at your fingertips with the Matchup Finder.

Our NCAA Tournament Player Game Finder will come in handy when you want to compare this year's standout players to stars of years past. Maybe we'll need to know who else went off for 40 points in a first round game. Let's hope for fireworks.

We'll also be keeping track of All-Region Teams, All-Tournament Teams and the Most Outstanding Player; you can find those bestowed with these honors in previous tournaments on our site as well.


From LIU v. Radford tonight to the National Championship Game at the Alamodome on April 2, we'll be here keeping you updated on all the latest in tournament action!

Posted in Announcement, CBB at Sports Reference, Features | 1 Comment »

Pitch Framing Measures Added to Baseball Reference

Posted by Mike Lynch on March 8, 2018

Our friends at Sports Info Solutions (formerly known as Baseball Info Solutions) have provided us with a pitch framing measure back to 2011, which we have added to Baseball Reference. Before I explain any further, if you're unfamiliar with the concept of pitch framing please read Mike Fast's 2011 article on the topic and Ben Lindbergh's 2013 follow up.

The stat that we have added is called Strike Zone Runs Saved. It represents the runs saved by catcher framing. In our tables, it's labeled RszC and it's available from 2011 to the present. While this statistic is a potential component of Defensive Runs Saved (and therefore WAR), please note that we have elected to not integrate this number into DRS (or WAR) at this time. We may elect to do so in the future, but for now we agree with Bill James's stance that waiting for further research is a good idea.

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Posted in Advanced Stats, Announcement,, Data, Features, Statgeekery, WAR | 2 Comments »

Alex Bonilla Joins Sports Reference

Posted by sean on March 7, 2018

I'm pleased to welcome Alex Bonilla to Sports Reference as a User Affairs Coordinator. He'll be answering user questions, working on our new newsletter and much more. He's on twitter at @AlexChacon_OVA. This hire brings us to ten full-time employees.

In other news, Mike Lynch has been promoted from Users Affairs Coordinator and is now Product Manager for Sports Reference.

Posted in Announcement,,, CBB at Sports Reference, CFB at Sports Reference, expire21d,,, Statgeekery | No Comments »

Spring Training Stats on Baseball Reference

Posted by Mike Lynch on March 2, 2018

You may have noticed that our homepage has upcoming Spring Training games listed in the MLB Probable Pitchers section. If you click on a team's name in that section, it will bring up their 2018 Spring Training stats. For instance, here's the 2018 Yankees Spring Training stats. We'll be updating the stats daily.

We also have this register of all 2018 Spring Training stats. If you're looking to access that page via the site, it can be found in the 2018 season menu under the batting or pitching dropdown.

Posted in Announcement,, Data | 4 Comments »

NCAA Tournament Player Game Finder Added to CBB Reference

Posted by Mike Lynch on February 28, 2018

With March Madness right around the corner, we're very excited to announce the latest addition to the Play Index: The NCAA Tournament Player Game Finder! This tool allows users to make custom searches through every individual box score line in NCAA Tournament history, all the way back to the inaugural tournament in 1939. This tool is powered by the most robust, complete collection of NCAA Tournament box scores available online and allows for all sorts of searches for single-game leaders, single-tournament leaders and career tournament leaders.

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Posted in Announcement, CBB at Sports Reference, Data, Features, History, Play Index, Uncategorized | No Comments »

Box Scores Back to 1908 & Play-by-Play Back to 1925 Added to Baseball Reference

Posted by Mike Lynch on February 16, 2018

Thanks to the efforts of our friends at Retrosheet, we have added box scores back to the 1908 season to Baseball Reference (previously, our coverage went back to 1913). Additionally, we have added play-by-play coverage for games games as far back as 1925. Previously, our oldest play-by-plays were from 1930. 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.

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Posted in Announcement,, Data, Features, History, Play Index | 2 Comments »

LeBron James Passes Michael Jordan on All-Time Win Shares List

Posted by Mike Lynch on February 13, 2018

Two years ago, LeBron James passed Michael Jordan to become the NBA's all-time leader in Value Over Replacement Player (which is calculated back to 1973-74). Now, LeBron has passed Jordan on the NBA's All-Time Win Shares list. Both players still trail Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Wilt Chamberlain and Karl Malone, however.

For more nuanced perspective on how these five players stack up, please visit this detailed comparison from our Player Comparison Finder tool.

Posted in Announcement,, Data, Features, History, Play Index, Statgeekery | No Comments »

NFL Player of the Week Leaderboard Added to Pro Football Reference

Posted by Mike Lynch on February 12, 2018

To enhance our coverage of NFL Players of the Week, we have also added an NFL Player of the Week leaderboard. As you can see, Tom Brady is the all-time leader in this honor, which dates back to 1984.

Posted in Announcement, Awards, Data, Features, History, | No Comments »

Active Streak Option Added to Team Streak Finder

Posted by Mike Lynch on February 5, 2018

We've made a small addition to the Basketball Reference Team Streak Finder. You can now restrict your searches to active streaks. So you can now search for things like longest active win streak or longest active streaks with a 3-pointer made.

Posted in Announcement,, Data, Features, Play Index | 5 Comments »