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College Baseball Stats Added to Baseball Reference

6th June 2019

Baseball Reference has added college baseball stats to the Register section of the site.

The statistics cover NCAA Division I back to the 2013 season and also four collegiate summer leagues back to 2015 (Cape Cod League, New England Collegiate Baseball League, Northwoods League and Perfect Game Collegiate Baseball League).

So you can now see, for instance, Aaron Nola's numbers at LSU in 2013 and 2014, where he teamed with Alex Bregman, or Kris Bryant's 31 HR 2013 season at San Diego.

Additionally, you can see how 2019 #1 overall pick Adley Rutschman performed both at Oregon State and in the Cape Cod League.

Read the rest of this entry

Posted in Announcement, Baseball-Reference.com, Data | Comments Off on College Baseball Stats Added to Baseball Reference

Find Best Performances vs *Any* Opponent With Split Finders

31st May 2019

In honor of Gleyber Torres's ridiculous performance against the Orioles this season, we've made a subtle, but very useful, tweak to the Split Finder tools in the Baseball Reference Play Index.

Previously, when you selected split by opponent and selected "match any listed" you were served results that included all opponents .500 or better, all opponents under .500 and interleague opponents lumped together. While those are technically opponent split options, it didn't really match the spirit of the search, which was users searching for outstanding (or awful) performances against any single opponent. So we've made a tweak to "match any listed" opponent split searches and now show only splits vs individual teams in those searches.

Here's a few examples of searches you can now run easily, without having to sift through records against teams above and below .500:

We hope you enjoy this addition. Please let us know if you have any questions, comments or concerns.

Posted in Announcement, Baseball-Reference.com, Play Index | Comments Off on Find Best Performances vs *Any* Opponent With Split Finders

Baseball-Reference Adds Playoff Odds

14th May 2019

Starting today, while you browse Baseball-Reference, you can find probabilities of each team to reach the postseason, win the division, and advance to each playoff round including winning the World Series.

To compute these odds, we simulate the rest of the season and the postseason 1,000 times each day. The methodology relies on Baseball-Reference’s Simple Rating System (SRS), which provides a strength-of-schedule-adjusted rating of each team, expressed in runs per game better or worse than an average team.

Prior to going into the details, we should tell you what our goals were for the system. Systems can vary in what they focus on, so having a clear idea of the questions we are trying to answer can add some insight and guide you in how you might use the system. We wanted a relatively simple system that would most accurately estimate the team's end of the year win total. This system could answer questions such as: Should a team go for it at the trade deadline? or Is a team in second place at the All-Star Break likely to fall off or contend for the division? or Is it too early to be certain a hot start will continue? This system is not designed to predict World Series win odds as well as possible since it's tuned with regular season data only. We are assuming that teams are as likely to win in the postseason as they are in the regular season and this is probably a poor assumption given the increased importance to bullpens and superstar starting pitchers.

Additionally, since we wanted a simple system, we are not considering player movement at the trade deadline or individual pitcher matchups which could become relevant during the final games of the season. If you want a more complicated system that considers roster composition, we would point you to the fine system at Baseball Prospectus or FanGraphs.

Typically, SRS is calculated and displayed (for example, on the standings page) based on the season to-date.  For the purposes of the playoff odds simulation, though, we are calculating a value of SRS using each team’s previous 100 games, adding in 50 games of .500 ball for regression to the mean. After a lot of backtesting, these are the numbers that provided the most predictive value. Running the simulation as of July 15 and August 15 of each year from 2009 to 2018, the simulation produced a root-mean-square error of 4.63 wins when compared to teams’ actual end-of-season win totals. For example, last season, both the July and August simulations predicted the Atlanta Braves within 1 win of their eventual season total of 90. This error was the lowest of any of the 50 potential inputs we considered. It was lower than a system that used just the current season SRS, any system with no regression to the mean, and, as a sanity check, a system that just flipped a coin for each game.

Of course, using past performance to predict future performance has its quirks, especially early in the season. For instance, look at the Philadelphia Phillies, who experienced significant roster turnover this past winter. The Phillies added Jean Segura and J.T. Realmuto via trade, as well as David Robertson and Andrew McCutchen via free agency (I think that’s everybody). Looking back over their final 100 games of 2018, Philadelphia’s SRS comes in at -0.7. In other words, they were 0.7 runs per game worse than a league average team.

As we get further into the season, the numbers start to shift, as 2019 performance makes up a larger portion of that 100-game population. Through the games of May 12, Philadelphia’s SRS value over the past 100 games is -0.6, boosted by their 0.4 value in the current season.

While teams like Philadelphia have obvious additional context to keep in mind, using a system that takes into account last season’s performance as well as this season’s prevents the simulation from being fooled too early on by a team that’s simply off to a hot start. The result is a more skeptical simulation that needs to be convinced over time that a club’s new success is legitimate.

Check out this season’s current playoff odds for all teams here, and be sure to check out team pages to see how a team’s odds have changed over time.

If you have any questions or suggestions, feel free to contact us through our feedback form.

 

Posted in Announcement, Baseball-Reference.com, Features, SRS | Comments Off on Baseball-Reference Adds Playoff Odds

2018 and 2019 KBO Stats on Baseball-Reference

8th May 2019

In addition to MLB and U.S. minor leagues, Baseball-Reference also tracks statistics from leagues in other countries, such as the Mexican League, Japan's Central and Pacific Leagues, and the Australian Baseball League.

We also cover the Korean Baseball Organization, and we recently added 2018 full season statistics for the league. We are also tracking the ongoing 2019 season and will be updating KBO stats daily.

Merrill Kelly made his MLB debut with the Arizona Diamondbacks this season, coming over after spending 4 years in the KBO. In 2018 Kelly had a 12-7 record for SK Wyverns and finished 2nd in the league in SO/9 among pitchers with at least 100 innings pitched.

With 2019 statistical coverage, you can also keep track of former MLB players who are playing for the first time in the KBO this year. José Miguel Fernández made his MLB debut with the Los Angeles Angels in 2018 but now he's in the top 5 of batting average and home runs in the KBO. Tommy Joseph spent two seasons in the majors with the Philadelphia Phillies, and is now playing for the LG Twins this season. On the pitching side, William Cuevas, Deck McGuire and Jake Thompson all find themselves in the top 5 in strikeouts in their first KBO seasons.

If you have any questions or suggestions, feel free to contact us through our feedback form.

Posted in Announcement, Baseball-Reference.com, Data, Features | Comments Off on 2018 and 2019 KBO Stats on Baseball-Reference

Old Hoss Radbourn: 59 or 60 Wins?

10th April 2019

Keen-eyed Baseball-Reference users have written us asking about an update made to the statistics of Hall of Fame pitcher Old Hoss Radbourn. In the past, we had displayed Radbourn with 59 wins in his 1884 season with Providence. However, in a recent update, Radbourn has been bumped up to 60 wins.

Before we delve into what the correct number is, let's zoom out a bit, first. It will probably surprise most baseball fans to discover that there was no league-mandated rule in place for assigning wins and losses before 1950. Wins were awarded, but they were entirely up to the discretion of the official scorer. Compounding this issue is the fact that while the leagues tracked pitcher wins for much of the Deadball Era, they made many errors, and even briefly stopped officially counting pitcher wins and losses for a few years in the 1910s as ERA was first gaining popularity. A SABR member named Frank Williams meticulously corrected the record, and his research formed the basis for the accepted totals you see today.

Williams unveiled his groundbreaking work in 1982 with the article All the Record Books Are Wrong. I'd encourage you to read the article at that link (and thank you to John Thorn for re-posting it in its entirety).

Williams was the original source for the 59 wins attributed to Radbourn in 1884. He arrived at this number by determining what practices were used at the time to determine pitcher wins and losses. Earlier record books had retroactively applied the 1950 rule to Radbourn's era and given him 60 wins as a result. However, it was discovered by Frederick Ivor-Campbell that this was done in error and that one of his 1884 wins (on July 28) should have actually been credited to his teammate Cyclone Miller.

Miller was indeed the correct winner if you applied the 1950 rule, since he pitched 5 innings and left with a lead. However, Radbourn pitched 4 shutout innings and was more effective. Practice in the 1880s allowed for the more effective pitcher to be deemed the winning pitcher, per Pete Palmer. While Williams originally concluded that Miller was the correct winner of this game (giving him 59 wins on the season), he has recently concluded that using practices of the time Radbourn is the correct winner, and therefore has 60 wins in 1884.

Ironically, we end up back at the original 60 wins attributed to Radbourn's 1884 season all the way back in 1920, but hopefully we've learned a good deal along this path. We hope this serves as a reminder how valuable the research done by SABR members is.

In conclusion, we are now showing that Old Hoss Radbourn was credited with 60 wins in his 1884 season.

Posted in Baseball-Reference.com, History, Statgeekery | 7 Comments »

2019 WAR Update

21st March 2019

As we approach the beginning of the 2019 season, we have made some updates to our Wins Above Replacement calculations.  You may notice some small changes to figures as you browse the site. As always, you can find full details on how we calculate WAR here.

Openers

Last season, the Tampa Bay Rays popularized the concept of the opener, where the first pitcher of the game is expected to pitch considerably less than a typical starting pitcher.  The opener is followed by a “headliner” or “bulk guy,” who enters the game after the opener but takes on responsibilities similar to a traditional starting pitcher. The Rays found success with this approach, and several other teams followed suit.

Our Wins Above Replacement calculation treats starting pitchers and relief pitchers differently, since relief pitchers have much lower ERAs than starters.  The opener strategy throws a wrinkle into this, since the opener is not expected to go deep into the game and the headliner is, so we have a starting pitcher who is behaving more like a relief pitcher and vice versa.

Tom Tango posted some thoughts on this last year, and the discussion in the comments of that post produced a working definition for the opener:

  1. Determine if we have an opener.  This pitcher must start the game and have either at most 2 innings pitched (6 outs), or at most 9 batters faced.
  2. Determine if we have a headliner. This pitcher must meet two criteria:
  3. Length of appearanceAt least 4 innings pitched (12 outs), or at least 18 batters faced
  4. Order of appearanceThey are the first reliever, OR they are the second reliever, but the first reliever entered mid-inning, and the second reliever started the following inning

 

If both these pitchers exist, then we have a game with an opener and a headliner.  Both pitchers must exist; you cannot have an opener without a headliner, and vice versa.

Using this definition, we have updated our WAR calculation to treat openers like relievers and headliners like starters.  This change has been applied to all seasons since 1960, the first year we apply a starter/reliever adjustment.

Ryan Yarbrough, the Rays’ most frequent headliner, is an instructive case.  He pitched 38 games and 147.1 innings, but started just 6 times.  By the above definition, 16 of his relief appearances were as a headliner.  Prior to this adjustment, the Rays’ rookie had 0.9 WAR for 2018. After the adjustment, Yarbrough has 1.5 WAR.  The new calculation recognizes that Yarbrough is behaving more like a traditional starting pitcher, and holds his performance to the same standard it would if Yarbrough had started those games.

Park Factors

Park factors for recent seasons have been re-computed to be three-year rolling averages. For instance, 2017 Park Factors now encompass 2016-2018. This is something that needs to be done each year when the season ends.

Catcher Defense Prior to 1953

With help from Sean Smith of baseballprojection.com (and of an unnamed team front office) and baserunning statistics from Pete Palmer, we now have incorporated catcher defense for the years 1890 through 1952 based on stolen bases, caught stealing, errors, passed balls, and, from 1925 on, wild pitches.  Prior to this update, these players’ defensive abilities were judged only based on errors and passed balls.

Duke Farrell is a particularly noteworthy beneficiary of this change.  His career WAR rises by nearly 8 wins, because he played in an era (1888-1905) with a lot of stolen base attempts and did a better job of throwing out runners than his contemporaries.

This change also impacts pitchers’ WAR figures, since we have more information about the quality of defenses to take into account.  For instance, Jack Taylor and Kid Nichols of the 1904 Cardinals see their WAR numbers rise by more than a win each after accounting for the fact that their catchers threw out fewer runners than the rest of the league.  Indeed, the Cardinals’ primary backstop Mike Grady saw his WAR drop by two wins with this update.

On the flipside, legendary pitcher Cy Young loses more than 4 wins over his career after accounting for the above-average work his teammates did behind the plate throughout his career.

We’ve highlighted some of the more extreme changes here, but to see full lists of the largest changes to season and career WAR totals, please see the spreadsheet here.

 

Posted in Advanced Stats, Announcement, Baseball-Reference.com, Data, Statgeekery, WAR | 12 Comments »

2019 Spring Training Stats on Baseball-Reference

26th February 2019

Baseball-Reference is gearing up for the 2019 season, and one feature we're glad to announce is the tracking of 2019 spring training stats. On our home page, you'll notice spring training games are listed in the Today's Games section; clicking on any of those team links will take you to that team's spring training statistics. For example, here's a look at how the 2019 Minnesota Twins are faring so far.

In the What's Happening segment of the home page, we will also have links to the full batting and pitching registers for 2019 spring training. Those registers are also accessible by clicking on the 2019 Major League Baseball link of our Seasons page.

Spring training statistics will be updating daily. If you have any questions or suggestions, feel free to contact us through our feedback form.

Posted in Announcement, Baseball-Reference.com, Data, Features | Comments Off on 2019 Spring Training Stats on Baseball-Reference

Biggest Comeback Wins in Baseball History

29th January 2019

So your team is down 7 runs in the 7th inning, and you're tempted to accept defeat when you realize that you're watching baseball and one hot inning could change the end result. Wouldn't it also be nice to have some facts on your side about other teams that have accomplished improbable comebacks?

Well, Baseball-Reference is here to help with a new page that tracks the biggest comebacks in baseball sorted by the lowest win expectancy a winning team faced before mounting their comeback. Win Expectancy is a measure based on play-by-play, so this measure is available in full back to 1974 and mostly complete back to 1925.

In the regular season, we have 2 situations where a team was at 0.01% win expectancy before eventually winning. On June 29, 1952, the visiting Chicago Cubs were down 8-2 to the Cincinnati Reds with 2 outs and nobody on base in the top of the 9th inning. One more out would've ended the game, but the Cubs managed to get a string of 7 runs and ended up escaping with the victory.

The 2nd situation happened with the 1990 Phillies, who were down 11-1 to the Dodgers in the 7th inning. From there, Von Hayes drove in 2 runs in the 8th inning, and that led to a full-force comeback in the 9th inning, including a 3-run homer by John Kruk. Philadelphia went on to leave Dodger Stadium that night with a 12-11 win.

We also have a table for most improbable postseason comebacks. At the top of the list is the 1929 Philadelphia Athletics, who came back from an 8-0 deficit in the 7th inning to win Game 4 of the World Series, a series they would go on to win. More recently, you may recall the Red Sox coming back from a 7-0 deficit to take Game 5 of the 2008 ALCS from the Rays. Even if Tampa Bay went on to the World Series, Boston fans could take minor solace in J.D. Drew driving in Kevin Youkilis for the game-winning run in Game 5.

Check out the rest of the most improbable comebacks in baseball history on Baseball-Reference. If you have any questions or suggestions, feel free to contact us through our feedback form.

Posted in Announcement, Baseball-Reference.com, History, Playoffs | 2 Comments »

Ejection Totals and In-Game Tendencies Added to Manager Pages

24th October 2018

For manager pages on Baseball-Reference, we have added a column for ejections to their primary Managerial Stats table. Bobby Cox's career 162 ejections make for a nice finishing piece on his collection of accolades. We have ejections data for managers all the way back to the 1889 season, so even classics like John McGraw are fully accounted for. We'll also take the opportunity to mention that if you want to dig into what the cause for these ejections were, Retrosheet's Managers section will have that for you.

We have also added a new Managerial Tendencies table to managers' pages, showing how often their teams employed certain strategies and how their rate compared to the league they were managing in. We show a manager's tendencies in stolen base attempts at 2nd and 3rd, as well as how often their teams attempted sacrifice bunts, issued intentional walks, or made player substitutions.

Using one recent example, in Dusty Baker's final year with the Washington Nationals, his players attempted to steal 3rd base on 2.9% of the chances they had. Using 100 as the league average, Baker in 2017 had a league-adjusted rate of 180, meaning that Baker's team was attempting this almost twice as much as the average NL squad that season.

We have intentional walk tendencies back to 1955, while the other managerial tendencies are available since 1925. If you have any questions about this new feature or any other section of Baseball-Reference, feel free to contact us through our feedback form.

Posted in Announcement, Baseball-Reference.com, Data, Features, History, Statgeekery, Trivia | 3 Comments »

Kenny Jackelen Joins Sports Reference

11th October 2018

Kenny Jackelen has joined Sports Reference as a web developer. Kenny will be working on our baseball site and elsewhere. He brings a long history of software development to Sports Reference. He previously worked as a software developer at Epic, and lives with his family in Minnesota where he cheers on the Twins and will be leading the Joe Mauer for Hall of Fame election bandwagon. He's on twitter at @kennyjackelen.

This brings us to eleven full-time employees. We don't have any open positions at this moment, but any future opportunities will be advertised both here and on social media accounts.

Posted in Announcement, Baseball-Reference.com, Basketball-Reference.com, CBB at Sports Reference, CFB at Sports Reference, expire10d, FBref, Hockey-Reference.com, Pro-Football-Reference.com | 3 Comments »