Author Archive

Neil Weinberg FanGraphs Q&A – 8/20/14

1:38
Neil Weinberg: Hey everyone, I’ll be here at 3pm to talk about our advanced stats, our features, our site, and anything else about baseball you’re interested in discussing. Fantasy and prospect questions are fine, but you’re better off asking people who know about those things.

I’m the Site Educator here, so if you’re looking to learn about stuff, that’s what this is for. I imagine we’ll have some fun Alex Gordon-Jeff Passan-Dave Cameron defensive metrics-y stuff to discuss. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, you have thirty minutes to solve the puzzle!

Also, I’m @NeilWeinberg44 on Twitter, so follow me there and contact me that way if you have questions during the week.

3:01
Neil Weinberg: Hey! Let’s chat.

3:01
Neil Weinberg: I’ll be here until at least 4, but as usual, more questions = more chat! Math already, oh brother

3:03
Comment From dbet
When I search for team stats and sort by the “Off” category for runs, there are a significantly more negatives than positives. Why does it work out this way on a number based around average?

3:04
Neil Weinberg: One thing is pitchers, who are terrible. But mostly, -20, -20, and 40 average out to 0 even if there are more negatives

3:04
Comment From august
Hey Neil! It’s me, August Fagerstrom, FanGraphs author! What counts as a “defensive game” in UZR/150? I assumed nine innings but, in doing my own calculators, it appears to be slightly off. Any clue how UZR/150 is calculated?

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Neil Weinberg FanGraphs Q&A – 8/13/14

2:33
Neil Weinberg: Hey all. We’ll get started at 3pm, but go ahead and fill up the queue now with any and all questions.

Remember that this chat is designed for questions about FanGraphs, our features, and our stats, but I’m more than happy to answer any other questions you have. Fantasy and prospect questions aren’t forbidden, but the answers don’t come with a money-back guarantee.

PS: I’m @NeilWeinberg44 if you’re reading this after the fact and have FG related inquiries. I mean, that’s also true if you’re reading it live…see you soon.

3:01
Neil Weinberg: Let’s get started. Reminder, I’ll definitely give you an hour, and I’ll run for two if you ask lots of good questions. This is a social contract, make the most of it.

3:01
Comment From Matt
What are some of the best ways to learn about the sabermetric stats and how to apply them to writing?

3:04
Neil Weinberg: Two general pieces of advice: 1) Go to leaderboards, find a stat you don’t know about, and then go look it up. We have lots of good and improving glossary entries here, and there are others (this is my job here, so you can always ask me to). 2) Read sites that make use of these stats. It’s sort of like learning a language and immersion is the way to go. If you see a post where Dave uses wOBA, you’re going to catch on…”hmmmm these guys seem to be using wOBA when talking about offense…that must be important.” Hang out on these types of sites and you’ll pick it up.

And ask questions! Always ask questions.

3:04
Comment From CStat Guy
For pitching RAR, FIP is used in the calculation. Is there a stat where a pitcher’s ERA is used to calculate a value above league average or replacement level? Thanks.

3:05
Neil Weinberg: We have a stat called RA9-WAR. You have to click to the “value” tab on the leaderboards/pages, but this is WAR based on the players RA9 (which is ERA without the unearned runs subtracted out).

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Neil Weinberg FanGraphs Q&A – 8/6/14

2:10
Neil Weinberg: Hey everyone, let me remind you of the guidelines.

My job here is primarily to serve as something of a Site Educator. This means that I’m responsible for providing resources to readers about our data, advanced metrics, and how to make use of the features available at the site.

My Twitter handle is @NeilWeinberg44 and if you want to get in touch about these kinds of questions at times other than 3pm on Wednesdays, that’s where to find me. It’s my job, so take advantage of it.

With that said, I will prioritize “how does this work?” and “what does this mean?” type questions during the chats, but feel free to ask regular questions about anything as well. Although if you’re here for fantasy advice or prospect talk, I’m probably less helpful than some of our writers.

Think that’s it, queue is open and we’ll start at 3pm!

2:35
Neil Weinberg: Also, I’ve observed that people really like seeing pictures of Dave’s dog, so I am shamelessly posting a picture of my dog in the name of both science and friendship.

2:35
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3:00
Neil Weinberg: Alright, let’s chat. If you’re new to the game, I’ll chat for at least an hour, but will happily go two+ if you pepper the queue with many excellent questions.

3:01
Comment From Pale Hose
Hi Neil. I have a couple questions on HR/FB. 1.) Are all HRs defined as fly balls? 2.) Does FB include IFFB? 3.) Would HR/(FB + LD – IFFB) make more sense? Thanks!

3:03
Neil Weinberg: 1) No. 2) Yes. 3) Not really. At least for the way I think about the stat. I think you could make the case that the stat you’re proposing is interesting, but a lot of line drives are 15 feet off the ground and that’s not what we typically care about with HR/FB%

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Neil Weinberg FanGraphs Q&A – 7/30/2014

2:34
Neil Weinberg: Hey everyone, let me remind you of the guidelines.

My job here is primarily to serve as something of a Site Educator. This means that I’m responsible for providing resources to readers about our data, advanced metrics, and how to make use of the features available at the site.

My Twitter handle is @NeilWeinberg44 and if you want to get in touch about these kinds of questions at times other than 3pm on Wednesdays, that’s where to find me. It’s my job, so take advantage of it.

With that said, I will prioritize “how does this work?” and “what does this mean?” type questions during the chats, but feel free to ask regular questions about anything as well. Although if you’re here for fantasy advice or prospect talk, I’m probably less helpful than some of our writers. Deadline questions welcome too.

Think that’s it, queue is open and we’ll start at 3pm!

2:36
Neil Weinberg: Also, two points of business: 1) There is a gentleman fixing my car’s windshield, so at some point I will disappear in order to pay him. 2) I injured by right index finger over the weekend so my typing is a tad slower than usual. I’ll make up for both by chatting for a long time.

3:00
Comment From Chris
That’s what you get for parking behind Fenway.

3:00
Comment From Jobber
Did you injure your right finger in the same travisty that harmed your windshield?

3:00
Neil Weinberg: I now realize how alarming those two facts were side by side.

3:01
Neil Weinberg: And no, they were not the same incident. Burned my finger in a small grease fire, windshield was hit by a rock. Windshield is fixed…finger less so. Let’s chat!

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Library Update: wOBA and wRC+

A couple of weeks ago, we announced a renewed commitment to the FanGraphs Library and promised regular updates to glossary entries and blog posts. You’ve probably noticed our weekly FanGraphs Q&A chats at 3 p.m. EST on Wednesdays, but the other changes to the library aren’t necessarily obvious on the site’s main page.

If you haven’t had a chance to check out the changes to the library, the entries on Weighted On-Base Average (wOBA) and Weighted Runs Created Plus (wRC+) have been updated and include more current information, a more thorough explanation of how and why you should know and use these stats, and for the first time at FanGraphs, information on how to actually calculate wRC+.

Additionally, you’ll find the library’s blog populated with a couple of posts discussing the importance of learning wOBA and wRC+.

If you’re looking for information on other statistics we offer, on how to make use of various FanGraphs features, or if you have related questions, check out the weekly chat, comment on this post or posts in the library blog or contact me on Twitter @NeilWeinberg44. We’ll roll out more educational posts and glossary updates each week, so be sure to check often.


Neil Weinberg FanGraphs Q&A – 7/23/14

2:31
Neil Weinberg: Hey everyone, let me get you caught up.

My job here is primarily to serve as something of a Site Educator. This means that I’m responsible for providing resources to readers about our data, advanced metrics, and how to make use of the features available at the site.

My Twitter handle is @NeilWeinberg44 and if you want to get in touch about these kinds of questions at times other than 3pm on Wednesdays, that’s where to find me. It’s my job, so take advantage of it.

With that said, I will prioritize “how does this work?” and “what does this mean?” type questions during the chats, but feel free to ask regular questions about anything as well. Although if you’re here for fantasy advice or prospect talk, I’m probably less helpful than some of our writers.

Think that’s it, queue is open and we’ll start at 3pm!

2:59
Neil Weinberg: Alright, let’s chat.

2:59
Comment From Pale Hose
Hi Neil. Welcome back. I’m trying to walkthrough the part 1 of the WAR calculation for hitters. Dave uses the example of 2008 Adrian Beltre. I can match the wRAA on the player page (3.5), but I don’t follow the park adjustment. Somehow I am supposed to take a 96 Safeco park factor and come up with a batting value of 5.9 for Beltre. Can you help with this?

3:02
Neil Weinberg: This is probably too technical to walk you through in detail during a chat, but his wRAA is 3.5 and his Batting Runs are 4.8 for that year. I assume the values changed when we adjusted replacement level, so the exact values Dave and wrote about aren’t exactly correct.

I just did a very quick pen and paper calculation and got 4.7something. I’ll cover the specifics of all of these things as I update the glossary, but if you ever need specific clarifications, get me on Twitter.

3:02
Comment From Paul
Q about defense stats: if a player robs a HR, does he automatically gets 1 run saved? does it go to 4 runs saved if the bases are loaded?

3:02
Neil Weinberg: It depends on how difficult the play is. So basically, you care about how often the average defender would also rob that home run. Unfortunately, not as simple as +1 for solo HR robbing.

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Neil Weinberg FanGraphs Q&A

2:38
Neil Weinberg: Hey everyone, this is my first chat since joining FanGraphs, so let me get you caught up.

My job here is primarily to serve as something of a Site Educator. This means that I’m responsible for providing resources to readers about our data, advanced metrics, and how to make use of the features available at the site.

It’s possible you’ve seen me around the various baseball parts of the internet. My Twitter handle is @NeilWeinberg44 and if you want to get in touch about these kinds of questions at times other than 3pm on Wednesdays, that’s where to find me. It’s my job, so take advantage of it.

With that said, I will prioritize “how does this work?” and “what does this mean?” type questions during the chats, but feel free to ask regular questions about anything as well. Although if you’re here for fantasy advice or prospect talk, I’m probably less helpful than some of our writers. And if you’re here to discuss beer, I am literally the least useful person on our staff.

Think that’s it, queue is open and we’ll start at 3pm!

3:00
Neil Weinberg: Alright, let’s chat! I’ll probably hang out for an hour and fifteen minutes today, but will go longer most days if there are lots of questions.

3:01
Comment From DD
I can never find a direct link on the site for the Live Scoreboard Page. I always have to do a google search. Embarressing I know. Please point me in the right direction. Thanks!

3:02
Neil Weinberg: This is a link to Sunday’s. http://www.fangraphs.com/sc…

What you want to do is go to FanGraphs and look for the “Score” tab at the top. Hover over that and then click the current year (so 2014) and it will take you to the current day. Unfortunately, I can’t show you this in action because today is a very dark day on the calendar.

3:02
Comment From @BobbleHeadGuru
Why are there two different WARs. Why is fWAR better?

3:04
Neil Weinberg: There are two different WARs (actually 3!) because there are different ways to measure certain aspects of performance. Typically, most of the hitting measurements will be the same, but the different sites have different ideas about how to properly measure defense and baserunning…and pitching for that matter. I prefer fWAR, but I recommend looking at all of them. I’ll put together an updated Glossary entry about this in the future to break out the exact details.

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A (Re)Introduction to the FanGraphs Library

Entering play on Thursday night, Kyle Seager owned a .274 batting average. Chris Johnson‘s average was a nearly identical .273. The two third basemen have played in a similar number of games and have come to the plate close to the same number of times. If you use batting average to evaluate these players’ seasons, you’d come to the conclusion that Seager and Johnson are essentially equivalent players this year.

They’re not. In fact, it’s very clear Seager is substantially better than Johnson. Let me rephrase that: It’s very clear Seager is better than Johnson — but only if you’re well-versed in the language of baseball statistics. If you know how to properly value walks, extra base power, baserunning and defense, the difference between Seager and Johnson is impossible to miss.

At FanGraphs, our writers use statistics and metrics like wOBA, wRC+, FIP and WAR to evaluate baseball players and teams. We provide those tools, and more, so others might conduct evaluations on their own. Want to know Miguel Cabrera‘s wOBA against lefties? You can find that on FanGraphs. But what if you don’t know what wOBA means, how it’s calculated or why you should care about it more than batting average?

You can find some of that information on FanGraphs. A well-motivated, self-starter could show up at the site, notice something called wOBA on the leaderboards, go to the glossary and figure out what it means and why it’s important. But it can be intimidating and challenging for people who are just starting out to make sense of everything we offer.

In an effort to make advanced statistics easier, and to understand and to better use the data and features available at FanGraphs, we’re relaunching and promoting the FanGraphs Library. There’s a lot of great information there already, but this revamped library is even better. There’s a steep learning curve, though, so I’ve been tasked with making things a bit simpler.

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