Introducing: Leaderboards of Pleasure


What’s the buzz? Tell me what’s a-happening.

As part of his ongoing efforts to bring light into the hearts of every man, woman, and child on this great and stupid planet, Mr. Paul Swydan submits to these pages each Monday the very able FanGraphs Power Rankings. Using a combination of calculations and spells, Swydan attempts to distill and render into electronic print the successes and failures of Major League Baseball’s 30 teams.

Swydan’s work is invaluable — both Boutros Boutros-Ghali and the Slap Chop guy agree. But here’s what people like: lists and rankings. And, after those lists and rankings are digested, what they like is more frigging lists and rankings. Which, that’s what I wanna talk about right now.

The attentive reader will know that I’ve made it my business to explore and attempt to understand what it is exactly about baseball that brings us, the learned fans, pleasure. Some less-than-generous readers might consider my efforts the byproduct of rampant hipsterdom. On the one hand, it’s possible those people are right. On the other, it’s also possible that they’re Jerkfaces from Jerkland.

In any case, one question I sometimes receive is — in the comments of the One Night Only pieces I submit here — one question I receive is, “Where does [Player Name X] rank on the NERD charts?”

In this post — which may or may not become a recurring feature here — I attempt to make this sort of thing clear for all the world to see.

Below, please find the leaderboards for the four fake stats I’ve accidentally invented: Most Underrated Player (MUP?), Pitcher NERD, Player NERD, and Team NERD.

All stats are current as of today.

Underrated Player Leaderboard
To determine the most underrated player, we look at each player’s WAR relative to a very fake version of WAR (called FANT, in this case) constructed only by the five most common fantasy categories. (Read more here.)


Name Diff WAR FANT AVG HR R RBI SB
Denard Span 2.1 2.7 0.6 0.78 -1.12 -0.39 -1.55 -0.33
Kurt Suzuki 1.4 1.0 -0.4 -1.40 -0.55 -1.29 -1.38 -0.64
Howie Kendrick 1.4 3.3 1.9 1.05 0.02 0.21 -0.65 0.31
Shane Victorino 1.4 3.8 2.4 0.69 0.02 1.10 -0.41 0.94
Dustin Pedroia 1.3 3.7 2.4 0.23 -0.36 0.90 0.00 1.42
Brendan Ryan 1.3 1.0 -0.3 -0.52 -1.50 -1.39 -0.81 -0.64
Jack Hannahan 1.3 0.9 -0.4 -1.64 -0.55 -1.09 -1.14 -0.64
Cameron Maybin 1.3 2.0 0.7 -0.34 -0.55 -0.39 -1.30 0.46
Ben Zobrist 1.3 3.7 2.4 -0.01 0.21 1.60 0.49 0.15
Brett Gardner 1.2 2.8 1.6 0.38 -0.74 0.31 -1.30 1.57
Peter Bourjos 1.2 1.5 0.3 -0.46 -0.93 -0.59 -1.55 0.31
Matt Wieters 1.2 1.8 0.6 -0.19 -0.17 -0.99 -0.08 -0.96
Dexter Fowler 1.1 0.9 -0.2 -0.92 -1.50 -0.29 -1.30 -0.64
Emilio Bonifacio 1.1 0.9 -0.2 -0.28 -1.31 -1.09 -1.79 -0.17
Andrew McCutchen 1.1 4.0 2.9 0.51 0.40 0.90 0.41 1.42
Alexei Ramirez 1.1 2.9 1.8 0.48 -0.36 1.00 0.08 -0.49
Alberto Callaspo 1.1 1.4 0.3 0.11 -0.93 -1.29 -0.41 -0.64
John Buck 1.1 1.0 -0.1 -1.52 0.02 -1.19 -0.57 -0.96
Ronny Cedeno 0.9 0.7 -0.2 -0.86 -1.12 -0.89 -1.06 -0.80
Omar Infante 0.9 0.8 -0.1 -0.28 -1.31 -1.49 -0.81 -0.49

Pitcher NERD Leaderboard
The idea with Pitcher NERD — as with the other NERDs — is to express with one number the likelihood that the learned fan might have interest in a certain player. (To read more about Pitcher NERD, click here.)


Name NERD xFIP SwStrk Strk Velo Luck Age KN
Zack Greinke 10 3.13 2.23 1.23 0.64 2.00 0.16 0.00
Clayton Kershaw 10 1.78 1.63 0.49 0.99 0.20 1.18 0.00
Michael Pineda 10 0.74 2.45 2.10 1.74 0.00 1.44 0.00
Roy Halladay 10 2.28 1.41 2.30 0.48 0.00 0.00 0.00
Matt Garza 10 1.54 1.73 0.28 0.99 1.22 0.16 0.00
Cole Hamels 10 2.01 1.95 0.95 0.56 0.00 0.16 0.00
Justin Verlander 10 1.46 1.52 1.14 1.78 0.00 0.00 0.00
David Price 10 1.39 0.26 0.68 1.59 0.52 0.67 0.00
Brandon Morrow 10 0.88 1.95 0.27 1.15 1.57 0.42 0.00
Cliff Lee 10 1.84 0.86 2.29 0.32 0.18 0.00 0.00
Madison Bumgarner 9 0.95 0.42 1.44 0.60 0.56 1.69 0.00
Jordan Lyles 9 0.85 0.69 0.84 0.00 0.85 1.95 0.00
Rubby De La Rosa 9 0.45 0.48 -2.41 2.18 1.65 1.44 0.00
Brandon Beachy 9 1.30 1.57 0.47 0.40 0.17 0.93 0.00
Felipe Paulino 9 0.74 1.30 -0.02 1.78 0.93 0.16 0.00
Anibal Sanchez 9 1.48 2.06 0.86 0.40 0.00 0.16 0.00
James Shields 9 1.54 2.23 1.16 0.20 0.00 0.00 0.00
Jaime Garcia 9 1.37 1.73 0.67 0.00 0.06 0.93 0.00
Tim Lincecum 9 1.56 1.46 -0.54 0.79 0.28 0.16 0.00
Felix Hernandez 8 1.24 0.48 0.21 1.15 0.10 0.67 0.00

Player NERD Leaderboard
Very similar to Pitcher NERD, except for position players. (Read more here.)


Name NERD Age WAR xBABIP HR/FB Spd K%
Matt Kemp 10 0.76 2.30 -0.28 2.54 1.08 -0.73
Ryan Braun 10 0.51 1.62 0.09 1.46 1.48 0.40
Jose Reyes 10 0.27 2.23 0.00 -1.12 2.35 1.76
Jose Bautista 10 0.00 2.79 -0.18 2.70 -0.09 0.18
Shane Victorino 10 0.00 2.48 -0.46 -0.06 2.24 1.13
Troy Tulowitzki 9 0.76 1.33 0.24 0.73 0.26 1.48
Elvis Andrus 9 1.75 0.70 0.33 -0.51 1.53 0.84
Asdrubal Cabrera 9 1.01 0.98 0.03 0.74 1.53 0.34
Curtis Granderson 9 0.00 1.99 -0.06 1.81 1.89 -1.12
Albert Pujols 9 0.00 0.71 0.48 1.44 0.21 1.61
Andrew McCutchen 9 1.25 2.02 -0.04 0.38 0.87 -0.09
Evan Longoria 9 1.01 2.05 0.60 1.01 -0.60 0.25
Robinson Cano 9 0.27 0.55 0.18 1.69 0.87 0.75
Howie Kendrick 9 0.51 1.97 0.05 1.16 0.87 -0.30
Danny Espinosa 9 1.25 1.31 -0.23 1.16 1.48 -0.84
Prince Fielder 9 0.51 1.90 0.00 2.28 -1.16 0.55
Starlin Castro 8 2.00 0.36 0.00 -1.14 1.38 1.30
Ian Kinsler 8 0.02 0.98 0.41 -0.35 1.43 1.16
Justin Upton 8 1.50 1.46 -0.73 0.48 1.02 -0.12
Brett Gardner 8 0.51 1.70 -0.36 -0.09 1.84 0.01

Team NERD Leaderboard
Again, like the other NERD scores, this one represents an attempt to anticipate the “watchability” of each team. (Read more here. Also: note that the three baserunning stats have been consolidated in Speed Score.)


Teams NERD AGE BAT HR/FB SPD BULL UZR PAY LUCK
Royals 10 2.16 0.24 -0.22 1.38 -0.42 0.97 1.40 0.72
Diamondbacks 10 0.94 0.23 0.89 0.78 0.55 1.48 0.97 0.00
Indians 10 1.72 0.44 0.63 0.33 -0.24 1.04 1.08 0.00
Rangers 9 0.00 0.87 1.36 1.08 -1.03 2.62 0.02 0.09
Blue Jays 8 0.50 0.62 0.27 0.93 0.33 1.02 0.75 0.00
Yankees 8 0.00 2.10 2.17 0.93 -0.15 -0.69 0.00 0.00
Brewers 7 0.00 0.77 1.36 0.33 0.94 -0.28 0.18 0.66
Red Sox 7 0.00 2.42 1.19 0.48 0.45 -0.74 0.00 0.00
Rockies 7 0.76 -0.37 0.58 0.33 1.61 0.00 0.12 0.00
Reds 7 0.76 0.33 0.28 -0.13 -0.73 1.41 0.41 0.00
Nationals 6 0.24 -0.86 0.74 0.63 -0.24 0.65 0.72 0.00
Braves 5 0.00 -0.62 1.37 -2.38 2.55 0.28 0.15 0.47
Astros 5 0.68 -0.12 -1.53 0.93 0.52 -0.74 0.55 0.85
Rays 5 0.50 -0.05 -0.21 0.63 -1.43 0.51 1.25 0.00
Padres 5 0.00 -1.06 -0.88 0.78 0.97 -0.44 1.16 0.75
Angels 5 0.15 -0.22 -0.68 0.18 -0.45 0.00 0.00 2.00
Mets 5 0.00 0.24 -1.37 1.53 0.30 0.37 0.00 0.03
Cardinals 4 0.00 1.61 0.92 -0.43 -1.03 -0.21 0.00 0.00
Orioles 3 0.33 -0.03 -0.04 -1.78 0.12 -0.74 0.19 1.38
Phillies 3 0.00 -0.39 -0.09 0.78 -1.09 0.37 0.00 0.08
Giants 3 0.00 -1.50 -1.21 -1.03 1.61 0.67 0.00 1.05
Pirates 3 0.15 -1.20 -0.59 -0.28 0.33 -0.25 1.15 0.00
Marlins 3 0.24 -0.70 -0.04 -1.48 0.33 -1.16 0.89 1.14
Dodgers 3 0.00 -0.32 -0.39 -0.43 -0.49 -0.90 0.00 1.49
Tigers 2 0.50 0.88 0.07 -0.73 -0.67 -1.90 0.00 0.24
Mariners 2 0.76 -1.65 -1.01 -0.28 0.15 -0.21 0.16 0.00
Athletics 2 0.85 -1.23 -1.88 0.18 0.27 -1.57 0.65 0.00
White Sox 1 0.00 -0.24 -0.05 -1.93 0.24 -0.67 0.00 0.00
Cubs 1 0.00 -0.52 -0.19 -0.73 -0.76 -1.44 0.00 0.71
Twins 0 0.00 -1.35 -1.45 -0.58 -2.55 0.32 0.00 0.00




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Carson Cistulli occasionally publishes spirited ejaculations at The New Enthusiast.

28 Responses to “Introducing: Leaderboards of Pleasure”

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  1. TFINY says:

    One of these days…mark my words, one of these days the Twins will not be scored a zero.

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    • They’re still a pretty hard zero — but probably less so than before.

      Has their bullpen really been that bad? Because it looks like it’s been REALLY bad.

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      • Sam says:

        Actually only parts of the Twins bullpen has been bad. They still have some brightspots such as reliever Glen Perkins, 2.03 ERA

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      • Resolution says:

        @ Sam, the Twins sure picked a good night to crap the proverbial bed (in which the bullpen sans Perkins presumably sleeps)

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      • Matt says:

        Yay! 25 Hits by the Dodgers tonight! That’s some bad Twins bullpen, but we’ll take what we can get until we hear more news about bankruptcy!

        Bankruptcy and court proceedings…not fun. The Dodgers are only a 3 right now, which seems about right. Otherwise NERD should have a – modifier for “owner getting more headlines than actual team.”

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      • Bryz says:

        Carson, the bullpen has been bad. Perkins is one of the lone bright spots. Dumatrait seemed to be pretty decent, but his peripherals didn’t match his sparking ERA he had for his first 10 outings or so. That should give you an idea of how bad the ‘pen has been this season, when Phil Dumatrait was at one point considered one of the best relievers on the team.

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  2. hoopsvader says:

    Are you posting game previews for the rest of the week.

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  3. MikeS says:

    I love ya, Carson. You may be the most entertaining writer here. But any system that considers the Royals the most watchable team in baseball must be flawed.

    It is interesting to note that the most watchable and least watchable are the teams with the two worst records in the AL.

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    • MIke S, I feel it’s an appropriate time to inform you that I love ya, as well.

      Also: you’re probably right. There’s a playoff-odds adjustment I can add.

      Let me see what it looks like with that.

      (But also also: Eric Hosmer? Moustakas? Gordon?)

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      • Yirmiyahu says:

        Mr. Cistulli,

        May I take this moment to ask you a question that’s been bothering me: how is it that, as a sabermetrician (sabermagician?), you can worship at the altar of Charlie Blackmon despite the fact that he stubbornly refuses to do those three things that are most holy to sabermetrics? I.e., the Three True Outcomes.

        Also: I love ya, as well.

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      • isavage30 says:

        I’d have to second the opinion that a system that considers the indians and Royals highly watchable is flawed. As an Indians fan, I find their games, at least over the last month, quite painful to the soul, and watching them is about as pleasant as repeatedly stabbing myself in the eye with a butter knife. Seeing Grady Sizemore flail at breaking balls like he’s Russell Branyan, or like he’s a 28-year-old CF with 2 bad knees, is especially soul-crushing, as is predicting “Carlos Santana will jump back from a fastball that’s slightly on the inner half of the plate for strike 3″, and then watching it happen. I notice Jack Hannahan is also 7th in the “underrated” category, despite not being in the “starting” category anymore. Can you really be underrated when you’ve hit at a steady .180 clip for 2 months, with a wOBA around .250?

        I guess the flaw I’m seeing, is it’s not taking into account what a team or player is currently doing. When a team hasn’t hit or played defense in over a month, that should drag the score down. When a guy has hit like a pitcher with an ok bat for 2 months, that should drag his score down.

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  4. Resolution says:

    The system should be reexamined as Adam Dunn is not on the top of any of these lists.

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  5. J Hey says:

    I’m also amazed when I see the team NERD scores sometimes, but then when I look into the numbers they make sense.

    Team NERD only factors in batters and bullpen, which is why the Royals are so high. Surprisingly, their batters are 12th in MLB in WAR. That plus the youngest lineup and the lowest payroll makes them a 10. They’re no good because they’re pitchers are 29th in MLB in WAR.

    If I could make any tweaks to these great stats it would be to eliminate the luck or regression element. I agree its interesting to see if a guy can turn around his bad luck, but the problem is unless he’s on my team I rarely know he’s experiencing bad luck. Maybe an asterisk could be put next to guys who are having the worst luck so I at least know that when watching.

    Also, I think some kind of overall team quality variable should be put into team NERD. Sure the Royals have a young cheap lineup, but I’m still not going to have high interest in watching them if they are way out of the race. You could possibly use the FG power rankings as some kind of variable. This would even scores like the Phillies and Royals out a little bit. Keep up the great work.

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    • rbt says:

      Actually, the Royals ARE fun to watch. By and large they play superior defense, they can hit a bit, and the kid bullpen has been great. But the starting pitching is simply brutal. Really, the starters are the only reason why their record isn’t better. Ignore those guy and they are an eminently watchable team.

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  6. FewFleendsino says:

    blue bood value 2005 ford escape

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  7. J Hey says:

    A playoff-odds adjustment would be great. I think a lot less people would be confused when they see a high NERD game score and then see it’s the 10 Royals or 10 Indians playing.

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  8. Derek says:

    I will cry so very, very hard if the Royals ever drop off the 10 mark. AHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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  9. Unfifure60 says:

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  10. Well-Beered Englishman says:

    I don’t know how they let this bloke write for this website, but I am very glad they did.

    Cheers!

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  11. Norm says:

    Cubs 2nd to last?
    I’m a believer in Team NERD.

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  12. rbt says:

    Sorry, no. Any “Most Underrated” leaderboard that features Dustin Pedroia near the top has a severe flaw in its construction.

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  13. Terence says:

    Under what system does the Astros bullpen have positive value? I don’t watch the Twins everynight, but there is no way their bullpen is worse than the Astros. I turn the TV off when the starters exit the game with a lead.

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  14. Dan says:

    So you used my idea of using xBABIP for position player, or BABIP – xBABIP I assume…

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