A number of months ago I rolled out “the most popular player feature”. It’s basically which players were viewed the most on FanGraphs in the past 24 hour period. Over our spring training trip, it was mentioned to me several times that Rafael Soriano is always in the top five and that the list must be broken.
It’s certainly possible that the list is broken, but after combing through the code, I couldn’t find anything particularly egregious. I’m inclined to believe one of the following: the system is being gamed (maybe it can be if you do something like this), there’s a group of people who everyday can’t help but fawn over Rafael Soriano’s stats (there are a lot of Yankees fans), or he really is just that popular (I’m skeptical).
To put things into better context, this whole player popularity system was launched in November and the most popular player over that time period is Albert Pujols, followed closely by Derek Jeter. These are not shocking revelations. Then comes Rafael Soriano.
Soriano has made the top five for the day 49 times out of 151 days and is only topped by Albert Pujols 60 times. Derek Jeter’s managed to make the top five 34 times and then there’s a big drop off to Ichiro Suzuki‘s 17 times.
Since Soriano signed with the Yankees he’s made the list 39 times, showing up on the top five list 48% of the time. Prior to signing with the Yankees, he made the top five 10 times, good for only 14% of the time. Being a Yankee has clearly helped him, but that 14% is still the fifth most appearances in the top five prior to his signing. In the past 30 days, he’s made the top five list 17 times, the most of anyone.
Whatever the reason is for the incessant need to look up Soriano’s stats (hey, I’m not complaining), it would seem that you should get used to him being a semi-permanent fixture in the popular players list.