The Site’s Most Underrated Feature: Custom Leaderboards

I don’t usually write posts that are just straight up promotion of things here on FanGraphs, but last night, I saw the following note on Twitter.

I responded and told Andrew that we do have exactly that feature, which he just hadn’t found yet. And, since our audience has grown a lot in the last year or so, it’s probably fair to guess that he’s not the only one who isn’t aware of this feature. So, without shame, the entire point of this post is to make you aware of our Custom Leaderboards.

From any page on the site, you can access the Leaderboard by clicking on “Leaders” in the toolbar at the top of the page. From there, simply scroll down past the 30 players listed until you get to the Custom section. There are three aspects to the custom leaderboards.

On the left, you have the option to customize the statistics that are being displayed on the leaderboard you’re looking at. That box looks like this:


From there, you can swap out any statistic being displayed for nearly any other stat on the site. Want to have a leaderboard that includes some items from the standard tab (IP), the advanced tab (BB%, K%, LOB%, ERA-/FIP-/xFIP-), batted ball tab (GB%, HR/FB, BABIP), and the PITCHF/x tab (FBv) all on the same page? You can. It looks like this.

There’s basically no end to the customization of stats you can choose. If you have specific categories you want to track for your fantasy league, you can set them up to all show up on one page. You can mix pitch type percentages with plate discipline stats and then throw in the various components that add up to WAR as well. Nearly every statistic on FanGraphs is available to be added to the custom leaderboards, and you can put whichever ones you’d like next to each other.

Now, that’s pretty neat, but as Andrew noted, the real killer feature is being able to select certain players for comparison. For this, you want to go slightly to the right, to the custom player list box.


That drop down box will let you pick any player in the FanGraphs database and put their statistics side by side. I use this feature a lot. For instance, when the Dodgers signed Brandon League to a three year, $23 million contract over the winter, I created this one, showing League and Jason Frasor (1 year, $1.5 million) next to each other other. Change the year to 2013 if you want to have a chuckle at the Dodgers expense.

And then, you can use all the normal leaderboard tools for additional filtering. Want to see how two players compared in their age 26 season? Use the age filters. Want to see how they a group of players stacked up during the 1990s? You can do that too. Only want to see how they did versus left-handers? Use the splits drop down and pick “vs L”.

You’re not limited to two players, of course. You can add as many players as you want through the custom player list, though if you’re wanting to put a hundred names or something onto your player list, doing them one by one could be cumbersome. So, here’s a trick for you that could save you some time.

You can add players to a custom player list by adding their FanGraphs player id directly to the URL, so you don’t have to wait for the drop down box to load and then hit add player each time. The easiest way to get the FanGraphs player id for a large list of players is to use our Player Linker tool. From there, you can either type (or copy, if you already have the names in some other document/website) the players into the linker, hit link players now, and the page will reload with hyperlinks for each player. A hyperlinked player string looks like this:

If you take that line and dump it into excel, you can use the parsing features of the spreadsheet to isolate everything to the right of the equal sign and to the left of the & sign in its own box, and those numbers (or letters and numbers, if it’s a minor league player) are the fangraphs player id. Now, you can just take that number and add it to the end of URL of your custom leaderboard, which will look like this:


Just separate the player ids by comma (you can do this in excel too), paste them onto the end, and hit enter. You’ll have a full list of whatever players you wanted to have on a custom player list without having to add them individually.

And, yes, you can use custom player lists and custom stat reports together to build lists of specific players showing just the stats you want. It’s a pretty neat little tool, but you don’t have to go through all these steps every single time. You can also save any custom leaderboard or custom player list you make using the Custom Reports section, over on the right hand side. I’m not going to screencap that section, because, well, my city just got hit with a huge storm and I’m bouncing around trying to find places with power to finish this post. So, you know, you’ll see it. On the right. Custom Reports. Can’t miss it. Just type in the name of the report you want to save, hit Save Report, and it will be waiting there for you next time you want to access it.

Customizable leaderboards, custom players lists, all easily saved and accessed whenever you want. It really is one of the best features on the site, and hopefully you find it as useful as I do.

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Dave is the Managing Editor of FanGraphs.

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And I was expecting an Article on Shin Soo Choo.