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.

26 Responses to “The Site’s Most Underrated Feature: Custom Leaderboards”

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  1. Jaack says:

    And I was expecting an Article on Shin Soo Choo.

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  2. AverageMeansAverageOverTime says:

    I’ve used this but not very often.

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  3. Scott says:

    Is there a way to save the custom stat categories you choose for the leaderboards instead of resetting to the default categories every time you use it? Like how you can do it with the individual player pages.

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    • Matthias says:

      Yes. If you register as a Fangraphs nerd (for no dollars and no cents), then you can save the custom leader boards that you have created!

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  4. Shlum says:

    Custom Leaderboards = Angel Pagan

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  5. ksclacktc says:

    Use them everyday. They are super!

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  6. Jonathan Sher says:

    And I thought the most underrated feature was Carson Cistulli.

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    • Jonathan Sher says:

      Damn you autocorrect! I meant “omniscient and transcendental” instead of “underrated.”

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      • Jonathan Sher says:

        There’s goes Carson hacking my account again.

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        • Name says:

          Ha! Likely story. As if said author’s vocabulary includes the word “I”.

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        • joser says:

          Heh. Of all “The Author’s” most precious and annoying pretensions tics stylistic devices, this is one of the most precious and annoying.

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  7. rustydude says:

    I use them all the time. Great FG feature.

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  8. FanofFangraphs says:

    Thanks, Dave. Just an idea: Maybe you should write an article like this once every couple weeks or so that highlights one of the site’s features. There’s a lot here that people probably don’t use, and these sorts of articles are quite useful.

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  9. 101213 says:

    Does Fangraphs not have a leaderboard for pitches/PA?

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    • Ray says:

      I didn’t see one but not hard to figure with other stats given on a per player bases. Create custom leader board with at bats under standard heading and pitches under more batted ball. No sort and click but at least all your data is right there. Pitches/AB = P\pa. Once you have customs can prolly drag the two data sets with names in excel. And sort the names after you’ve had it calculate for every players.

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  10. Dan says:

    Is there anyway to add Position as an output field? I would find that quite useful.

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  11. NatsFan73 says:

    I renew my call for two stats in particular, if I may. I know it’s somewhat of a junk stat, but I’m sure many of the fantasy nerds who frequent these pages would be happier if we could get Quality Starts on the pitching pages. Also it would be grate if we could somehow get a count of games played by position, as various fantasy leagues have different positional qualifications!

    Give me those, and I’d never have to visit another baseball analysis site again :)

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  12. GoodEnoughForMe says:

    This was actually the feature that got me to register. I always loved the site, but got tired of tweaking how I looked at players all the time, so I sucked it up, signed up, and made some custom learderboards that really help me to look at how players are performing more than standard stat trackers.

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  13. Jaker says:

    One feature I would love to see FG implementing is this:

    A row of MLB AVERAGE VALUES for each stat on the player page.

    For many of these stats you develop a sense of what’s average but a single row with the MLB AVERAGE would be a huge bonus, particularly for lesser known non-counting statistics. I can’t imaging the programming to add this would be overly challenging. And yes, comparing to league average isn’t always helpful but it can be.

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  14. MSpitz says:

    Is there any way to create a custom list of players that meet certain thresholds for certain stats, like the feature they have at Baseball Reference? Like if I wanted a JP Arencibia comp and I was looking for players with >20 homers, 30% strikeout rate.

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  15. Goodbread says:

    I completely agree! I actually came across them some time ago and said to myself that I’d love to build out some great versions of the leaderboards. Still on the list of things to get done.

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  16. here goes nothing says:

    Is there a way to get Steamer projections for 2014 as an option for the leaderboard, or is that just a question of waiting?

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