How to Use FanGraphs: Leaderboards!

In addition to updated glossary entries and blog posts extolling the virtues of various sabermetric statistics and principles, the revitalized FanGraphs Library is also going to be a place where we highlight features available at the site that will allow you to get the most out of our data.

Below, you’ll find everything you ever wanted to know about the FanGraphs Leaderboards. If you’ve been a long-time reader who never misses a single post, a lot of this might be old news. If you’re anything short of that, there’s a good chance you’ll pick up a few tricks to get the most out of the site.

To navigate to the leaderboards, go the tab at the top of the page that says “Leaders” and click on the current year (or whichever year you’re interested in for hitters or pitchers). We’ll use 2014 hitters as an example. If you’ve clicked your way to the right page, the top of your screen should look like this. Screenshot 2014-07-31 at 9.46.48 PM Below the basic toolbar, you’ll find three tabs called “Player Stats,” “Team Stats,” and “League Stats.” Clicking on the player section will return individual results by player, clicking on the team section will return individual results by team, and clicking on the league section will return results of the entire league. This might seem self explanatory, but if you ever wanted to know what the league average value is for a given stat, this is the way to do it.

The next row down offers you a chance to switch between “Batting,” “Pitching,” and “Fielding.” This is also going to be pretty self explanatory, but figuring out how to navigate quickly from one area to another is important. Below that is where things start to get interesting.

You can select which league you want to view, either the AL, NL, or All Leagues. Next to that, you have the option of selecting an individual team. Beyond that, you can “Split Teams” which allows you to divide up a player’s season or career based on the teams for which he played. For example, if you want to view Joakim Soria‘s season with the Royals and Tigers separately, clicking Split Teams would divide those into separate lines. If you are looking at multi-season data, Split Teams will offer you different lines for each player-team relationship. Also on this line is a check box for “Active Roster,” which allows you to grab players who are currently on a 40-man roster.

Next there is a row where you can select one of many positions. This is sometimes confusing, but these tabs allow you to return players who play these positions. These tabs do not provide you with their production only while playing these positions. For example, Nelson Cruz might show up in both DH and OF, but both tabs will include his full season stats. This is true for team and league data as well.

On the next line, you can select an individual season on the left and set your minimum PA on the right, but the “Split” tab is where things get interesting. I won’t list all of the options but we allow you to split by time of year, date, handedness, home/away, type of hit, situation, hit location, position (i.e. stats while playing SS), and batting order position.

Take another step down and you can choose to split seasons, which would allow you to look for seasons from 2010-2014, for example, with each player’s season available individually. So you could get Roy Halladay‘s 2010 and 2011 seasons in the same leaderboard. Next to that you can just take a look at all rookies. And then you can decide to set a range of seasons picking any starting and ending date.

Take one more step down and you can set the ages you want to show up in the results, meaning that if you only want to see 30 year old players, you could set the minimum and maximum ages to 30.

Below that, we have a panel that allows you to select from any number of statistical groupings. There are far too many stats to name in one post, but if you click through the tabs you’ll be able to see what we offer. Screenshot 2014-07-31 at 10.21.43 PM If you scroll down the page you’ll see something close to the image above, although there will be 30 rows rather than the truncated 15 you see here. Each column is sortable, you can change the number of results you get per page, and you can jump around to the various pages of results. You can also make use of three important features.

On the far right, above where it says “WAR,” there is a little tab that says “Export.” This is going to be an extremely useful tool if you like to play around with stats and do all sorts of crazy filtering, graphing, or combining. Clicking “Export” will provide you with a .CSV of whatever is currently in the leaderboard. So if you’ve decide to look at second basemen from 2012-2013 with 500 of more PA, clicking “Export” will download all of that data. You can then open it in Excel or Google Sheets and use it however you like.

To the far left, you’ll find “Show Filter,” which will allow you to specify statistical values that you want to see. For example, you can ask it to show you the stats for players who have a walk rate of 8% or higher, for example. The filters don’t allow you to sort by every stat, so exporting and sorting yourself might be necessary in some cases.

You’ll also notice “Custom Reports” is right next to this filtering tool, but this is going to just send you down to the part of the page below the actual data, so let’s just scroll down and see this: Screenshot 2014-07-31 at 10.31.09 PM These three features are essentially the hidden gems of FanGraphs. On the left, we have “Custom Leaderboards” which allow you to arrange the actual statistics in any order that you want. If you want to add RE24 to the Dashboard, all you have to do is find it in the left hand column, select it, click the left arrow and then click “Create Custom Table.” A new page will load with RE24 alongside the other stats. You can essentially customize this any way you like.

“Custom Players” might be even more useful. Type any player you want into the dialogue box and then just keep doing it. Want to compare Mike Trout and Miguel Cabrera without all of those other baseball players? Just put them in the box and click “Create Custom Player List.”

Finally, you can save specific leaderboards on the far right. This might be a certain set of players, certain set of stats, or really anything you can imagine. If you’re logged in, give it a name and click “Save Report” and you can come back to it again and again.

All of these features are useful individually, but you can really get a lot of value out of combining them in all sorts of ways. Want to see how two players did against lefties from 2010-2011? You can do that easily.

Additionally, if you have a particular leaderboard you find interesting or useful, the URL is unique for everything, so you can copy and paste it to share with everyone. Mastering these features is will not only help you find the information you’re looking for, but you will also be much better at communicating your findings to others.

Have fun playing with the various features and feel free to ask questions in the comments section if you can’t figure out how to do something!




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Neil Weinberg is the Site Educator at FanGraphs. He is also the Associate Managing Editor at Beyond The Box Score and can be found writing enthusiastically about the Detroit Tigers at New English D. Follow and interact with him on Twitter @NeilWeinberg44.


17 Responses to “How to Use FanGraphs: Leaderboards!”

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  1. I’m still not clear on a lot of this, but I’m going to seriously play around with these features in the hope I can use them in my writing. I tweeted to Jeff Sullivan the other day about these exact issues, and he was kind enough to give me some clues. I’ve had some real difficulty trying to use the site.

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  2. Phillies113 says:

    Is there a way to compare stats between certain dates? For instance, if I wanted to see how a player did from June 20th through the beginning of the All-Star break, how, if possible, could I find this data? Or is there a different resource out there somewhere (not on FanGraphs) which provides this info?

    Thanks Neil!

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  3. vztaxes says:

    Any chance that we can get the sort column highlighted or shaded to show in a jiffy which column the particular table is sorted by? For instance I’ve learned over time that when I view pitching data that the default sort is FIP but sometimes it takes a bit to figure out the sort parameters on the tables.

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    • The default is not to have a highlight, but if you sort the table yourself, it will highlight the column. So the basic leaderboard starts being sorted by WAR, but if you sort it by WAR or anything else, the column will turn gray

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  4. tomhaywood says:

    How do the custom filters work. What does ‘and’ & ‘or’ mean. I always just end up with a blank leaderboard. Any chance of a walkthrough example?

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  5. Sure.

    First column starts with AND, but you can switch to OR, NOT AND, or NOT OR. Basically, this allows you to use multiple filters. So if you want to see a guy with more than 8 BB% AND 10 K%, use AND. If you want anyone who fits either of those things, you would use OR.

    Last column just deletes it, which is easy.

    Second column opens the first stat line. You select the stat, then if you want greater/lesser/whatever, then plug in your value.

    The third main column allows you to group things together, so you can do stuff like 8 BB% and either a 10 K% or 20 HR.

    Simple example, walk rate greater than 10%:
    http://www.fangraphs.com/leaders.aspx?pos=all&stats=bat&lg=all&qual=y&type=8&season=2014&month=0&season1=2014&ind=0&team=&rost=&age=&filter=18431&players=

    Importantly, you need to use the decimals if you’re doing percent. So a 10 BB% is 0.1000.

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    • tomhaywood says:

      Thanks Neil, that’s set me straight. It was the decimals that got me!! I kept putting in 10.00, 20.00 etc for K/BB% and wondered why I was getting nothing out.

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  6. wari says:

    Is there any way to see a custom player list comprised only of today’s probable starters, short of putting each in manually? Great tool.

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  7. Bob Hudgins says:

    I just can’t figure it out. I’ve gotten farther this time, but I still don’t get it. I simply do not understand how Mr. Sullivan found out the percentage of “air balls” Yoenis Cespedes has hit to left. I’m coming up with too many plate appearances; I can’t even describe my problems here.
    I have a total of 222 fly balls and liners from Cespedes. I see a total of 244 balls hit the other way. I see 99 balls hit to center. I find 156 events where he pulled the ball. Then I see percentages on each type of batted ball. Then my head swims. I can’t get from one to the other.
    I am trying to go along, recreating what Jeff Sullivan did for his 7/22 Allen Craig piece. I need assistance that can’t be provided with a paragraph on here.

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