Archive for January, 2007

Last But Not Least, ZiPS

Dan Szymborski was kind enough to let us post the ZiPS projections he provides to Baseball Think Factory. Here’s a bit about ZiPS:

“Disclaimer: ZiPS projections are computer-based projections of performance. Performances have not been allocated to predicted playing time in the majors – many of the players listed above are unlikely to play in the majors at all in 2007. ZiPS is projecting equivalent production – a .240 ZiPS projection may end up being .280 in AAA or .300 in AA, for example. Whether or not a player will play is one of many non-statistical factors one has to take into account when predicting the future. “

Just like with the Bill James projections, we’ve used the Batting Average, On-Base Percentage, Slugging Percentage, Runs Created, Runs Created/27 and ERA supplied in the original file instead of calculating it ourselves.

I’m fairly certain this will be the last addition to the projections this season, which leaves us with a grand total of four projections (Bill James, CHONE, Marcels, and ZiPS) to choose from.

As always, if you notice any problems or errors, please let us know and we’ll do our best to fix the problem immediately.

Bill James Projections

In addition to the Marcel & CHONE projections, the projections from the Bill James Handbook are now available in the stats pages courtesy of Baseball Info Solutions. They will not be available in the leaderboard format on FanGraphs, but you can purchase them from Baseball Info Solutions here.

Just a quick note about how the projections are integrated: Batting Average, On-Base Percentage, Slugging Percentage, ERA, Runs Created, and Runs Created/27 were left as-is from the Bill James Handbook and were not calculated using the projected raw statistics; unlike the Marcel and CHONE projections.

This will probably be the last set of projections we add, unless someone else volunteers to throw their hat in the ring.

Stats Pages Updated

The 2007 Marcel & CHONE projections are now available in the regular stat pages. They will remain there until the 2007 regular season starts and will then be hidden to make way for the real 2007 stats. You’ll still be able to use the “Show Projections” button to see the stats after they are hidden; they just won’t be visible by default.

We’ve also added Balls and Strikes for batters, and corrected a bug in the daily split graphs.

Hopefully you won’t find the projections intrusive to your usual stat browsing. Please let us know what you think, especially if you don’t like it.

CHONE & Marcel Projections

Both Tom Tango and Chone Smith were both kind enough to let me post their 2007 player projections.

The Marcel (the Monkey) Forecasts are “the minimum level of competence that you should expect from any forecaster.” You can read exactly how they’re computed here: Marcel Methodology.

Chone Smith, on the other hand, has put a great deal of time and effort into his CHONE Projections. You can read more about his projection system and efforts here: Chone Projections.

There are two things I should make note of: I have used the FanGraphs positions for filtering by position where we have the player in our database. There are a number of minor league players in CHONE that aren’t in our database (yet) and for their positions we use those supplied in CHONE’s original file. And for the Marcels, we took the average of projected earned runs and base runs-earned runs and used that to display ER. This was how ERA was calculated in the original file anyway.

While I’m at it, there have been a few excellent discussions of projection systems recently:

The Hardball Times’ David Gassko did five part, Projection Roundtable, II, III, IV, V.

And Tom Tango recently asked “Who’s Smarter Than a Monkey?” followed by an insightful discussion in the comments.

Fun With BaseRuns

With a brand new (to me) historical database of all players, my project for the day was to calculate BaseRuns for all batters. BaseRuns models run creation, much like Bill James’ Runs Created, but BaseRuns is a more accurate model. As for the calculations, I decided to stick to David Smyth’s BaseRuns Primer. I used the “simple” version for seasons prior to 1955 and the more “complex” version for anything 1955 to the present. Here’s the more complex version, where BaseRuns = A*B/(B+C)+D

A = H + BB + HBP – HR – .5*IBB
B = [1.4*TB -.6*H -3*HR +.1*(BB+HBP-IBB) +.9*(SB-CS-GDP)] * X
C = AB – H + CS + GDP
D = HR

The quick and dirty version of what I did was, determine the B multiplier or X for each major league team by season, use BaseRuns to calculate the number of runs a team would have had without a particular player, and then subtract that from the actual runs the team had, to get that player’s BaseRuns.

To determine the B multiplier, I dug up my 8th grade algebra skills to solve the following equation for X: Runs = A * (B * X)/((B * X) + C) + D

X = ((Runs – D) * C) / B / (A – (Runs – D))

Hopefully, even with my rusty algebra skills, this was (and still is) correct. Now that I had my B multipliers (X), I could go ahead and calculate what teams would have done without a particular player and then finally get a players BaseRuns. So just for kicks, let’s look at a few lists:

Top 20 All Time:

Name                  BSR      RC
Babe Ruth             2638     2757
Ty Cobb               2534     2524
Cap Anson             2514     1794
Barry Bonds           2451     2791
Hank Aaron            2400     2553
Stan Musial           2382     2569
Willie Mays           2238     2369
Ted Williams          2231     2384
Tris Speaker          2208     2176
Lou Gehrig            2199     2264
Rickey Henderson      2166     2167
Pete Rose             2116     2220
Mel Ott               2104     2085
Jimmie Foxx           2072     2146
Honus Wagner          2064     1888
Carl Yastrzemski      2050     2147
Frank Robinson        2012     2127
Eddie Collins         1997     1799
Roger Connor          1949     1498
Rafael Palmeiro       1922     2040

Top 20 Seasons: All Time

Name                 Season    BSR     RC
Babe Ruth            1921      212    233
Hugh Duffy           1894      204    187
Tip O'Neill          1887      202    173
Babe Ruth            1923      199    216
Jimmie Foxx          1932      191    206
Babe Ruth            1920      190    206
Billy Hamilton       1894      188    148
Joe Kelley           1894      186    152
Lou Gehrig           1927      186    211
Lou Gehrig           1930      185    197
Lou Gehrig           1936      184    190
Babe Ruth            1927      183    203
Babe Ruth            1924      183    199
Lou Gehrig           1931      183    183
Babe Ruth            1931      182    185
Babe Ruth            1930      181    187
Rogers Hornsby       1922      180    206
Rogers Hornsby       1929      178    188
Ted Williams         1949      177    180
Jimmie Foxx          1938      175    184

Interesting how only 9 players are in the top 20 seasons of all time. Of the modern day players, Barry Bonds’ 2001 season and Todd Helton’s 2000 season make the top 30. Ryan Howard’s 2006 MVP season amounts to the 157th best of all time and Justin Morneau’s 2006 is 967th best.

But since we’re looking at a player’s production in the context of his own team, it might be interesting to see who is responsible for the highest percentage of BaseRuns by a single player.

Top 25 All Time (> 500 BSR):

Name                 BSR       BSR%
Ralph Kiner          1100    16.68%
Albert Pujols         817    16.62%
Barry Bonds          2451    15.72%
Roger Connor         1949    15.48%
Jesse Burkett        1867    15.42%
Babe Ruth            2638    15.20%
Stan Musial          2382    15.12%
Hank Aaron           2400    15.02%
Ted Williams         2231    14.98%
Bob Johnson          1369    14.94%
Ty Cobb              2534    14.82%
Honus Wagner         2064    14.70%
Jeff Bagwell         1658    14.62%
Willie Mays          2238    14.61%
Mickey Mantle        1901    14.59%
Tris Speaker         2208    14.43%
Harry Stovey         1447    14.16%
Lou Gehrig           2199    14.06%
Paul Hines           1401    13.98%
Todd Helton          1192    13.92%
Billy Hamilton       1669    13.89%
Ichiro Suzuki         650    13.86%
Cap Anson            2514    13.79%
Ed Delahanty         1786    13.77%
Eddie Mathews        1656    13.73%

What I like about expressing BaseRuns as a percentage of a teams total runs is that you can see just how big a part of the offense that particular player is.

Top 10 in 2006:

Name                 BSR       BSR%
Albert Pujols        133     17.06%
Lance Berkman        125     17.01%
Jason Bay            117     16.90%
Ryan Howard          144     16.69%
Alfonso Soriano      124     16.63%
David Ortiz          134     16.29%
Miguel Cabrera       120     15.81%
Garrett Atkins       126     15.52%
Matt Holliday        124     15.20%
Grady Sizemore       132     15.18%

Jason Bay was an extremely large part of the not so wonderful Pirate offense in 2006. Other notables include Justin Morneau falling in at 12th with 14.65% of the offense.

Anyway, at some point in the future, I’d like to include BaseRuns in the FanGraphs player pages and leader-boards. Since this is my first shot at calculating BaseRuns, I want to make sure I’m calculating them in a way that makes sense. If you see any problems with my methodology, please let me know as I’d hate to have blatantly wrong data on the player pages.

For more information on BaseRuns, Tangotiger had an excellent series on BaseRuns and Linear Weights.

Current Happenings at FanGraphs

Happy (belated) New Year everyone. If you haven’t noticed, FanGraphs now has all historical players dating back to 1871 after heavily massaging the data found at More on that later.

With the 2007 season sneaking up on us, I thought I’d announce two things that FanGraphs has in store for next season that I’m very excited about.

1. FanGraphs will have nightly, accurate, minor league stats updates for all affiliated minor league teams. Sometime this month the 2006 minor league stats will be up on the site and we’ll continue to backdate minor league stats for as many players as possible in the hopes of having a complete as possible minor league database.

2. Real Time Win Probability will be available for all major league games. We’ll possibly have a beta/preview version up and running midway through spring training and try and squish all the bugs by the time the season starts.

On a side note, we’ve stopped collecting news data from blogs for the time being. I was not happy with how things were being categorized and found the whole thing not that useful. I’m hoping to have a new and improved system in place eventually.

In the meantime, enjoy the new historical stats & graphs and feel free to give us your feedback.