This afternoon, Jay Jaffe sent a tweet to DarenW, host of the always useful site Baseball Savant.
@darenw is there a quick way on your site to show an individual hiter's O-Swing% by month?
— Jay Jaffe (@jay_jaffe) June 20, 2014
The answer was no, because while Daren has coded up some really neat stuff over there, he doesn’t have that specifically. But it occurred to me that Jay probably asked Daren because he looked for it on FanGraphs and couldn’t find it here, and he’s probably not the only person who has wanted to see monthly plate discipline splits and couldn’t find them here. But we actually do have them.
Here’s how you get them, as well as other splits not listed on a player’s individual splits page.
Go to our leaderboards. Scroll down to the bottom, where you see the custom player box. It looks like this.
Where it says “Add players”, just put whatever player (or players) you want to look at it, and then hit the create custom player list button. Then, scroll back up, pick whatever split you want from the drop-down box and the corresponding leaderboard tab. Here’s the Billy Hamilton PITCHF/x plate discipline page for June that I sent to Jay, but you can do all kinds of fun things with it. Want to see Jake Arrieta‘s pitch mix over the last 30 days? You can. While not every stat we have works with every split-type, the leaderboards offer a host of fun ways to view additional split stats beyond what we just have on our player page. This is especially useful for comparing multiple players when you want to drill down on a specific trait.
But it’s also not the only way you can get this information, and if you’re looking for just one player, there’s an even easier way: use the game logs. For instance, Jay wanted to look and see if Hamilton was being more selective at the plate since early in the season. While our leaderboard splits have monthly splits, as well as past 7/14/30 day splits, the game logs have a custom date range that can let you create all the arbitrary endpoint metrics you would like.
For instance, to see how Hamilton’s plate discipline stats have changed since mid-April, you could just go to his game log page, then filter for games since April 15th. From there, pretty much every tab available on the leaderboards is also available, and you can see the summed results of each stat on those pages. By clicking on the PITCHF/x plate discipline tab, we can see that Hamilton has a 29.7% O-Swing% since mid-April, seven percentage points higher than the 22.4% mark he put up over the first two weeks of the season.
Hamilton’s improvement has actually come during the time that he has chased more pitches out of the zone, not fewer. This is almost certainly not causation, of course, but it does help us see that this isn’t a case where Hamilton has tightened up his strike zone since getting overmatched early. He’s just hitting better when he does swing.
But this isn’t a post about Billy Hamilton. This is a post about how to use some really great features on FanGraphs that maybe you weren’t aware of. And it isn’t just limited to plate discipline stats. Really, almost anything you want to look up that you can’t find on the player pages can be found by using the leaderboard splits/custom player combination, or just using the game log tool. We have not done a good enough job of highlighting these options, but they are available, and they’re kind of awesome.