Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Stats Attack: Kansas City Royals

Yesterday I gave some advice to some new bloggers. "Take risks," I said. "Try stuff, " I said. "The beauty of a blog is that you have nothing to lose," I said.

Then I blow a pretty good night on trying something new, get about halfway done and I'm not particularly happy with that half. Great. If you think I'm not publishing the damn thing, you've got another thing coming.

Recently I saw a copy of another independent program and scorecard from Seattle called Grand Salami. In the middle of it, they have two pages about the teams the Mariners will play that month, one of which is text and the other one is a stats page with a lot of notes written in. I wondered if that stats page might be something I could come up with regularly when the Twins play opposing team in a big series. How hard could it be?

Answer: if you want to do it the way I want to do it, it's a pain. I don't want the basic stats. I want to see OPS, and I want it against lefties and righties. I want ages. I want defensive metrics like UZR/150 and I really want WPA. Ideally I'd also like to see how players did against specific players from the Twins.

There isn't a site that has all those stats in a fairly easy way to grab them. I could probably design a db to grab a bunch of extracts and get close, but that sure ain't happening tonight. So I grabbed a few of them, typed them in and then started on the notes.

Turns out, the notes aren't too easy either. First, without a pdf converter on my PC, there wasn't a great program to go about doing the graphics. Then, I found out that I lacked space to explain some of the stats the way I probably should, like WPA. And since I ended up doing it in MS-Paint, fixing errors was damn near impossible.

Anyway, here is the first stab at it. I was hoping I could put an actual file into my blog someplace, like in a rich text field, but it looks like I'm limited to a .jpg. too. So it'll probably be too small. Mostly this whole entry is a test to see if I click on it if it will get big enough to read.

We'll see. Good night. Feedback is welcome.


Parker said...

That's fun. Thanks for doing that.

Beth said...

This was so beautiful, fun, and awesome, I ran out of adjectives. Seriously, thanks.

Shmig said...

Instead of circles and lines you could fill a box of interest with a color and then have all the notes underneath the table with little color boxes where the little superscript number would be in a normal footnote. It would make the notes easier to read and would make layouts easier. This would be awesome if you could do this for every series.

Jake said...

have to agree with Shmig, the concept is a great idea, but the execution needs some work, foot notes are an idea but I'm not sure they're what your looking for. if this was going to be online I would say that a rollover popup or highlighted link of some kind would be great. but if this is for a paper program that isn't going to work. Wish I had something more constructive to add, what ever you end up with is certainly going to be more clever that what I could do. Good luck!

tborg said...

Your article set me up to be disappointed in this. Perhaps that's why I love it so much. This is awesome. The opportunity to show snide comments while pointing directly to the stats is a thing of beauty.

Jack Ungerleider said...

John, as your former "technical adviser" 8^) I suggest you look into Foxit Software They have a PDF editor for $99.

I've not used that product, but we've used the free Foxit Reader to allow people to fill out PDF forms and save the results.

Zathras said...


Why not try doing this in Google Docs? You can create comments on certain cells in a spreadsheet to make the comments you intend on the margins here.

I, for one, would be willing to take the time to use my own PDF software to then change the document into a pdf for you. I'm not sure that it would work, but I'm willing to give it a try. Let me know.

adslazaro is my gmail account.


NoDak Twins Fan said...

Good idea. I think it could be cleaned up a little bit. The lines crossing this way and that way make it hard to read.

Bryz said...

I don't mind if the lines are in the way, unless they become excessive. I felt this was very easy and interesting to read.

I think you could have pointed out that if it wasn't for Mike Aviles' poor season and injury, the Royals would have never traded for Betancourt last year. There was plenty of room at the bottom of the spreadsheet to say that.

John said...

Wow. Thanks everyone. If I can figure out a way to not have it be a PITA, I'll try it again soon.

Philip said...

Just off the top of my head, I think cutting out some less essential stats like 3B, TB, and CS would give you more space and improve readability. Cool idea!