Monday, October 20, 2008
The holy grail of minor league statsPosted by Steve Treder
If you're anything like me (and if so, my condolences), something you've wistfully longed for is a comprehensive online database of minor league statistics—a minor league counterpart, if you will, to Sean Forman's stupendous baseball-reference.com.
Well, I have some bad news, and some good news.
The bad news is, we don't have it yet. But the good news is, it's on its way.
The Society for American Baseball Research (SABR) Minor League Database is coming to your web browser soon. SABR hastens to explain that this is a project, not an encyclopedia; one must bear in mind the vast quantity of minor league stats (which utterly dwarf the majors in scope), and realize that not only has most of it not yet been digitized, indeed most of it has not yet been validated, indeed much of it has not yet been completely recorded (and some of it will no doubt never be completely recorded).
But nonetheless the project is steadfastly underway, and as of now it is available to the general public in its admittedly incomplete "beta" form:
The project goal is to eventually have more than 4,000 minor league seasons available in the database. That goal will be achieved only through the conscientious effort of many volunteers: SABR estimates about 40 man-years of labor will be required. But come on: won't it be cool?
At some point in 2009, the beta site will disappear, and the database will become available only to SABR members as part of the SABR Baseball Encyclopedia. Also, at some point the database may be licensed to baseball-reference.com, and be accessible to the general public via that site, but that part hasn't been resolved.
Correction: SABR has informed us that there are no concrete plans at this time for minors.sabrwebs.com to go away, or to become SABR members only. That is a possibility down the road, but it will depend on how things evolve.
Steve Treder can often be found spending way too much time talking baseball at Baseball Primer. He welcomes your questions and comments via e-mail.