I’ve always been intrigued with the concept of the “5 tool player” and have been experimenting with ways to visualize what such a player looks like. The 5 Tool Analyzer maps a player’s skill (relative to his peers) across 5 offensive and defensive measures. The resulting map reveals a few things at a glance. First, the overall size of the map indicates how good the player is. Big glob of color = good. Small glob = bad. Second, it shows where they are strong and where they are weak. And finally, it also shows how balanced a player is. Circular glob = well-rounded (literally and figuratively). Weird-shaped glob = some strengths and some weaknesses. Let’s start with a quick visual introduction:
Now that we’re clear on what we’re measuring, let’s take the 5 Tool Analyzer for a spin. To start with, I was curious to see if I could find a player who was “perfectly average” in 2009 and I think I found him in Dave Murphy (he’s roughly at the 50th percentile across all 5 dimensions).
By now you’re probably wondering if there is a “perfect player” in baseball (a player who is the best across all 5 dimensions). Using the 5 Tool Analyzer, the perfect player would be represented by a perfect circle filling out to the 100th percentile. What I discovered was that most all-star players have at least one weak (or average) area. But there were a few players who came close to perfection, and you’ll be surprised to see the one who came closest:
Chone Figgins was an intriguing example of a player who truly excels in all but one category (in his case power):
Adam Dunn’s visual map paints a classic portrait of an “all bat” player. He has DH written all over him:
Jack Wilson represents the inverse of Dunn – an “all glove” player.
So that’s a quick tour of the 5 Tool Analyzer. if you like it and want to see more players visualized, name your player!