At The Hardball Times, we’re always looking for ways we can improve our site experience. One way we have tried to do that is by adding tools to the site. When we first revamped the site, one of those tools was Bill Petti’s spray chart tool, but we couldn’t get it to fit. Recently, we wanted to add Matt Hunter’s simulator to the site, but the logistics of that also proved challenging. But rather than scrap the notion of featuring them here altogether, we did the next best thing—we made a page on the site where they could be housed. We call it Our Favorite Things, and you can find it either here or by rolling over Tools on the nav bar at the top of every page.
Admittedly, it’s a bit of a misnomer, because we won’t have all of our favorite things. After all, you don’t need our help navigating to FanGraphs, Baseball-Reference, Brooks Baseball or Baseball Savant. Our intention is more to house and highlight those harder-to-find, perhaps less-well-known tools and/or data.
At launch, we have four pages: Matt Hunter’s Baseball Sim, Jeff & Darrell Zimmerman’s Baseball Heat Maps, Bill Petti’s Spray Chart Tool and Phil Roth’s Past and Future Payrolls. As we move forward, the page surely will grow, and if you have suggestions for similarly awesome tools or data that live in the shadows, please let us know in the comments.
As a way of introducing the page, Matt suggested writing up a piece on the lessons he has learned in creating his simulator. This obviously was a good idea, as we are always interested in hearing the takeaways from such processes. Generally, there is a lot of work put into tools such as this, and much of that work is not readily apparent to those viewing only the finished product. But, we also thought, why stop there?
And from there, 10 Lessons Week! was born. We even have a fancy logo for it!
Each day this week, our pieces will focus on 10 lessons that the author has learned about a particular topic. In addition to Matt’s article, Dave Studeman will break down win expectancy, Mitchel Lichtman will detail lessons on defense and defensive statistics, Dan Szymborski will preach on building a projection system, and Dave Cameron will expound on baseball’s economy.
In other words, it’s going to be a good week. We hope you’ll be as excited to read each piece as we are to share them with you.