Visual Baseball: Introducing the Rank-o-meter

Here’s something called the Rank-o-meter. I’ll start you out with one for Zack Greinke’s 2009 season, which shows his ERA ranking relative to other AL pitchers. At a glance, the Rank-o-meter looks like a graphic equalizer and gives a visual indicator of performance (from hot to cold) over the course of the season. I’ve also included a Rank-o-meter for CC Sabathia for comparison.

Love it? Hate it? If enough people like it we may use the Rank-o-meter during the season to track select players, so please leave a comment if you feel strongly one way or another.

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Comments

  1. JoeT said...

    This is awesome. I agree, the data might become more useful in June.

    Suggestions:  Change the background color to pale yellow, then change the white text to a different color.  For the highlighted pitcher, you could draw attention with an asterisk or 1px solid border.

  2. JoeT said...

    It might be interesting to track one or two hitters that tend to get pegged as guys who are historically stronger in the first or second halfs of the season. Like, an AVG & OBO Rank-O-Meter for Mark Teixeira?

  3. Eric Chalek said...

    This might be an interesting approach for historical or cohort comparisons too. For example:
    -comparing seasonal or cumulative career OPS+ by age.
    -ditto for ERA+.
    -ditto for WAR.

  4. Geoff Young said...

    Good stuff, Kevin. What a novel approach. Count me in the “love it” camp. My only suggestion falls along the lines of what JoeT said. From a usability standpoint, I’m not a fan of black backgrounds.

  5. TerryE said...

    The data is so intermixed, I’m not sure what it’s really telling us. After all, each pitcher faced different teams throughout the season, so comparisons are iffy just due to that. If Greinke faced New York, Boston, and the Angels in June, that alone might account for a higher ERA. But we don’t know that, and we don’t know what the other pitchers were doing. And interleague play? Aaugh.

  6. R.Dwyer said...

    I find this graphic entirely unnecessary.

    The only useful information that might be conveyed form such a chart would be the ERA ranking by month. Otherwise, I’d rather go to any other site to just see the monthly ERA.

    This seems to merely be a shoddy attempt to compete with BtBS’ new graphics.

  7. philosofool said...

    I’m a little mixed on this. It’s a pretty picture, which is cool. However, month-to-month stats give the impression of much more significance than they have statistically, especially for a stat like ERA. Trend analysis is pretty annoying to me, and this is the sort of thing that encourages people to say dumb stuff like “second half player” or “loses steam after the all-star break.” People *should* read things like this as a simple description of what happened, but they will actually read it as what you can expect in the future. And the prettier you make the picture, the more people want to give it significance beyond what it really represents.

  8. Mitch Brannon said...

    I’m a big fan of these attempts since I’m a very visual person, but I have to agree with R Dwyer here. The only real info is contained in the monthly ERA list. What both basically tell us is that Grienke was really freakin good except for June, and Sabathia was (surprisingly) sort of mediocre until a real strong finish.

    Also, including all the other player names doesn’t help much, since they’re so jumbled it’s a chore to try to make any comparison with any other pitcher.

    Good attempt but file it under ho-hum for me.

  9. Dave Studeman said...

    This seems to merely be a shoddy attempt to compete with BtBS’ new graphics.

    Love the guys at BTB but no, we don’t have BTB envy.  THT was one of the first sites to truly set a standard in baseball graphics and Kevin is carrying on our tradition.

    Appreciate the feedback, though.  Just not the snark.

  10. Dave Studeman said...

    That is pretty cool, Kevin.  When you compare the simple table to the rankings, you see some differences.  Take a look at Sabathia’s ranking in August vs. September, for instance, as compared to his pure ERA.  Big diff in ERA, not so much in ranking.

    It strikes me that this would not be very interesting early in the season, but much more useful in the second half.

    One thing: it’s easy to read the players listed below the highlighted pitcher, but not above. Could the ones above be a bit lighter so we can at least make out their names?

  11. Nick Steiner said...

    R. Dwyer – You realize that a lot of guys who write for BtB have written or write for THT as well, right Both blogs are completely non-profit and build off each other’s ideas and those around the rest of the web as well.

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