Baseball-Reference site overhauled

Just a quick post to let you know that one of the best sites for historical statistics just got better. Baseball-Reference.com (link in the list in the right margin) has added a number of features that bring it up to the high standards of other top stat sites like FanGraphs. I won't pretend that I can cover them all here, but I'll try to hit on a few of the most interesting things and let you explore the rest.

The first thing you may notice is that the layout has taken a step backwards. B-R has never had a flashy design, but it did have a solid format that was easy to use and worked fairly well visually. Now, the bare-bones structure remains, but the visual composition is lost as it looks like a bunch of tables thrown on a white background. I don't know if this is being worked on or not, or if the layout was published unfinished to get the new content out sooner. The only reason I am posting about the layout is because it could turn some people away. Don't let it. They didn't change it just for the hell of it. They added a ton of new functionality that necessitated some change in the layout. Now included are several advanced statistics and PBP breakdowns available on each player's home page and accessible through drop-down menus. These include several of the ratios found at Fangraphs plus plate discipline, baserunning, and situational data.

Also new are some better fielding numbers. Where Fangraphs has become the prime site for current players is largely in their UZR publication, as it is now the best place for defensive valuations. As long as UZR remains above all other defensive metrics in detail and quality, no other site can really compete without also licensing the stat, but where UZR lacks, B-R now picks up the slack. I'm talking about what is already B-R's biggest strength: historical data. They have now licensed Sean Smith's Total Zone (something some of us have been waiting a long time for), and now have the best pre-UZR (most of the last 50+ years) defensive valuations freely available on the web.

B-R has taken another cue from other stat sites and made their stats sortable, which was one of the shortcomings of the old site. This also now comes with yearly leaderboards for players as well as teams, which gives you plenty of new things to sort.

One of the coolest new additions, at least in my opinion, is that you can now convert any table to CSV data that can then be saved and imported into a spreadsheet. This was another huge shortcoming of the old site, as gathering data in a useful form was much more difficult than from other sites.

I'll let you explore the rest, but a huge thumbs up to Sean Forman for the new additions to his site. We appreciate the hard work.

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