Pitchers and catchers are reporting for Spring Training this week and, before you know it, there will be real, live baseball happening in Arizona and Florida. As the season approaches, I’d like to take a little time to welcome any statistical newcomers to the FanGraphs Library.
If you’ve made it this far, you’ve almost certainly read articles on the main site, visited some of our player pages or leaderboards, or played our fantasy baseball game, Ottoneu. But what you might not know is that we have an entire section of the site devoted to helping you get the most out of the information housed at FanGraphs.
The most well-known components of the Library are detailed descriptions of the statistics available at the site. These pages are written presuming no previous knowledge of sabermetrics, statistical theory, or mathematics. If you understand the rules of the game, you’ll have no trouble following along. For example, if you come across “wOBA” in an article or on one of the stat pages and have no idea that it stands for, our Library entry is here to help. Not only can you find a basic description of that stat, but there is also a detailed breakdown of how to calculate it, how to use it, why it is important, and all sorts of other information that will help you get more out of the site.
You may also notice that many of the most popular stat pages include FanGraphs Flash Cards which are perfect for sharing on social media or embedding on your personal blog. If you want to point out that your favorite player is having a good season despite his low batting average by referencing his wOBA, adding this wOBA Flash Card to your tweet will help you avoid those annoying “what is wOBA?” replies.
Just hover over Offense, Defense, Pitching, Win Probability, WAR, etc at the top of any Library page and start navigating. If you can’t find the statistic you’re interested in, the Offense and Pitching tabs have options to view a complete list of statistics that is too long to fit in the on-screen menu. We also have sections devoted to Principles and Business for those of you who are curious about things such as regression or Super-Two status. There is a ton of information in the Library and we aim to keep it current, but not everything has gotten as much polish as it deserves and there are pages that are on deck for a makeover in the next few months.
But there’s more to the Library than these stand-along pages. Yes, you can learn about wOBA and wRC+ at the Library, but the goal is to provide a complete handbook for the entire FanGraphs experience. This manifests itself in three additional ways. First, you’re currently reading an entry in the FanGraphs Library Blog. The Library Blog is place to find weekly articles designed to help you understand sabermetrics and the site itself. I often use this space to explain how to use FanGraphs features or to walk through examples of how certain stats work.
Second, our Getting Started page is a great first step into your sabermetric journey. This probably isn’t something you’re going to come back and read again and again, but if you’re new to advanced stats in baseball and want to learn the lingo and the philosophy, I recommend starting there. That page walks through why we care about sabermetrics, the basic concepts, and what you can find at FanGraphs.
Third, we’ve recently added and are working to expand a section of the Library called Features that will house information about FanGraphs itself. For example, if you want to know how our Depth Charts work or learn about our Live Scoreboard, the Features page is the place to find that information. Maybe you just want to know which authors chat which days? We’ve got you covered.
Finally, the Library is designed to make life easier for you, the curious baseball fan. You love the game, want to learn more about it, and have decided to come to FanGraphs to do so. To that end, please let me know (@NeilWeinberg44) if you have questions or suggestions about the site, our data, or sabermetrics in general. I don’t have the power to reanimate NotGraphs, but if you’re curious about how we calculate something or where to find a piece of information, feel free to reach out.
We recognize that some of our writing and statistics can be intimidating for uninitiated fans, but we want to do our best to make our information as accessible as possible. As you get ready for the 2016, take some time to explore what we have to offer in the FanGraphs Library so that you may have a richer understanding of the game we all love.
Neil Weinberg is the Site Educator at FanGraphs and can be found writing enthusiastically about the Detroit Tigers at New English D. Follow and interact with him on Twitter @NeilWeinberg44.