Baseball Payrolls

The World Series starts tomorrow night and for all but two teams, that means focusing on the upcoming 2014 roster. And rosters are often defined by payroll flexibility. A co-worker of mine forwarded along today’s interactive graphic that looks at team payrolls through stacked bar charts.

The Red Sox payroll
The Red Sox payroll

The design is certainly a bit clunky with heavy black outlines and garish colours. But the story told is clear, especially if you begin to look at different teams. Which teams have players locked up for the long-term and thereby have little flexibility?

The Red Sox, of course, sent most of that bar from 2011 to the Los Angeles Dodgers near the end of 2012. That allowed them to pick up the free agents like Mike Napoli, Johnny Gomes, Shane Victorino, and Koji Uehara. You know, the guys without whom the Red Sox would not have advanced to the World Series.

Credit for the piece goes to Phil Roth.

Boston’s 2013 Season

If you’re not a Boston Red Sox fan, what’s wrong with you? Well, okay, so long as you’re not a Yankees fan, you’re not that bad. Anyway, the Boston Globe looked at the 2013 Red Sox season. Game by game, inning by inning. And because Boston is now advancing to the American League Championship Series, and since they will probably face Detroit, here’s a screenshot of the great game that was Scherzer vs. Lester.

Red Sox 2013 season review
Red Sox 2013 season review

Credit for the piece goes to Chiqui Esteban.

#GetBeard

Normally this would be a Friday post. But, for those of you fellow Red Sox fans who happen to live near enough to Fenway to go catch a game, Wednesday night is Dollar Beard Night. This graphic by the Red Sox details the different types of beards worn by Red Sox players this year. It’s like the bunch of idiots of 2004.

The Red Sox beards
The Red Sox beards

Wednesday night if you show up to Fenway with a beard, you can get a $1 ticket for Dollar Beard Night. Hence why posting this Friday would do you fellow Red Sox fans no good.

Credit for the piece goes to the Red Sox.

Overpaying for Underachievers

Major League Baseball is set to suspend Alex Rodriguez this morning—if the news reports are true. That will all but end the season for Rodriguez, though he could well play through his appeal so you never really know. But what does this mean for the Yankees and their offense?

The New York Times put together an interactive scatter plot charting the annual salary against the number of hits (roughly a measure of offensive production throughout the year) with benchmark lines for the league average of both. First, the user can see the team averages.

Comparing baseball teams salaries vs. offensive production
Comparing baseball teams salaries vs. offensive production

At the team-level, one can see that, roughly speaking, the more money a team pays to hitters, the more productive the team. Production it should be noted, does not necessarily equal wins. Look at the Angels, who have some of the most hits, but are in fourth place (out of five) and in a difficult place to make the playoffs.

Quick comparison of the Red Sox's hitters to the Yankees' hitters
Quick comparison of the Red Sox's hitters to the Yankees' hitters

But then the user can switch to the top-10 paid hitters on each team. (Four presets are offered beneath the piece, but click on a player from any team and his compatriots will appear.) You can see how the Yankees are hitting poorly in comparison to the Red Sox. (The only reason the Yankees are not truly awful is because their pitching has not been horrible.)

So if Rodriguez is suspended for this year and next, maybe they can use his salary for next year to buy a one-year free agent that isn’t at the bottom right of the this chart.

Credit for the piece goes to Mike Bostock and Joe Ward.

What to Eat at a Ball Game

Today’s Friday. So maybe at this point, after a week of baseball-related posts, you are ready to go see a game yourself. If you go, here is a flow chart from SB Nation to help you choose your foods and drinks for the game.

Flow chart for concession stand purchases
Flow chart for concession stand purchases

Credit for the piece goes to Eric Wayne.

Renovating Wrigley Field

In Chicago there is much ado about renovating Wrigley Field. As a Red Sox fan, I can only say that the Fenway renovations are being well-received. A little while back, the Chicago Tribune illustrated just what these proposed changes will be. The first image was from the above the fold section, and the second was a smaller set of illustrations that were below the fold.

Above the fold illustrations
Above the fold illustrations
Below the fold illustrations
Below the fold illustrations

Really, it’s just always a treat to be able to post printed graphics.

Credit for the pieces go to the Cubs and Chad Yoder of the Tribune.

Bryce Harper

Bryce Harper is undoubtedly one of the best baseball players in the game today. To put it simply, he hits. And he hits well. And he hits well often. So the Washington Post put together an interactive, long form piece about Harper’s swing and hitting.

Pitching to Bryce Harper
Pitching to Bryce Harper

The piece begins with a narrated video outlining the science behind Harper’s swing. Then the reader can down into the piece and learn more about Harper’s history and development and how he compares to other hitters. Statistics and data visualisation pieces show just how impressive Harper is as a hitter and how pitchers are trying to combat that.

Interactive long form articles are appearing more and more often online. But this is perhaps the most data- and science-intensive piece I have seen thus far. What is particularly nice about the format is that, as I have often noted, annotations and explanations are what make good infographics and what move data visualisation from presentational to informational. That this piece in particular happens to be about baseball, well, all the better.

Credit for the piece goes to Adam Kilgore, Sohail Al-Jamea, Wilson Andrews, Bonnie Berkowitz, Todd Lindeman, Jonathan Newton, Lindsay Applebaum, Karl Hente, Matthew Rennie, John Romero, and Mitch Rubin.

Disabled List Payrolls

The Boston Red Sox are in Chicago this week to play the other Sox, i.e. the White Sox. So this week we have a bunch of baseball-related pieces. The first is this recent interactive graphic from the New York Times. It is a daily-updated graphic that looks at the payroll of all Major League teams that is tied up on players on the Disabled List, i.e. those unable to play because of injuries.

Comparing all MLB teams
Comparing all MLB teams

Clearly the Yankees are paying a lot of money for no production. You can go down the list and compare each team’s total spending. But if you want intra-team details, the piece offers you the ability to look at player-by-player salary details. Interestingly one of Chicago’s baseball teams ranks just above the Red Sox while Milwaukee sits just below.

Red Sox players on the Disabled List
Red Sox players on the Disabled List

Credit for the piece goes to Shan Carter, Kevin Quealy and Joe Ward.

Replacing Nomar Garciaparra

I am a fan of the Boston Red Sox and have been since 1999. The first (and sadly only) Red Sox game I saw at Fenway was the day after Nomar Garciaparra hit three home runs in one game. Two of them were grand slams. For you non-baseball folks (NBF) reading this, that is majorly impressive. Anyway, the Red Sox traded him in 2004 to acquire some pieces they needed to make a run for the World Series title that had eluded them for 80+ years (also significant for NBF). The result? My favourite player traded to the Cubs, but my favourite team won the World Series.

But now it’s Opening Day, the kickoff for the baseball season—that reference is for you American football fans. (To be fair, there was a game last night between two Texas teams, but today’s the de facto start.) Since that 2004 trade, however, the Red Sox have not had a consistent, long-term shortstop of the same offensive calibre of Nomar. How bad has this revolving door been? My infographic today looks at the shortstop replacements for Nomar Garciaparra.

Click to go to the full graphic
Click to go to the full graphic

The Red Sox Were Truly Awful in 2012

The Boston Red Sox hired John Farrell this weekend to be their manager just one season after hiring Bobby Valentine for the role. There is a lot to be said about just who is to blame about the Red Sox’ awful season. But it was pretty awful. How awful? The Boston Globe shows us in this interactive piece.

It’s a series of small multiples of line charts. However, one of the big problems with the infographic is that the labels are entirely absent. As best I can tell the line is the number of games over .500, i.e. an even split between wins and losses. But, it could be more clearly called out if not in the legend or on the axes than in the title.

But over all it does put this past season into a sober perspective.

How Bad is Bad? Awful, it Turns Out.
How Bad is Bad? Awful, it Turns Out.

Credit for the piece goes to Daigo Fujiwara.