FanGraphs Spotlight: Reduce Data Headaches with the Magic of Custom Reports and Leaderboards

As David Appelman mentioned in yesterday’s State of the Union, over the next month we’re going to be highlighting some of FanGraphs’ features, sometimes off the beaten path, that can help you have a more productive, entertaining visit to our fair website. Today, I want to highlight some of our custom data options.

There are lots of ways to use FanGraphs, but as an individual of rather numerate inclination, I tend to get a lot of data from the site. I did that back when I was blogging at Baseball Think Factory and writing for ESPN, and I certainly haven’t curtailed that impulse as an employee of FanGraphs. Quite often, it’s simply easier for me to get things directly from the site than to go through my massive hoard of invariably unhelpfully named spreadsheets and databases. And one thing that I use a lot is the custom reports feature. We have so much data all over the site that it’s no simple matter to just get one massive export to rule them all, and in the Dark Mode, bind them.

As an example, let’s create a quick leaderboard of data from multiple stat categories on the site. Let’s say you’ve just gone to White Castle and still have sliders on your mind. Without custom reports, you can’t get Statcast slider data and PitchBot slider information on the same leaderboard without some work on your end. But with a custom report, you can simply drag the categories you want into a list:

Once that’s done, you have the leaderboard you’re looking for:

I use this feature quite a lot. For example, all of the data needed to calculate the various zStats I use in ZiPS can be found at FanGraphs, and it saves me a lot of time. You’re able to save custom reports to your account. Members have the ability to then hit the handy-dandy Export button and get a spreadsheet, but even non-Members can use the custom reports and make leaderboards with up to 10 categories.

But customization goes beyond the leaderboards. You can also create a custom section on player pages. If you don’t like the stats we have in the default dashboard you see upon going to, say, Ronald Acuña Jr.’s player page, well, you can create your own:

And if you want, you can even get a little weird with it:

This particular blend of stats isn’t necessarily to my taste, but it’s always an option! One thing you might notice — and even I didn’t know this until a related question came up just yesterday — is that some of the minor league data we have on the site that doesn’t currently appear on player pages, like swinging strike percentage for minor leaguers, can be added with this customization.

If you’re a Member and use the export feature regularly, we’ve added some fields that hopefully make the data easier for you to work with. We now list MLBAM IDs along with FanGraphs ID, useful for cross-referencing as there’s still no universal ID that every site uses in all situations. We’ve also added ASCII names with no diacritical marks in addition to players’ official names, so your personal fantasy cheatsheet doesn’t run into mayhem when you have Jose Berrios and we have José Berríos.

Another feature we have is the ability to create a custom player list:

While this is obviously most useful for readers with fantasy teams, it can be used for any list of players you wish to track. For example, here’s a custom player list that’s very important to me personally:

These custom data options are some of the features I use the most at FanGraphs, but they aren’t the only ones we’re going to highlight over the next month. If you enjoy our analysis and find these features useful, we hope you’ll consider a FanGraphs Membership. It’s the best way to support and experience the site. Now, back to writing an angry letter to my congressman demanding to know why baseball has such a dearth of Dans across its history, something that could only have been accomplished with illegal chicanery.

Dan Szymborski is a senior writer for FanGraphs and the developer of the ZiPS projection system. He was a writer for from 2010-2018, a regular guest on a number of radio shows and podcasts, and a voting BBWAA member. He also maintains a terrible Twitter account at @DSzymborski.

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1 month ago

Great info. How do I get to the page? Thanks

Meg Rowleymember
1 month ago
Reply to  paulehlers