Table of Contents
Here’s the table of contents for this edition of the Leaderboards of Pleasure.
A Brief Introduction to This Very Important Thing
Regarding What Is the Leaderboards of Pleasure
The Leaderboards of Pleasure (past editions of which you can find by clicking here) is a mostly weekly feature of FanGraphs during the season and is composed mostly of the different NERD leaderboards.
Regarding What Is NERD
NERD is the result of an attempt to represent numerically the likely aesthetic appeal of a pitcher, team, game, etc. to the baseball nerd (i.e. you, reading this). It was developed as a response to a challenge issued to the author by Rob Neyer in May of 2010.
Specifically, NERD is a score (on a 0-10 scale) given to pitchers, teams, games, etc. that’s calculated using metrics available here at the site. When pitcher and team scores are combined in game scores (like those that appeared in today’s edition of Daily Notes), it’s possible to approximate, with at least some accuracy, which games might be of greatest (or least) interest to the baseball nerd.
Regarding the History of NERD, Part I
The history of NERD is like an ouroboros, except that way fewer people have tattoos of it.
Regarding What You’ll Find Below
Wondrous spectacles and mysterious mysteries, predominantly.
Team NERD: Current Formula and Leaderboard
Regarding What Team NERD Is
Like other NERD scores, this one is the product of an attempt to assess “watchability” — in this case, of each team.
Regarding the Variables of Team NERD
After much searching — both of souls and for my pants — these are the various and totally infallible inputs for Team NERD:
• Batting Runs Above Average (BAT)
• Park-Adjusted Home Run per Fly Ball Rate (HR/FB)*
• Speed Score (SPD)
• Bullpen xFIP, Where Lower Is Better (BULL)
• Team UZR (UZR)
• Payroll, Where Below Average Is Better (PAY)**
• Batter Age, Where Younger Is Better (AGE)
• Expected Wins, Per WAR, Minus Actual Wins (LUCK)
Regarding How Team NERD Is Calculated, Part I
Team NERD — like Pitcher NERD below — relies heavily on z-scores, or the number of standard deviations of a single data point above or below the mean of a larger sample. So, for example, the current league-average HR/FB is 10.4% and the standard deviation of HR/FB is 3.0%. The Rangers, not surprisingly, have the league’s best park-adjusted HR/FB, at 16.2% — which is 1.98 standard deviations above the mean. Hence, the Rangers receive a z-score of 1.98.
All of the variables above, with the exception of LUCK (which is represented merely as the difference of expected wins, per WAR, and actual wins), are rendered as z-scores.
Regarding How Team NERD Is Calculated, Part II
Here’s the actual formula for Team NERD:
zBAT + zHR/FB + zSPD + (zBULL / 2) + (zUZR / 2) + zPAY* + zAGE* + (LUCK / 2)** + Constant
* Only included if above zero.
** Only included if above zero. Any score above 2.0 is rendered as 2.0.
Team NERD Leaderboard
Here’s the current (and sortable) Team NERD leaderboard:
Pitcher NERD: Current Formula and Leaderboard
Regarding What Pitcher NERD Is
Pitcher NERD is the product of an attempt to represent numerically the “watchability” of a pitcher.
Regarding the Variables of Pitcher NERD
After considerable plumbing — of depths both spiritual and material — these are the various and totally infallible inputs for Pitcher NERD:
• Pitcher xFIP, Where Lower Is Better (xFIP)
• Swinging-Strike Rate (SwStrk)
• Overall Strike Percentage (Strk)
• Fastball Velocity (Velo)
• Pitcher Age, Where Younger Is Better (Age)
• ERA Minus xFIP (Luck)
• Knuckleball Factor — or, Knuckleball Percentage Times Five (KN)
Regarding How Pitcher NERD Is Calculated, Part I
As with Team NERD (above), Pitcher NERD is calculated using mostly z-scores.
Also as with Team NERD, the Luck variable is not a z-score, but (in this case) the difference between a pitcher’s xFIP and ERA.
Regarding How Pitcher NERD Is Calculated, Part II
Here’s the actual formula for Pitcher NERD:
(zxFIP * 2) + (zSwStrk / 2) + (zStrk / 2) + zVelo* + zAge* + (Luck / 2) + KN + Constant
* Only included if above zero.
** Only included if above zero. Any score above 1.0 is rendered as 1.0.
Pitcher NERD Leaderboard
Here’s the current (and sortable) Pitcher NERD leaderboard (of 119 starters with 20-plus innings):
Pitcher NERD Laggardboard
Here’s the current (and sortable) Pitcher NERD laggardboard (of 119 starters with 20-plus innings):
Carson Cistulli has published a book of aphorisms called Spirited Ejaculations of a New Enthusiast.