Drew gets a bad rap every year, but for 3 months of the season (June, August, and September) he’s among the top handful of outfielders in the American League.
I’m trying a new format to show a player’s season at a glance, using their ranking relative to their peers to reflect their performance visually. Squint and it looks somewhat like a bar chart. Look closer and you can see how they compared to specific players. Note also that I have the players grouped in tiers, each tier consisting of 14 players. Since there are 14 teams in the American League, a perfectly average team would theoretically have 1 player in the middle of each tier.
So what can we learn about John Lester’s season from this visual? First, he had a slow April and May. I recall everyone asking “what’s wrong with John Lester” in April, and while his performance was below his standards, he pitched like a poor #3 starter (look for him near the bottom of the 3rd tier) which isn’t THAT bad. In June, July and August he pitched like a true ace. He finished up September strong, at the bottom of the first tier of teams’ aces (or like a great #2 starter).
I think Josh Beckett is overrrated (at least during the regular season). He’s viewed as a prototypical #1, but he pitched like a true ace for only 2 months (May and June). He pitched like a #2 in July and September, a #3 in August, and a #4 in April. Average that out over the season and he was a poor #2 starter or a very good #3 starter.
I’ve always been fascinated with the visual communication of information. And what better a medium for this than the sport of baseball? After years of experimenting with ways to reveal truths within the game, I’m going to start sharing these with a broader audience. Whether you’re a baseball fan or just into infographics, I hope you enjoy! Kevin Dame