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How Do The Contenders Stack Up? Starting Rotation Edition

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How do the various teams stack up against each other in the starting rotation?

Our ace?
Our ace?
Ed Zurga

Potentially playoff baseball necessitates potentially playoff writings and topics. This is a playoff topic. A question in which I've been interested for the past week or two is regarding how the potential playoff teams stack up against each other. In this particular post, and I don't know if there will be more, concerns the starting rotations.

Now, It is fairly easy to go to FanGraphs and flop around, click buttons, and get to each team's starting rotation. More, and different, buttons can be clicked to reach a projected depth chart for the rest of the season for each team's starters. However, I'm more interested in some interactivity. I'm more interested in the potential playoff rotations, which are usually 3 guys, unless you're rich in starting pitchers. To the end of comparing the teams against each other, and with a forced, probably poor attempt at interactivity, I present to you an interactive visualization.

<script type='text/javascript' src='https://public.tableausoftware.com/javascripts/api/viz_v1.js'></script><div class='tableauPlaceholder' style='width: 654px; height: 675px;'><noscript><a href='#'><img alt='Dashboard 1 ' src='https:&#47;&#47;public.tableausoftware.com&#47;static&#47;images&#47;St&#47;StartingPitcherfWAR&#47;Dashboard1&#47;1_rss.png' style='border: none' /></a></noscript><object class='tableauViz' width='654' height='675' style='display:none;'><param name='host_url' value='https%3A%2F%2Fpublic.tableausoftware.com%2F' /> <param name='site_root' value='' /><param name='name' value='StartingPitcherfWAR&#47;Dashboard1' /><param name='tabs' value='no' /><param name='toolbar' value='yes' /><param name='static_image' value='https:&#47;&#47;public.tableausoftware.com&#47;static&#47;images&#47;St&#47;StartingPitcherfWAR&#47;Dashboard1&#47;1.png' /> <param name='animate_transition' value='yes' /><param name='display_static_image' value='yes' /><param name='display_spinner' value='yes' /><param name='display_overlay' value='yes' /><param name='display_count' value='yes' /><param name='showVizHome' value='no' /></object></div><div style='width:654px;height:22px;padding:0px 10px 0px 0px;color:black;font:normal 8pt verdana,helvetica,arial,sans-serif;'><div style='float:right; padding-right:8px;'><a href='http://www.tableausoftware.com/public/about-tableau-products?ref=https://public.tableausoftware.com/views/StartingPitcherfWAR/Dashboard1' target='_blank'>Learn About Tableau</a></div></div>

Let me splain you how this works. By interactive, I mean you can actually click on things. You'll see the bar graph, and you'll see a list of pitchers by team below that, and you'll see a checkbox list of names. By clicking on a specific bar in the bar chart, you can restrict the list of pitchers by team below it to show only the team you clicked on. Alternatively, clicking on a pitcher's name in the list of pitchers by team modifies the bar chart above. You can also drag a box over several bars to select multiple bars at once. The checklist at the bottom is a filter. For example, Garrett Richards is included in the Angels fWAR calculation. Since he is no longer going to pitch this season, you can uncheck Richards' name to see how their rotation looks without him. You'll notice that the checklist, while including all the names, takes up a very small portion of screen real estate. It isn't exactly easy to scroll through and check off names. If you hover over the top right corner of the checklist box, you can find a magnifying glass, which allows you to search for specific names. Also, there is an innings sliding filter available to you if you want to set any minimum innings thresholds.

The idea here is to restrict each team to their potential playoff rotation. FanGraphs' depth chart has a rest-of-season projection comparison for each team, but they do not have how the players have performed up until this point in the same format. This visualization attacks that gap. Play around with it, make corrections for injuries, or even see how the rotations might stack up without injuries. Don't focus on the raw fWAR values too much; focus more on the relative position of each team.

A few nuts-and-bolts notes. These data are current as of 8/26/2014. For those pitchers who were traded, I attributed all their fWAR to their new team. The point is to see how they stack up now against each other, not how they stacked up against each other in the past. Post your findings in the comments!