Earlier today, FanGraphs unveiled a new Splits Tool which, in the most layman's terms possible, is kind of like a reversed version Baseball-Reference’s Play Index. Where the Play Index lets you easily compare decades worth of streaks and other oddities in baseball, the Splits Tool lets you easily split out certain aspects of an individual players’ game and see how they have done under those circumstances.
Want to know how well Carlos Santana hits against right-handed pitching with a 1-2 count in the eighth inning of an away game? You can easily find out, and switch out parameters without ever loading a new page.
Unfortunately, unlike the Play Index, you cannot search these bizarre splits throughout baseball history (and the tool only goes back to 2002). Does anyone else have 11 home runs to right field in May or June in the third, fourth, sixth, or eighth innings like Jason Kipnis in his career? You’d have to find out with some clever Play Index manipulation, but getting that number in the first place is super easy in the Splits Tool.
What about Francisco Lindor? How does he do in away games against left-handed pitchers in the first inning with one out? He was 0-for-6 in 2015, in case you were wondering.
For a more useful application of the Splits Tool, let’s see how Jose Ramirez hits in the most ‘clutch’ situation possible. With two outs, runners in scoring position, through an 0-2 count, the Angry Hamster is 6-for-12 with a double and six runs batted in this season — that’s pretty good.
Removing the 0-2 parameter — just seeing how Ramirez does in two-out, RISP situations — we see that his plate appearances shoot up to 58 and he slashes .407/.448/.574 with a home run.
What about when teams apply a shift, traditional or otherwise, when Ramirez is up with runners in scoring position? He is still amazing, as it turns out.
The last thing I want to do is validate any Carlos Santana hate, but we can also find something troubling in his game using the Splits Tool. When he is up to the plate in the final three innings of the game with runners on base, he appears to collapse, slashing .180/.282/.311 in 71 plate appearances this season.
When Santana is batting leadoff and making contact (basically, we are removing his walks), he is great. In 47 such plate appearances, Santana has 14 hits, two doubles, and five solo home runs for a .298 average.
Granted, this is all information that you could have found using the traditional splits page, but now it's done much quicker and easier and without loading multiple pages. And, at least in my experience, having to load multiple FanGraphs pages means a lot of waiting and a lot of slow computer chugging.
Before anyone even brings it up, no, this is not some kind of advertisement or anything for FanGraphs. I just happened to catch news of them releasing this and I love things like it, especially given how easily you can switch out parameters. I know Cleveland Indians fans, especially our readers, love the Play Index and finding obscure stats, so I figured I would pass along a new way to toy with baseball stats. Let me know if you find anything particularly interesting using it!