Straight from the Ryan Armbrust Graphical Baseball Laboratory, located in a secluded castle on a mountaintop of the Bohemian Alps in southeast Nebraska, I bring you my latest creation. What you see is every Oakland pitch thrown from one game last year.
What began as a simple experiment in visualizing pitch progression for a game ended up looking vaguely like a reject from the Frank Lloyd Wright school of stained glass windows.
Nonetheless, I think there's some promise to what I set out to accomplish. Let me go back to the beginning, and explain what I've got going on there.
On the left hand side, there are some letters that, while they may look like some kind of acronym from anatomy class in high school, are actually indicating the pitch type on the rest of the chart. K is a swinging strikeout, backwards K is a called strikeout, O is an out made on a ball in play, S is a swinging strike, C is a called strike, and F is a foul ball. Below the double line that marks good from bad, B is a ball, W is a walk, and H is a hit.
The vertical lines indicate the end of a plate appearance, and the numbers below everything help define the duration of a specific inning.
Bright red marks are strikeouts, maroon marks are outs on balls in play, and the blue dashes are hits. You can tell at a glance how many K's and hits a pitcher gave up over the course of a game. Speaking of which, I went the easy route for this first chart, and graphed one of the simplest games of 2006. If you can guess which complete game this was, and who the Oakland pitcher was who threw it, I'll consider the chart to be at least somewhat interpretable.
My goal here is to produce a sleek chart that will contain as much relevant info as possible. If you can take a glance at it and say, "Hey, I see that the second batter of the third inning saw a ball, took two called strikes, another ball, and then struck out swinging", that's what I'm aiming for.
There are some unresolved issues with it, such as how to deal with double plays (such as the one that ended the first inning), whether runs should be accounted for, pitching changes, and if I should differentiate between singles, doubles, etc. I've got some ideas brewing, though.
So, I'm going to open myself up to some criticism here. Keep in mind that I've only invested a couple hours into this prototype, but don't pull your punches. What, if anything, do you like about this? What would you include/exclude/change? Is it similar to an existing thing that I've managed to remain ignorant to? Also, let me know if you'd like to see more of this sort of nerdy numbers and pictures creation thing, or you'd rather I stick to more... traditional methods.