Today, I had the opportunity to attend the unveiling of a new statistical program developed by Bloomberg, the same people behind the financial network which helps clients analyze stocks and trends. The unveiling took place at Bloomberg headquarters in New York and representatives from the company as well as MLB.com were on hand to describe the program and to show those of us in attendance what we can expect when the product goes public on February 18.
Bloomberg has taken the same approach for financial markets and applied this to statistical analysis for baseball. The program will help fantasy owners choose players for their leagues and also give them real-time stats for their drafts as well as provide updated information so they can decide on trades, cuts and pick-ups.
In addition, teams have a powerful version of the program which gives them more information and can allow for prediction of pitches, analyze swings and arm slots. Currently, teams are using Bloomberg Sports Baseball on a trial basis for the offseason and Spring Training. I learned the program is being tweaked throughout the trial period to give teams exactly what they want. We’ll see if this is a gamechanger in both fantasy and in MLB overall. This certainly has the potential.
For fantasy league owners, Bloomberg has complete access to MLB databanks and can tap into real-time information. What this program can do is marry all of your leagues together. You can draft your teams from whatever league your team is based, ESPN.com, CBSSports.com, Yahoo, it doesn’t matter. You can manage them in Bloomberg Sports, make changes from there and apply them to your leagues. You don’t have to go to each website to make changes. That’s a big advantage.
Your Draft Kit looks like this and players are shown like a baseball card. You can also make them appear in a grid if you wish.
What’s interesting is that if you click on a player, statistical information will appear like a baseball card and you can choose from certain views to see batting average, on-base percentage, ERA, WHIP, etc. Where you might have had to buy a fantasy magazine to get this information, you now have Bloomberg Sports as a one stop shopping destination for the stats you need.
If you’re considering a certain player, you can call him up to find the latest information. Let’s say you want to know what’s going on with Jason Bay of the New York Mets, you do a search and you will get articles, not only from Bloomberg and MLB.com, but from blogs, newspapers and other websites. Bloomberg will not only gather this information, but also link back to the original source driving traffic to the site.
Now, let’s go from the draft kit to the actual in-season program. You can do a side-by-side comparisons of players with charts, graphs, and plenty of bells and whistles which you can access to make the right decision on which one to keep and which one to drop.
For instance, if you want to look at Ryan Braun’s statistics, you can do a search and this will give you his offensive production and if you click on the pic here, you will also find fielding information. It’s quite fascinating what Bloomberg has done here to bring all of this information.
And the interface seems to be user-friendly from all appearances. Now this may change once people start using it, but the format seems easy on the eyes and doesn’t scream or force you to squint.
The information for pitchers is in similar format to batters, and you can find charts showing trends plus statistical data to assist in your assessment of whether to keep, drop or trade, if you league allows you to do so.
We also learned that writer Jonah Keri will become of the Head of Content for Bloomberg Sports. He’ll lead a staff of writers which will provide fresh content for MLB.com and for subscribers. That staff will be announced in the coming days.
Teams have been using a souped-up version since the Winter Meetings in December and the Biz of Baseball’s Maury Brown reviewed the program when it was officially unveiled at that time.
MLB.com is already taking orders for the program, which comes in three categories, Draft Kit, In-Season Tools or both. The Draft Kit is $19.95, In-Season Tools is $24.95 while getting both will cost you $31.95.
Quite a fascinating program and I thank Bloomberg Sports for inviting me to watch the demonstration. It was also a great opportunity to meet baseball bloggers and also meet up with my trophy wife, Amanda Rykoff, the OCD Chick, with whom I have conversed extensively on Twitter, but didn’t have the chance to formally talk in person until today.
Thanks to Joe Favorito for inviting me and thanks to Bloomberg for feeding us. That goes a long way.