Visualizing Standings, Projections, and the Diamondbacks' Rotation

Photo by Hirz/Getty Images

TL;DR: I've put together a few different charts in Google Sheets to show some things that I had wanted to see for a while. You can find them all here! Or keep reading for an introduction.

Let's start with the standings over time. A single standings table is just a snapshot in time, but could we see the entire season history in a single glance? We could plot wins by date, or losses by date, but the cleaner thing to do is to plot wins minus losses, i.e. the number of games each team is over .500.

Here's what that looks like today (May 18) for the NL West:

NL West Standings

With a chart like this, a win is an uptick, a loss is a downtick, and an off-day is a flat line. Doubleheaders can lead to sharper upticks and downticks or just another flat line.

For the NL West so far in 2023 in particular, you can see how the Dbacks held the top spot in the division for the second half of April before the Dodgers really took off. You can also see the Padres' descent in the last week or two, dropping them (for now) into fourth place in the division.

There are other tabs showing this for the NL, the NL Wildcard (leaving off the current division leaders), and MLB. Of course, the last of these is quite busy:

MLB Standings

Next up, I wanted to look at the projections over time, because while those will also converge to the same value by season's end, they hopefully take better into account preseason expectations as well as strength of schedule.

I wasn't able to find historical projections from Fangraphs, but I was able to find them from FiveThirtyEight, once a week since the beginning of the season. Here's what that looks like for the NL West again:

NL West Projections

This uses the same "Wins Above .500" measurement to be consistent, so the 0 line is an 81-81 finish. You can see here how the Diamondbacks were originally expected to finish in fourth, which has now been revised to finishing in third on average. The chart here roughly mirrors the one above, except that it only has one data point per week and takes preseason expectations into account. There are corresponding charts for the NL, NL Wildcard, and MLB as well.

Finally, I simply wanted to visualize the Diamondbacks' schedule in a "calendar form", except instead of days of the week, I wanted to see the order by starting pitcher, color-coded by the result of the game. Here's what that looks like to date in 2023:

Dbacks Schedule by Starter

I've ordered the columns by position in the rotation order so the games in each row are also ordered left-to-right by date. You can see how Henry took over Bumgarner's spot and the Davies/Jameson/Pfaadt spot kept moving. You can also see Zac Gallen's dominant four game scoreless streak at a glance, as well as the fact that the Dbacks lost five straight Ryne Nelson starts before winning the last two.

I have published the Google Sheet where I put all of this here. I plan to keep updating this sheet throughout the season (copy-pasting from FiveThirtyEight and Fangraphs), ideally once a day. If anyone else wants to help out with the updating, I'd be happy to share the burden.

What do you all think? Any comments for ways these charts could be improved? What else do you think would be cool to see?