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on February 10, 1999
Purists allege that fantasy types have perverted the Grand Old Game. By obsessing over indivudual performances and "baseball numerology," roto players have stripped the game of the context that makes it so inherently rewarding: poetry, drama, teamsmanship and community. And to be sure, almost every baseball annual has as its focus the rotsisserie market. Invariably, players are analyzed in alphabetical order rather than in the context of their contribution to their team, with a focus on the bottom line and with no sense of what might lie behing the numbers. The result is that most annuals are devoid of analysis that would be truly helpful to the fantasy player, and are meaningless to the baseball purist. But Baseball Prospectus (BP) is a different breed. It is chock full of penetrating roto analysis, and it aims consciously toward helping its readers improve their own observational and critical skills. But BP does so in a team context. Players are analyzed according to their contributions to their team. There is a comprehensive essay for each team, covering manager, management, players, and ballpark. And whereas most annuals merely list their favorite prospects, BP anaylzes nearly every credible prospect for each organization, while providing a thorough critique of every team's organizational strength. BP's writing is exceptionally witty. Where else can you find out that Matt Stairs's nickname is "Wonder Hamster"? And these writers are no eunuchs; they are opinionated, which is a refrshing change from the mealymouthed analysis offered by most annuals. BP is a very enjoyable read, it is a great place for fantasy players to get truly helpful analysis, and it is the best book on the market for helping the avid take his own game to the next level. An essential component of any fanatic's baseball library. Order the book. These are very helpful people. Postscript: Simulation players, ignored by the industry, will find BP to be the most helpful of the annuals.
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on January 25, 1999
A really excellent book about real baseball. This is not a rotisserie book, but a good rotisserie player could learn a lot from it. Doesn't pull punches or praise when needed. It's very fresh, very insightful, and an absolute joy to read. I didn't sleep last night because I had to keep reading one more player and team comment. Not as funny as in 1998, but every bit as entertaining, informative, and thoughtful as one could hope from a baseball book. My only complaint is the size of the book (should be more than 512 pages)...
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on February 15, 1999
A great companion for the STATS books, and really fun to read. A friend made me buy it this year after he's been beating me in roto for the last two years. Not the best roto book, but a great baseball book.
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on February 16, 1999
Baseball Prospectus is the probably the best of the yearly annuals. With the addition of Pitcher Abuse Points to their excellent roster of stats and reports on minor leaguers, it's a book that's a useful companion for the year ahead.
But Baseball Prospectus has two problems: first, the statistics contained aren't real. If you quote a batter's statistics to someone in an argument over a player's worthlessness, you can get caught making stuff up. The statistics for players are translated to park-neutral etc. While this is fine and good, in one sense, in another, I'd like to know what a player's K/BB ratio was for real, not what it should have been.
The other problem is that Baseball Prospectus does a lot of hedging in comments (I think so that each year they can say "Correctly forecasted the rise/decline of Player X"). Too many players have comments like "If healthy, look for him to have a great year. Otherwise, expect a steep decline." For a book with such a strong sense of its own place and an original perspective, it's disappointing they'd stoop to this in order to make good quotes for the next year's back cover.
That aside, Baseball Prospectus offers great information unavailable anywhere else. Get it first, then complain.
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on February 16, 1999
I won my roto title last season with information from Prospectus '98. I will be defending my title with Prospectus '99.
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on March 25, 1999
I have often admired those who can spout names and numbers, ERAs, and any other fact you might want to know about baseball. Now I know what the fact finders do when there is no night baseball! Any fan, parent or relative of a fan now has the perfect gift to give. BASEBALL PROSPECTUS 1999 is a book a baseball fan cannot put down, "literally or figuratively". As a bonus, it is enjoyable and light reading. This book gets us from first to second to third base and home again. And between games, you should also read THE 2,000 PERCENT SOLUTION, by Mitchell, Coles and Metz which will get you from first base - you have a problem, to second base - identifying why you are stalled, to third base - learn ways to develop many solutions to "help you hit the ball twenty times as often or twenty times as well" , and take you home again to begin perfecting the process. Because each time you run the bases, you will get better at it and find more ways to succeed. If you are a baseball fan, you will score by reading both of these books.
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on May 6, 1999
Although I am sure a lot of time and research went into this book, the statistics listed and projected in no way relate to real life baseball numbers. I guess if you want to transplant Chipper Jones into Fenway Park or the Astrodome you can make somewhat of a comparision, if that is what you are into- but this in NO WAY relates to real life baseball as we know it. In fact it is only the author's opinion regarding his concocted logic and values that measures different leagues, stadium effects, etc.
Does this help the fantasy league player? It might- but who knows since I am not involved in these leagues. I bought the book on a friends advice that it was an interesting and fine resource book. I tossed it into the trash after studying and reading thru it once. What a mistake and waste of 20 bucks. It seems that one man's opinions and outlook on what skills/statistics are important to rate players on dominates his projections and conclusions. This book may be "the berries" for some of you but it was NOT for me.
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