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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good things take time ....
To those kvetching about the "late" publication date ... stop and consider this:

The Series ends late October (and for the writeups on at least 2 teams, this is a critical point).

It takes a significant amount of time from the end of the season to:

* process the data on 1600 players from the Majors and Minors

* consider the...
Published on February 28, 2005 by Diane B. Firstman

versus
19 of 58 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Still with a big chip on their shoulders
The Baseball Prospectus covers most major league players, complete with comments and their own type of statistics, emphasizing categories like on-base percentage and slugging percentage, which have become the vital statistics for many in the game. Their organizational comments try to focus on how teams build smartly, and how others gamble on short term solutions and...
Published on April 17, 2005 by R.J.


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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good things take time ...., February 28, 2005
This review is from: Baseball Prospectus 2005: Statistics, Analysis, and Insight for the Information Age (Paperback)
To those kvetching about the "late" publication date ... stop and consider this:

The Series ends late October (and for the writeups on at least 2 teams, this is a critical point).

It takes a significant amount of time from the end of the season to:

* process the data on 1600 players from the Majors and Minors

* consider the subjects to write about in the team essays, and then do the background research on them

* allow for the free agency signing period to pass, which allows for better commentary on expected valuation of players on their new teams

Also consider that the BP crew is also still producing daily commentaries and analysis for their website, and that for many of them, BP is NOT their "real job". So .. let's cut them a little slack.

I noticed the foreword was written on January 10 (just days after the end of the FA signing period) ... and the 600+ page book arrived on shelves a little more than 7 weeks later ... in MY mind, that's NOT a bad turnaround time ...

As for roto drafts being held just as pitchers and catchers report, well, THAT seems a bit foolhardy.

Its a balancing act between the timeliness and relevance of the data, and the publisher's desires as to when to get the book out. From the publisher's point of view, there is really little reason to get a baseball book out in late January/early February ... not enough potential buyers are thinking of baseball.

Anyway, as for this year's edition of the BP, its everything I've come to expect from the gang, and their PECOTA system has been a godsend for my drafting strategies.

I subtracted a star for the numerous typos ... yeah, its a petty gripe. Perhaps they didn't have enough time to proofread?
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19 of 26 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good, but Far From Perfect, March 20, 2005
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This review is from: Baseball Prospectus 2005: Statistics, Analysis, and Insight for the Information Age (Paperback)
The Baseball Prospectus is an excellent resource, and a fun browser for baseball fans. The Pecota projections give a sense of how the player might perform THIS year, and whether he's more likely to improve or decline from last year. The little analytical paragraph on each player is priceless, and often very funny.

On the other hand, there are a couple of problems...
The first is the authors' theological insistence on not allowing the stats for Runs Scored, RBIs, Wins-Losses, or Saves to show up anywhere. We all get it, these stats are problematic and subjective and don't always reveal the true contribution of a player to his team. But hey, those are all stats that every single fantasy league in the country counts. So the tens of thousands of guys with fantasy teams who are looking for some insights into some of the key statistical categories will be disappointed. This book, open alongside of the Bill James Handbook, should give you all the data you need.

The second problem is really about the format. The Bill James Handbook lists all the players alphabetically, and that makes sense for fantasy coaches. The Baseball Prospectus, however, lists the players by team. But even where a player has changed teams and the authors note that fact, the Prospectus insists on listing him with his old team.

I think the Bill James Handbook --because it uses the stats and format most convenient to fantasy owners-- will be a better buy if you're only getting one book. Fantasy owners are less interested in the collection of talent on any particular real-life team than in being able to assess the whole universe of players. So the Bill James book is better-suited to fantasy owners.

On the other hand, the Prospectus --because it groups players by team and doesn't bother with some of the key fantasy stats-- is probably more suited to the guy watching a game on TV who wants to read about the specific players on one team. The Prospectus's statistical analysis showing the value of a particular player to the team and park he plays for, and vice versa, also support the notion that this book is better-suited to someone focused on one team or game.

In short, both books have strengths and weakneeses. I bought them both and enjoy them side-by-side. But it depends on what is your primary interest.
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars ..., March 9, 2005
This review is from: Baseball Prospectus 2005: Statistics, Analysis, and Insight for the Information Age (Paperback)
The thing that impresses me most about this book is the sense of humor used throughout. Its not just stats, figures, and predictions. The writers actually let their personality shine through. I really bow to the editor of this for not squelching the creativity. I found myself laughing harder at something things said in this than at most Simpsons episodes. Definately recommended.
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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Overwhelmed, March 2, 2005
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This review is from: Baseball Prospectus 2005: Statistics, Analysis, and Insight for the Information Age (Paperback)
I received my copy of BP 2005 on the same day that the fantasy tools and the detailed 2005 PECOTA projections arrived on BaseballProspectus.com. As usual I'm overwhelmed by the amount of information at my hands. Where to start? Looking up the PECOTA's on the web to prepare for my roto draft, or taking a more leisurely stroll through the team-by-team chapters and player evaluations in the book? I'm planning to do both. Of course there's more baseball analysis in the book. It's going to take a while to work through the math in Woolner's chapter on "Win Expectancy" and the logic of Click's analysis of "The Art of Baserunning." But the MLB season is a month away,and I'll have time to read everything as the season progresses. Put it another way: this is a big book, and baseball has a long season. I'm going to hurry in consuming many of the individual player stats but take my time reading and enjoying the team essays, analytic studies, and day-by-day columns on the website.
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10 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Future Of Baseball, May 14, 2005
This review is from: Baseball Prospectus 2005: Statistics, Analysis, and Insight for the Information Age (Paperback)
This refrence book is part of what's known as the sabrmetrics, or statistical analysis, movement in baseball today, particularily the pro game. The main thesis that this book is based around is the factual idea that baseball players (and, by association, baseball decisions) can be analyzed using stats. Many successful MLB teams, including the A's, Red Sox, Indians, Cardinals, and Dodgers use advanced statistics (some more than others) to determine what moves they should make.

This book isn't a fantasy baseball book, it is a scouting guide. You won't find Wins, RBI, or Errors listed here, because these stats aren't important when it comes to evaluating players. Some reviewers have complained at the lack of said stats, and that they should "at least be included". On the contrary, they don't fit BP's organizational hilosophy. They shouldn't be included at all. If you want to use BP for your fantasy league, you're better off buying a "BP Fantasy" subscription at [...]

Other reviewers have stated the the Sabrmetric way of thinking doesn't encompass all the lore, emotion, heart, etc. that play such an important role in such a beautiful game. They say that baseball can't be measured solely in stats. Unfortunately for them, it nearly can. If heart, emotion, and the like actually were important, then they would show up as anomilies in the stat relationships. Fact is, they don't. Those things don't really matter, because they don't effect how the outcome of the game.

The BP writers aren't out to dehumanize baseball. Far from it, in fact! They are providing insight into a new way to play the game, a way to play the game that has made the low-budget A's into consistent 90+ game winners, and the Red Sox into World Series champions. Sabermetrics can only improve the game of baseball, and the "revolution" is coming sooner than you think. In fact, its already here. Become part of the forward-thinking, extrodinary group of people known as statistical analists.
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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great writing, great information, March 3, 2005
By 
John R. Mayne (Riverbank, CA USA) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Baseball Prospectus 2005: Statistics, Analysis, and Insight for the Information Age (Paperback)
Cut away all the statistics, and you've got the best-written, most informative baseball book on the planet. The stats and projections are also good, but what this book does best is give you information on players you didn't know before.

Whether you're in a Scoresheet or other fantasy league or not, this book has what you want.

The writing, always good, strikes me as slightly better this year than last year, and about even with BP's best years.

Many publications tried to replace the old Bill James Baseball Abstract, and many failed. This is the successor, the one you wait for in the mailbox, and pore over with the knowledge that baseball season is here. It's a great book.
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16 of 23 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Another year, another triumph, March 1, 2005
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This review is from: Baseball Prospectus 2005: Statistics, Analysis, and Insight for the Information Age (Paperback)
Once again, the BP crew managed to get me fired up for the new season. BP arrived in my mailbox just a few days ago and I've been tearing through it since, devouring the wonderful content.

What makes BP so good? Well, first it provides wonderful analysis of the game, breaking down how teams succeeded or failed in the past year, pointing out not only what they did right or wrong last year but how their organizational philosophy over the last few years has affected their progress. The BP crew delight in overturning conventional wisdom, kicking sacred cows and stimulating thought. At least a couple of times every volume, I put it down for a few minutes and say, "Huh! I never thought of that! But it's so obvious!"

Second, they break down 1600 individual players, including any minor leaguer they think might make the majors. They make predictions, own up to muffs from last year, point out a player's flaws or strengths. As a tool for drafting your fantasy team, this is wonderful (and they have some great fantasy content on their website). But it's far more interesting as a fan to just see what they make of a player's potential. And what's best is they use not only the best prediction tool out there to project a player's future, but understand the limitations on that approach and try to see if a player likely to beat or fail his projection based on scouting, attitude, health, etc.

All this come wrapped up in a fan's delight in the game. You can tell these guys are huge fans. Sometimes, they like a player more than they should because he's just fun to watch. And sure, they lean heavily on the stats. But they always make it clear what the limitations of stats are.

For six years, my baseball season has started with the arrival of this book. This year's volume does not disappoint.
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8 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Best at what it does, March 22, 2005
This review is from: Baseball Prospectus 2005: Statistics, Analysis, and Insight for the Information Age (Paperback)
Baseball Prospectus, with its PECOTA system, has the most valuable projections of all the annuals that appear. It takes a little bit of understanding of the system to know how to use it rather than just doing a "look up" as you can do for stats from past seasons. In my own experience, the specific predictions based on them (updated and in detail at baseballprospectus.com) are more trustworthy than most of the other so-called expert systems. While a reading of previous year's stats can usually give you a pretty good idea how a player will perform in the coming year, that doesn't help much with players who have little major league experience, fluke seasons (good or bad), injuries, or are over the hill. And if you know that a little edge in predictions, when spread over hundreds of players, may help you to win your own league, you want that edge. So you are going to be better off "for the league" with a system that takes such factors -- as well as considerations as park factors and fundamental skills -- into account.

The main value of the book (as opposed to the website) is in its fine and original analyses and essays on every team, along with commentaries on 50 or so players and prospects in each organization. The writers are not only knowledgable but clearly they are also FANS, and the energy and the humor of the essays raises my enthusiasm for the coming season. This is very easy and enjoyable reading.
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6 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An essential for the upcoming season, February 28, 2005
This review is from: Baseball Prospectus 2005: Statistics, Analysis, and Insight for the Information Age (Paperback)
The guys at BP have proven that they're the best resource for original, informative, stat-based methods of looking at baseball. What they've done again this year is to pack that knowledge into an excellent publication, one that should be an essential purchase for any fan.

For those who have read previous editions, the layout and content will be familiar, but nonetheless interesting and useful. Personally, I find the team essays and articles to be the most interesting parts of the book. That's not to take away from the stats, which help to separate this book from many others, but the group does a great job on the team pages of including a great amount of detail in a relatively small space. And the casual fan, unfamiliar with terms like VORP and PECOTA, will likely find this book an eye-opener, one that shows a completely different approach to the game than do so many others.

For fantasy players, this is a great resource, complaints about its publication date not withstanding. However, beyond its fantasy value, it's a great book to have around for the season. The amount of material packed in these pages is incredible, and the price is amazingly low. I'd suggest making room for this one on your coffee table, and keeping it there all season long. It should serve of great value as both an excellent read, and a great reference source for the 2005 season.
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7 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Intelligent Perspective - About Baseball?!, March 31, 2005
This review is from: Baseball Prospectus 2005: Statistics, Analysis, and Insight for the Information Age (Paperback)
For the past few years, the arrival of Baseball Prospectus marks the beginning of a fresh season for me. The writers and editors of this enjoyable publication have been labeled as "statheads," as if they have nothing to offer the general public except for enigmatic metrics and numbers. This is far from reality.

Along with the essential statistics and projections, the book is filled with lucid, yet insightful descriptions of all 30 baseball franchises - not to mention comments about the players!

If you're tired of the Kruk-esian perspective about the game you enjoy, browse through Baseball Prospectus. It can help you develop as a fan.
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Baseball Prospectus 2005: Statistics, Analysis, and Insight for the Information Age
Baseball Prospectus 2005: Statistics, Analysis, and Insight for the Information Age by Baseball Prospectus Team of Experts (Paperback - February 14, 2005)
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