on March 10, 2006
I'm a huge fan of BP, both online and the annual book. BP 2006 is the best available resource for baseball analysis, if only for the normalized stat lines and the fantastic PECOTA system. If you are interested in studying baseball, particularly the area of individual player evaluation, this is the book for you - it is literally unmatched in the marketplace. Fantasy baseball owners will appreciate the player stat trends and 2006 projections, but you won't find much advice beyond that for winning your roto league.
That said, the editing and production this year are frustratingly bad. It's not just typo problems. Many sentences are missing verbs or have vague meanings, and entire sections are really tough to read. Some parts are weighed down with so much data it distracts the reader from the analysis. For example, there's a section in the Philadelphia chapter that comments on the Phillies' inability to develop players through their farm system, along with data to prove the point. I swear to you now that after three readings I still don't understand what that data (table 2, page 346) is supposed to show. It's literally 143 numbers that appear to be randomly ordered in an 11x13 table. At first glance I couldn't detect a trend, and the prose failed to describe the table at all. The first sentence of the description reads: "Players shown by organization that developed them;organization is credited with developing a major league player if they originally drafted or signed him, unless they released him before he first played in Double-A or Triple-A;Regular season = 100 games for position players; "w/Club" totals reflect the Games/IP/Seasons played with the parent club that developed the player" Yes, there is no period at the end of that "sentence." Look, some number bending is par for the course with a book like this, but if you are expecting the type of production you see on the website, you'll likely be disappointed. I like the numbers, but in order to be useful they need to be organized properly and explained. I don't want to spend my free time sifting through a core dump. That's what's so boggling - the daily stuff from these guys/gals is so darn interesting, and the past annuals have been such a joy to read.
Even the player comments, which normally range from solid to sublime, are spotty this time around. I imagine that if I were writing player comments for a book like this, I'd start by studying the player, analyzing his statistical trends and similar players, and jotting down short notes as I went along. Well, that's how a lot of the player comments read to me - like they're bullet points masquerading as sentences. There are some good moments, but the quality is unusually inconsistent.
I'm giving this 3 stars, which is a tribute to the extremely valuable statistical data in this book. But next year I hope the authors start earlier or spend more time on formatting and comipiling the information in the book.
The arrival of the new BP annual means one thing: baseball season is here once again! As usual, I tore through my new BP annual, eager to devour their essays and projections. The essays are top-notch, the stats are numerous and interesting, and overall the book was fantastic.
A few essays weren't up to snuff, however. The White Sox piece barely dealt at all with the team itself, and considering that they won the World Series I found that surprising.
The main problem with the book is the ridiculous number of typos and grammatical mistakes. The more I encountered, the more I wondered how rushed this was. And then I began to wonder if there was a correlation between the number of typos and the quality of the analysis. I am a big fan of BP, and subscribe to their website, and I don't recall ever being subjected to this number of mistakes in a month of articles.
This is from the opening paragraph of the Cardinals essay: "For all the talk about Oakland's lack of resources, the Cardinals haven't had a significantly better they've done a much better job..."
There must be at least 50 such mistakes in this book. While the overall impression of the book was positive, the carelessness in the editing is an issue.
on April 11, 2006
This is a terrific book for every baseball stat geek out there. Every player in both leagues, and a huge sampling of minor league players, is included. On top of just statistics, there is insight to each team, a paragraph on each player, and a few "by the numbers" chapters at the end.
The book's greatest strength is also a weakness though. As in past years, the writers offer several new statistics in which the goal is try and take the guess work out how a player will produce. While these statistics can be fascinating, they also can be confusing. The hard part about understanding new statisics is you have no base line to compare it to. What is good? What is bad? The book tries, but struggles to explain this.
As stated in other reviews, this isn't really a fantasy baseball book. The statistics aren't geared toward dollar amounts or what round to draft players in. In my opinion, this is great because it's what makes this book not just another fantasy book. If your looking for a book to carry with you to draft day then buy a magazine. This doesn't mean this book shouldn't be used as a supplement when you are studying for a fantasy draft. The authors spend a great amount of time, using countless peripheral statistics, to develop their player projections. Having owned the book for the past few years these projections are more accurate then what you might find in fantasy baseball magazines.
I keep my copy of Baseball Prospectus on my coffee table for the whole baseball season. It's nice to pick it up for quick reference while making an interesting read at the same time. After reading this book your knowledge of baseball and its players will impress even the most astute stat geeks.
on March 3, 2006
Baseball Prospectus puts out a quality annual every year. The annual is a whopping 554 pages long (big pages at that), so for most fans, it may not be until the All-Star break before they finish it.
As usual, there is excellent coverage of all the teams. I especially like it when they go in-depth on a specific topic, rather than preview the teams' 2005 season. Some good tidbits can always be found on the sections on the individual players.
If you are interested in player projections for fantasy league purposes, they have a great system (PECOTA) that is well thought out, well researched and is multi-dimensional. They don't just list what they think the players' stats will be, but they have projections on the likelihood that the player will Breakout, Improve & Collapse. This is useful information for the late-round draft picks or the $1 auction pick-ups.
Overall, this is a must-have for all baseball fans, especially for the nice price on Amazon.
on March 9, 2006
I love this book, and every year, it gets better and better. It could come out earlier, and that would be great. This year, the essays in the back of the book are really outstanding, and I'd like to see more of them in future editions.
The price has remained low for the book, but the quality of the printed pages has gone down some. That might be because the book was so heavy in the past, and they wanted to make it lighter. Heavier paper would be an improvement.
Highlights of the book are the injury accounting formula, the limitations of statistical analysis article, and the team chapters on the New York Yankees, St. Louis Cardinals, Oakland As, and San Francisco Giants. They've also added a line for each player about the most similar players, which is really interesting, and kind of brings a focus to each player.
The proofreading could be improved. There are many instances of typos, extra words, strange punctuation, but it doesn't detract from the book significantly.
on July 29, 2006
Love Baseball prospectus 2006. Great info and stats. I personally like the humor the authors do in there player Analysis. Makes it fun to read, not just a dry paragraph about numbers. Best part about the book is it is for real baseball fans and roto geeks. Both will enjoy the book.
As in past years, the group at BP have created a work that should prove valuable both to fantasy baseball players, as well as anyone interested in reading about how their team and others should fare this season. And while I found it lacking in a couple of areas, I would still consider it an essential purchase for the 2006 season.
As usual, the most enjoyable part of the book is the player comments. It's always surprising how much information the BP gang can cram into a few sentences, and they manage to do so without making the comments dry and boring. While they may sometimes seem more than a little smug, they also exhibit some pretty great humor, and I've found myself laughing at these comments on many occasions. The team pages are also excellent, providing a great synopsis of the 2005 season and a preview of '06, with little in the way of wasted words or filler. It's nice to read a publication that credits its audience with having at least some sense of baseball knowledge, which I can't say is the case in many mainstream publications.
Since this is a BP publication, the stats are obviously critical, and they've again done an excellent job of presenting their usuals (VORP, etc.) while also trying to investigate better ways to measure traditionally difficult areas like the value of speed. And while I know that the SABR crowd might not be happy about it, I think it's important that they've finally decided to include RBI for each player. I know that it's not the most meaningful stat, given that so much of it depends on other factors. However, it's criticalfor most fantasy leaguers, which is a demographic towards which this publication is aimed. I admit that RBIs aren't my favorite, either, but I think their inclusion is justifiable.
Another new item that I find fun are the player comps. For each player, the writers give 3 "comparable" players based on their analysis. You may not necessarily agree with their comps, but they're definitely enjoyable, and they give you the chance to think things like, "Come on, Halladay is better than Gubicza ever was!"
As for the faults, they're pretty minor. The first is one that seems to be a problem with every edition of this book - the poor editing, which includes both spelling and grammatical errors. A few mistakes are to be expected, but there are many throughout the book. There are no horrible, book-long errors like putting stats on the wrong line, but these little typos and poor grammar are quite noticable. The second complaint I have - and I might be in the minority here - is that I believe there should be more essays. I know that it's tough to work on the book, their web site, and essays for this book at the same time, but I would have appreciated some more 5-7 page contributions from these excellent writers.
I'd recommend this to any fan, regardless of whether or not they're heavily into stats. The player comments alone are worth the price of this book, which is incredibly low for the information contained within. If you're looking for a combination of good writing and an excellent stats-based approach, it's difficult to beat this effort from the gang at BP.
on July 2, 2006
This is the one book you need before draft day! Oh, and if you're just a major league baseball fan, especially one that knows that there is a lot more to find in the statistics than meets the eye, this book is for you. If your eyes glaze over when you try to decipher statistics, this book makes it easy to understand all you really need to know....oh, and love the snark!
on March 30, 2006
I almost hesitate to write this review simply because others have successfully summarized the strengths and weaknesses of the 2006 edition of "Baseball Prospectus." However, perhaps if enough reviews band together, the "team of experts" might just listen.
Yes, the stats and their collation are excellent and comparable with another of the best-in-the-business: Shandler's "Baseball Forecaster."
However, the formatting is NOT for the fantasy baseball fan. And that's okay. But then it should not be so heavily marketed to the fantasy baseball fan. And who else would be interested enough to pay this price and wait this long for its arrival? The team-by-team format reminds me of books published years ago before fantasy baseball--designed for the fan interested in predicting which team might win which division.
Equally maddening are the inane, cutesy comments. This book needs an editor. For some reason many of the fantasy baseball sites follow this same disappointing trend. The writers somehow feel the need to be the "class clowns" cutting up instead of working hard to edit their writing. Please, spare us the unsuccessful attempts at clever comedy. Leave that to the professional stand-up comics. Instead, focus on using the limited space that you have to really say something about each player. Or, are you running out of things to say? Are you just filling space to jack up the price?
Add to this the late publication date (which could be sped up with fewer needless words) which means that the book arrives after preparation for most fantasy drafts, and you have a book that I will not purchase again. Unless. . . . Unless the writers and editors listen to the reviewers--the common folks who lay down the money to buy a produce that focuses on meaningful, well-written, well-edited statistics for real and fantasy baseball.
on March 6, 2006
Intelligent, statistically rich, innnovative, opinionated, topical. Even if you're not a stathead, it's a must; when they get a little deep on stat methodology, I just speed-read thru it. This year, it has incorporated a lot more great info into each player capsule. Its staff has tripled, and they're all superb and constantly challenge themselves. This is the fruit of what Bill James seeded. I am a hard-to-please baseball addict, but this is a treasure trove...and better than ever. The gold standard of the season-preview genre. Nothing else close in quality or breadth. I refer to it several times per week thru the whole year.