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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon March 10, 2007
For those of us who remember the old Bill James Baseball Abstract, Baseball Prospectus is about as close as you can come these days. Nothing, of course, can match the pioneering articles James published in the Abstract, but the Prospectus provides the most comprehensive, informative, and amusing player comments you are likely to find along with a few interesting research articles. I can't give any book whose publication I look forward to so eagerly anything less than five stars, but I agree with one of the other reviewers that the editing is very shaky and has been for years. This year the editing seems to have improved a bit, but there are still some player comments, and even team overviews, that don't appear to have been proofread, much less edited. This year's most significant glitch: Each player comment lists the four most comparable players, using the PECOTA system. Unfortunately, when the comparables are mentioned in the body of the comment, the players mentioned don't usually match the players listed. Apparently, they changed how the comparables were calculated and came up with new lists after the comments were written. Every year I end up wishing they had delayed publication for a week or two to allow time for some final editing. One other problem this year is that the book is printed on grade zzz paper with the result that the printing on some pages is blurred.

p.s. to another reviewer: The author of Moneyball is Michael Lewis, not Billy Beane.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
BP's 2007 Prospectus clocks in at over 600 pages, and there is very little fluff within those pages.

Are there typos, omissions and proof-reading/editing gaffes as in past years? Yes, though they seem to have dwindled in # and severity.

I too wish they would delay the book a few days and really go over it with a fine-tooth comb, but given the voluminous data presented, and the public clamoring for an early publication date, I guess something has to give.

For those critical of the paper quality (and I was one such person), please note that I e-mailed the editor at the publishing house, and was told that given the # of pages, some consideration for the paper weight had to be made, lest the book become a literal paperweight. The tannish color of the paper comes along with the lighter paper weight.

(If you've ever seen the annual editions of the Sports Encyclopedia: Baseball, which run well over 800 pages, you'll recognize the paper weight and color. So it seems to be an industry standard for certain encyclopedic page-size tomes over X pages).

As for the actual content, well its everything you've come to expect from BP .... the wit, the confidence and skill in their projections, the candor to admit when they've blown a projection, the team essays which nail the critical aspects of why the team ended 2006 as they did, and what 2007 may hold for them. The essays in the back of the book are as thought-provoking as as diverse as ever.

Count me in as a continuing fan of BP and their annual.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
This is like a Bill James moment. This volume looks at each major league team and key players for the coming campaign. It provides neat statistics like a SPEED score (a takeoff on what Bill James has created), Marginal Lineup Value estimate (MLVr--the estimated value of a player), and so on.

My favorite team is the Chicago White Sox. Let's take a look at this team, to get a sense of what this volume contributes. One neat feature of the volume is its prediction of what might happen for each player in the coming year--a breakout year, improvement, collapse, and attrition. For instance, the book suggests that, for Joe Crede, the odds of a breakout year are 33%, for improvement 59%, for a collapse 15%, and for attrition (severe decline in plate appearances or innings pitched) 9%. For Chisox fans, sounds good. What about Jim Thome? Breakout=14%; improvement=37%; collapse=37%; attrition=28%. Oops. makes me nervous if there is over 1/3 likelihood that his performance collapses. Pitchers? Mark Buehrle is projected as having the following odds: Breakout=14%; Improve=50%; Collapse=16%; Attrition=0%.

There are also data on managers' decision making. Despite his reputation as a hot head, Ozzie Guillen looks pretty good in his handling of starting pitchers, relievers, and the basics of sacrifice bunts.

Nice appendices at the end, too. One of these is a listing of the top 100 minor league prospects. For those who are interested, the top prospect is Alex Gordon (in the Royals' farm system), a 23 year old 3rd baseman. Next is Yankee prospect Philip Hughes, a 21 year old pitcher. And so on.

This is manna from heaven for baseball addicts. It complements the Bill James' works nicely.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on March 8, 2007
If you are interested in bettering your knowledge in sabermetrics, baseball, fantasy sports, or just as a guideline for expectations for this upcoming year, BP 07 is the 600-page, easy-to-read resource you need. The main improvements:

- Manager section

- Statistical overlay that shows BABIP for pitchers

- Much more accurate PECOTAs than year past IMO

- Top 100 Prospect List

- Wider variety of different perspectives

The bad:

- Some editing errors, but, for a 600-page book that was shipped out ASAP, not nearly as many as the review below me would have you believe. And they left out four players, only two of which (Beltre and Wickman) should be meaningful this season.

- Inexplicably no BABIP for hitters

That's the only "bad," really. There are not as many new ideas introduced in this book as in the last book; rather than new ideas, old ones have been much improved, so, depending on your perspective, it more than balances out. For such a low price, it would be foolish of you to pass up this book.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
The newest BP Annual is filled with the usual plethora of statistics, and once again has brief commentary and PECOTA projections for all the important players on each of the ML's 40-man rosters, as well as other prime prospects. The writing for some of the team essays is noticeably lacking in humor, but there are far fewer typos overall than last year.

Worth the price for baseball fans, and worth it's weight for fantasy players who understand how the ML equivalent stats are relevant.
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
I've seen phonebooks smaller than this book, but no phonebook ever dialed up the amount of statisical fun and brash criticism that this book does. Baseball Prospectus is easily the most annoying and refreshing reading you can have during the day. With acronyms like WHIP and OBP you gotta want to know more about baseball to read the book. What is most refreshing and annoying is that every team covered in the book is criticized for their failures and not hyped for past accomplishments or potential. The writers of Baseball Prospectus tear down obscure data and make it relavent. Never mind that the internet has made something two days old, old news, the stats and data collected are used as a guidline to what is to be expected from players.

Don't take the predictions so seriously, or else your hate the book, just take the imformation and remember key formulas during the months of April through October. The game of baseball will reward you with culture and tradition, this book just adds to the knowledge of it.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on April 10, 2007
The Prospectus remains the best book of its type, and its the only one that interests me. Their work has faults (in particular, their method for measuring defense is poor and should not be trusted, they have tended to overestimate the ease of finding competent talent in general and relief pitching in general), but their methods for measuring offense and pitching are sound and their projections provocative. I also like the way they frame their book; from the standpoint of management trying to field the best tean possible within the context of a given budget.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on April 1, 2007
I was a big fan of the Bill James Baseball Abstracts back in the 1980's and 1990's and have missed their insights and attitude. Baseball Prospectus is thought provoking and at times, laugh out loud funny. I will be reading as long as they keep writing. A great way to get ready for the season.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on May 6, 2007
Baseball Prospectus is the gold standard for baseball analysis. The stats are helpful, but I am especially enamored of the PECOTA projection system. This edition is much less plagued by typos than previous editions have been.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on March 18, 2007
This is my first purchase of this book, it is certainly superior to any other and much better than all the magazines on the subject. I think an improvement would be two separate volumes, one for the National League and the other for the American.
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