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4.6 out of 5 stars
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on December 7, 2011
The one indispensible baseball reference covers all the bases: Every 2011 player, however brief his time in the bigs; original research; exclusive data; new material each year and some clever writing, too. A reference book that makes it a joy to browse for its treasures -- imagine that. And every year it's the first off the press. I find it faster to look up a player in the well-organized Handbook than to search for him online. The Handbook makes it easier to get a take on newer players, because their minor-league data is here. This book annually is the handiest source for lefty-righty performance by every player, in-depth fielding data, how well pitchers hold runners, ballpark characteristics, leader boards in unique stats, player projections and so much more. Recent additions to the book calculate each player's base-running performance and each team's ability to manufacture runs. Casual fan or serious, fantasy-baseball player or sim-baseball player, someone who knows the game or someone who wants to, you will find more than your money's worth here.
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on December 18, 2011
1- 2012 hitting and pitching projections. The Handbook has been doing projections since 1990 and they are very accurate. Their projections make it possible to sort out position battles of major league teams. For example, based on the projections from the handbook, the Cincinnati Reds should start four rookies next season: Juan Francisco (3b); Zack Cozart (ss); Devin Mesoraco (c); and Dave Sappelt (lf).

2- Win Shares. Win Shares are a great tool to use for quick evaluations such as all-star teams and awards. For example, based on win shares, the voters were right with their two Cy Young selections: Justin Verlander (AL) and Clayton Kershaw (NL). They were half right with the NL MVP. Ryan Braun and Matt Kemp were tied for the NL lead in Win Shares in 2011. However, voters miss big time by selecting Verlander as MVP. Win Shares had Verlander in a tie for sixth in the MVP voting. Teammate Miguel Cabrera should have won the AL MVP award according to Win Shares.

3. Career Stats. The Handbook provides career stats for every player who played in the majors this season.

4. Defensive Info. One area that separates the knowledgeable fan from all others is defense. Ask any baseball fan to name the good hitting clubs and good pitching clubs and most fans can do it. But, the same isn't true of defensive knowledge. Just for the record, the Handbook tells us that the Rays were the best defensive club in the majors last season robbing their opponents of 77 runs during the season. Conversely, the Orioles were the worst defensive teams allowing 45 extra runs as a result of poor defense.

5. Career Targets & Hall of Fame points: The Handbook has a section which provides a percentage chance of players reaching milestones. Such as: Albert Pujols has a 12% chance of hitting 800 home runs. The Handbook tells us that there are four players in the majors right now which have a better than 50% chance of getting 3,000 hits. The Handbook Hall of Fame (HOF) points tell us who has likely done enough to make the Hall. Believe it or not there are 15 players which look to be in the HOF (not counting the steroids factor): 1-A Rodriguez; 2-M Rivera; 3-A Pujols; 4-D Jeter; 5- M Ramirez; 6- F Thomas; 7- M Piazza; 8- K Griffey; 9- T Hoffman; 10- I Rodriguez; 11 I Suzuki; 12- V Guerrero; 13- C Jones; 14- G Sheffield; and 15 - S Sosa
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I love getting each year's Bill James Handbook. If you are a figure filbert and like baseball statistics, this volume is likely to interest you. It provides an analysis of baseball player's performance in the 2011 season.

There are several excellent features herein:

1. Ratings of fielders (The Fielding Bible Awards). Albert Pujols is the winner at first and Troy
Tulowitzki at shortstop, to give a couple examples.

2. In some ways, the next section is critical. The individual records of all those playing in
2011. This gives a fine basis for seeing how each player did. I am a Chicago White Sox fan, and
am interested in performances by those playing for the Chisox. Example: Pitcher Gavin Floyd. He
has been in double figures in wins the past four years; his ERA (for the times) is okay (from
3.84 to 4.37).

3. Fielding Statistics. One intriguing statistics--runs saved. First base? Last is Ryan Howard
(with a score of -9); tops is Mark Trumbo (+7).

4. Baserunning statistics (such as how successful going from first to third, and so on).

Many other statistics are produced as well, but it becomes tedious to simply list them.

A couple other items: Leading prospects for the Hall of Fame, by year of birth--from 1966 to 1990. Then, performance predictions for 2012. I always enjoy checking out a player/s performance with the projected performance. Overall, I think the James crew does pretty well. But there are always some serious missed projections. Finally, the odds of current players hitting major milestones. For instance, 3000 career hits. Alex Rodriguez, according to James, has a 94% chance of making it; Johnny Damon an 86% chance. Odds of setting the major league home run record? Albert Pujols has a 20% chance--and he is the top candidate. Finally, 300 wins: Roy Halladay has a 49% chance, CC Sabathia a 48% chance, and so on.

As usual, lots of fun. Well worth looking at if one is interested in baseball statistics.
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on December 20, 2011
The Bill James Handbook is the essential research tool for my Strato-Matic draft in February. The November release date gives me plenty of time to strategize while still dealing with the crazy holidays. My favorite part of the book has to be the Hall of Fame and Milestones watch. Not really applicable to my draft but just fun.
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on January 1, 2012
I have purchased the Bill James Handbook every year since it was originally published. This book is the best! It has all the statistics of every player who played even one game last season and the best part is that it is available in early December every year! Then there are other statistics such as righty-lefty for the batters last year, manager statistics, player projections and more! I buy the Bill James Handbook and give them as Christmas gifts to my baseball fan friends! I am a buyer of the Handbook as long as it is going to be published!
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VINE VOICEon January 25, 2012
As a baseball fan, this is one of those titles that I look forward to every year to get me through the winter. With no spring training yet, and with titles like the Baseball America Prospect Handbook and Baseball Prospectus not yet published, this is a great book for any student/fan of the game. Every year seems to bring new additions (eg. baserunning effectiveness) that only give us more to think about.

The only complaint I ever hear about this title is the lack of analysis, but I'm okay with that. As a fan I like coming up with my own thoughts, and soon enough we'll have other books telling us how our players will perform in 2012 and further into the future. This is an essential winter title, and I should also add that it's a very nice recovery from what I thought was one of his weaker efforts (Solid Fool's Gold) last year. Highly recommended for all baseball fans.
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on December 31, 2011
This is still the most conprehensive and best compendium of the just-completed baseball season. If you're interested in who did what and why (and, BTW, how to pronounce their name) then this is still the book you need to buy. This book works equally well for fantasy/simulation league players and MLB fans. And all the stat formulas are clearly defined. Of course, if you're not interested in stats or stat formulas then you probably aren't a baseball fan and probably shouldn't be buying this book OR reading this review.
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on August 29, 2013
I recently started watching MLB again, after a 35 year hiatus, and found this. Fearful of the stats, unlearned and unwashed, I bought this in 2013 when it was kind of worthless (and really cheap) to see what it was like. Well, the game has sure changed. The series, as I know now, has no peer and I'll be buying the 2014 edition in a few short months.
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on December 12, 2011
I, like many other baseball fanatics, am a statistics junkie! As soon as that final pitch is thrown and that final regular-season out is recorded I MUST have the final season stats! And the Bill James Handbook fills that requirement for me year after year! My collection continues to grow as I have every Bill James Baseball Handbook dating back to 1997. If you play Sim-Baseball games based on 2011 season statistics, or if you simply have that "need to know" about every player that appeared during this past season, then the 2012 Bill James Handbook is for you! Combine this treasure trove of baseball stats with the Baseball Prospectus annual and you'll never need anything else! From a S-O-M player of 38 years.
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on December 7, 2011
The Bill James Handbook is a must have for any serious baseball fan or fantasy, computer simulation, or rotisserie player. Besides having complete career statistics for every active player and pitcher, the book also includes minor league statistics for rookies and second year players, park factors, advanced defensive ratings and evaluations, lefty-righty splits, managerial breakdowns, baserunning statistics and exclusive Bill James' projections for hitters and pitchers. There's even more in the book but you get the idea. Just an outstanding book filled with baseball "nuggets" on every page.
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