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Customer Review

10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Still the wittiest and most incisive commentary on baseball, April 3, 2003
This review is from: Baseball Prospectus: 2003 Edition (Paperback)
Baseball Prospectus was already the best annual publication on baseball for thinking baseball fans, and in 2003 it got better in several ways. First, in the past it only contained Clay Davenport's translated stats, but this year it includes both actual (or untranslated) stats and translated stats (batting avg, OBP, SLG, ERA). That's useful because you can compare the actual to translated stats to get a sense of where a player was helped or hurt by the competition and ballparks. Second, and perhaps most significantly, this version adds a new forecasting system from Nate Silver called PECOTA. This system compares a player to his most comparable historical peers in age, skills, and physical makeup and predicts the likelihood that his performance will improve, break out, or collapse. It's a unique predictive system that capitalizes on the fact that very few players are like a Barry Bonds, who overcome historical trends and forces to become statistical anomalies.
Some new contributors were brought on board this year to join an already excellent staff. Doug Pappas writes on the economic and labor situation of baseball better than anyone out there, and Will Carroll of the popular daily e-mail newsletter "Under the Knife" joins up to discuss player injuries. And lastly, the player coverage has increased this year to include even more minor league prospects.
Some of the book's best qualities remain. If you want a clear assessment of any team's current and future prospects and the quality of its management and farm system, absolutely read the introductions at the beginning of each team's chapter. They're brilliant. Secondly, the snippets on each player are as humorous as ever. The Baseball Prospectus writers enjoy flashing their wit. On Chad Bradford, the right handed Oakland A's reliever who is murder on righties: "In the future, as part of the Commissioner's strategy to speed up games, opposing right-handed batters will be permitted to simply throw a one-hopepr down to Eric Chavez rather than actually execute their plate appearance..." If anything, I wish they'd stay on topic in their player commentaries instead of straying to comment on random topics.
For me, it's not the best publication for your fantasy baseball draft because it doesn't include stats which are contextual rather than purely in the control of the player, such as runs or RBIs. Ron Shandler's Baseball Forecaster is better reference for that. Still, the commentary and PECOTA and projected 2003 stats are a very useful supplement and have helped me snatch some gems in my fantasy drafts. And the entire book is written so well I find myself leaving it on the coffee table all season just to revisit from time to time.
Don't take my word for it. Among those singing its praises are Rob Neyer, Billy Beane, J.J. Ricciardi, Peter Gammons, Jayson Stark, John Hunt, John Sickels, and anyone else who knows anything about baseball. ...
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Location: Santa Monica, CA USA

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