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Baseball Prospectus: 2002 Edition Paperback – February, 2002
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"For how we view baseball players today, Baseball Prospectus is a breath of fresh air." -- J. P. Ricciardi, General Manager, Toronto Blue Jays
"The standard by which all scouting guides should be measured." -- Billy Beane, General Manager, Oakland Athletics --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.
About the Author
Joseph Sheehan, Chris Kahrl, and Clay Davenport are among the leaders in the discipline of sabermetrics - the analysis of baseball statistics.
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Top customer reviews
For those of you who don't know BP, it started out as a small publication doing annual analysis of baseball. Over the last decade or so, its popularity has rocketed, providing a better annual every year and a popular baseball websites (baseballprospectus.com). Each year, the annual contains an essay on each team, several essays on baseball topics in general, analysis of and performance projections for every major league player and every prospect and a top 50 prospects list.
I was concerned about BP2003. Some of the staff have changed, a number of new tools are introduced and the website has become the primary focal point of their publication. I needn't have worried. BP2003 is the usual grand mix of irreverance, hard-hitting analysis and forecasting that we've come to expect. The new PECOTA system not only projects future performance but contains probabilites that a player will have a breakout year or collapse completely.
BP is the first book I grab off the shelf when I see a player for the first time or want to analyze a trade or read about some cool prospect. It's definitely worth buying.
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. ...
There are general team comments which tend to focus on personal, economic and historical issues. Then come the player comments --the book is organized by league and team then by player dividing hitters from pitchers. It doesn't just write about players in the majors or top rookies, its breath of players is impressive and reason enough to buy it -- from the deep minors on up.
The writing is interesting, usually insiteful; although sometimes they try to get too funny (usually about a player who's perfomance needs more analysis than humor). Still that's a minor quible.
Would I use it for a fantasy baseball draft, yes (I do); although its probably more valuable in season as teams start adding players you've never heard of (the Prospectus has, don't worry).
Would I read it if I weren't in a Fantasy Baseball league -- yes without a doubt. In fact, I would say the book is geared to discussing baseball as a sport more than assessing fantasy value.
There are hours of reading here.
One word of warning -- the stats listed in the book are NOT the actual stats, but rather translations to a "normal" league environment (they list the past 4 stat lines). This translation makes it easier to compare a player's A Ball performance with another's AAA and another's Major league stats, but it can cause some confusion on the first read.
If you are looking for Fantasy Baseball books, also take a look at Shandler's Baseball Forcaster, which is probably better for draft preparation. Still, if I was buying only one baseball book, The Baseball Prospectus would be it.