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Baseball Prospectus 2006: The BP Team of Experts on Baseball Talent Paperback – March 7, 2006
"Children of Blood and Bone"
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Described as "the fantasy baseball bible," this annual publication offers preseason analysis of 30 teams and more than 1,600 players plus essays on the top 50 prospects, the true costs of injuries, and more. Prediction for the 2005 World Series-winning Chicago White Sox: "They'll be right back in the thick of it." You have to love statistics to make it through these pages, but what serious baseball fan doesn't? Mary Ellen Quinn
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“Fearless heir... [to Bill James’s Baseball Abstract]. This book swings so hard for the fences that even its whiffs are interesting.”
— Esquire magazine, in naming Baseball Prospectus 2005 one of the six best books of the year (Esquire )
“Perhaps the game’s most accurate prediction model”
—Sports Illustrated (Sports Illustrated )
“The überforecast of every player’s performance”
—Alan Schwarz, the New York Times (The New York Times )
Fearless heir... [to Bill Jamess Baseball Abstract]. This book swings so hard for the fences that even its whiffs are interesting. Esquire magazine, in naming Baseball Prospectus 2005 one of the six best books of the year
Perhaps the games most accurate prediction model Sports Illustrated
The berforecast of every players performance Alan Schwarz, the New York Times --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Author interviews, book reviews, editors picks, and more. Read it now
Top customer reviews
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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.
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.
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.
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.