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Baseball Prospectus 2008: The Essential Guide to the 2008 Baseball Season Paperback – February 25, 2008
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"The best book overall for preparing for a rotisserie draft." John Hunt, fantasy baseball writer, BASEBALL WEEKLY --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.
From the Publisher
Baseball Prospectus 2001 is the one source for all the inside information and original analysis that every true baseball fan needs on all the players of today and tomorrow. Only Baseball Prospectus contains complete analyses of the top players in each organization from the stars all the way down to rookie ball, and does so with objective, intelligent commentary and irreverent humor. Baseball Prospectus gives you the final word on what the players did, why they did it and what they're going to do in the future. Baseball Prospectus 2001's special features include in-depth commentary on 1644 players; complete Davenport Translation information, including Peripheral ERA, and evaluations of players' secondary as well as their primary defensive position; Michael Wolverton's starting and relief pitcher performance tools and Rany Jazayerli's new and improved Pitcher Abuse Points analysis; forecasts of hitter performance using Clay Davenport's exclusive "Wilton" forecasting system; Keith Woolner's pitcher abuse research; Clay Davenport's research on park factors; this year's Top 40 Minor League Prospects, and more. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.
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Top Customer Reviews
This book is one of those compendia that come out each year, providing information on major league baseball players. This has a sabermetric element to it, so those who love statistics will enjoy this work.
There are some nice features, including a listing of the top 100 prospects this season, how base running turns into runs, projected leaders in a variety of categories (e.g., they project Ryan Howard to lead in home runs with 44, Albert Pujols to lead in batting average with .327, Jose Reyes to lead in stolen bases with 60, etc.).
Those projections are based on a technique called PECOTA, in which players are equated with many other players--past and present--with similar characteristics. Then, that data base is used to project how well the particular contemporary player is likely to do this year. As an example, let's take a look at one team, the White Sox. Many of the Sox' key players are aging, and projections suggest declining performance among such stalwarts as Jim Thome and A. J. Pierzynski. Paul Konerko and Jermaine Dye, on the other hand, are projected to perform in similar fashion to 2007. By the way, one of the nice features is that each player is compared to those whose career statistics define PECOTA. For instance, comparables to Joe Crede include Dave Roberts, Kevin Orie, Tim Wallach, and Tim Hulett. Just looking at comparables is fun! Jermaine Dye is equated with Dave Henderson, Joe Adcock, Jose Canseco, and Juan Gonzalez. Pretty good company (at least for statistics). Paul Konerko is compared with Kevin Millar, Gil Hodges, Jeff Conine, and Eric Karros. The mainstay of the pitching staff, Mark Buehrle, is linked to Ken Holtzman (the old Cubbie!), Greg Swindell, Jim Abbott, and Curt Simmons.
Enough comparisons. Another statistic is called VORP, value over replacement player. This statistic is created by assuming that a particular player would be removed from the lineup and replaced by someone of proven quality (the details are too lengthy to be presented in a line or two). The resulting figures are then used to estimate players who will rise and who will decline this coming year. White Sox fans might want to shiver a bit. Mark Buehrle is one of the projected 15 players who will decline the most.
A couple other figures to illustrate what the book provides. Jim Thome is expected to see his home run total decline from 35 to 29 and his RBIs from 96 to 79. If you're curious, by the way, his comparator players include Frank Thomas, Willie McCovey, Darrell Evans, and Cliff Johnson--some pretty good company!
Anyhow, this is a book that will be a lot of fun for baseball fans. It's a good way to start preparing for the new baseball season!
But the writing has taken a distinct turn toward the serious. The essays and player profiles are still chock full of relevant numbers and piercingly well-considered arguments, but this year they are also somewhat...I really don't want to say it...tedious.
What was once a light-hearted romp through some serious baseball thinking is now rather dense and dry. I'll buy again next year, but I hope somebody sends them a keg of Lighten-Up.
I do wish they'd start adding a little more to the book than they already do though. For instance this year they had a pretty decent write ups on fielder's arm values and pitcher counts. It'd be awesome if they'd throw in more than a few extra pages at the end of the book for stuff like this.
That being said it's a good book to have fun with while we wait for spring training to wrap up and the real thing to begin. Just don't be THAT guy that decides to quote PECOTA projections as his only legitimate baseball argument.