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Baseball Prospectus 2010 Paperback – February 1, 2010
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The bestselling annual baseball preview from the smartest analysts in the business
The essential guide to the 2010 baseball season is on deck now, and whether you're a fan or fantasy player-or both-you won't be properly informed without it. Baseball Prospectus 2010 brings together an elite group of analysts to provide the definitive look at the upcoming season in critical essays and commentary on the thirty teams, their managers, and more than sixty players and prospects from each team.
- Contains critical essays on each of the thirty teams and player comments for some sixty players for each of those teams
- Projects each players stats for the coming season using the groundbreaking PECOTA projection system, which has been called "perhaps the game's most accurate projection model" (Sports Illustrated)
- From Baseball Prospectus, America's leading provider of statistical analysis for baseball
Now in its fifteenth edition, this New York Times bestselling insider's guide remains hands down the most authoritative and entertaining book of its kind.
Top Ten Ways Your Friends Will Know You Haven't Read Baseball Prospectus 2010
From the Back Cover
New York Times Bestseller
Will his power come back when the Mets need it?
Do the Giants have a second Lincecum in the wings?
Will this year be the young catcher's year?
Can he be this awesome forever?
Which version will the Rays get this year?
The new Jason Bay, or the new Mike Jacobs?
Featuring Nate Silver's Deadly Accurate PECOTA
Projections for More Than 1,600 Players
"Baseball Prospectus has become the standard by which all scouting guides should be measured."
Billy Beane, General Manager, Oakland A's
The 2010 Edition of the New York Times bestselling guide
"THE BEST BOOK OF ITS KIND."Rob Neyer, espn.com
Now in its fifteenth edition, the Baseball Prospectus annual shows once again how it became the industry leader: the 2010 Edition includes brand-new stat categories, more controversial player predictions, and the kind of wise, witty baseball commentary that makes this phone-book-thick tome worth reading cover to cover.
Baseball Prospectus 2010 provides fantasy players and insiders alike with Nate Silver's uncannily prescient PECOTA projections, which Sports Illustrated has called "perhaps the game's most accurate projection model." Still, stats are just numbers if you don't see the larger context, and Baseball Prospectus brings together an elite team of analysts to provide the definitive look at all thirty teamstheir players, their prospects, and their managersto explain away flukes, hot streaks, injury-tainted numbers, park effects, and overrated prospects who won't be able to fool people in the Show like they have down on the farm.
Nearly every Major League team has sought the advice of current or former Prospectus writers, and readers of Baseball Prospectus 2010 will understand what all those fans have been raving about.
"Baseball Prospectus adds to our understanding of the game."Bob Costas
"Witty . . . savvy . . . a rich snapshot of where the game and its reference books are today and where they're going."Sports Illustrated
"Baseball Prospectus continues to raise the bar for innovative baseball analysis every year."Mark Shapiro, General Manager, Cleveland Indians
"If a general manager hasn't read Baseball Prospectus, he should be fired for incompetence."Michael Lewis, author of Moneyball
Baseball Prospectus 2009 correctly predicted:
- The collapse of 2008 stars Joe Saunders, Carlos Quentin, Daisuke Matsuzake, Ryan Ludwick, and Josh Hamilton.
- Breakout seasons from Max Scherzer, Colby Rasmus, Pablo Sandoval, and Andrew McCutchen.
- Major comebacks for Javier Vasquez, Troy Tulowitzki, Ryan Zimmerman, and Robinson Cano.
- That Toronto and Houston weren't as good as their records in 2008and that management would find out the hard way in 2009.
- That the Yankees' astonishing free-agent spreethe biggest off-season everwould be worth it this time around.
- That the Angels would get to the playoffs, but that's it. Again.
Visit www.baseballprospectus.com for year-round baseball coverage.
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One other beef: Steven Goldman contributes a preface celebrating the Prospectus's fifteenth year of publication. A significant milestone, I guess, so some horn tooting is in order. But for a group that is so hard on the people who run major league teams, some acknowledgement of the Prospectus's own fubars would have been nice: The year they published on really low-grade paper and the print was smeared, the year the adjusted ERAs were totally bollixed up, the year the data on comparables had no relation to the text discussion, last year's omission of an index, and so on. And then there's Goldman's evaluation of Bill James. Now I understand that many in the analyst community are tired of genuflecting before the altar of St. Bill. But Bill James created the business these guys are in. Before the Bill James Baseball Abstract there was no market for this kind of commentary. It wasn't that the market was small or underdeveloped, there simply was no market for this kind of commentary published by a major firm and sold at places like Barnes & Noble. James created that market. Here is everything Goldman has to say about James in his discussion of the pre-Prospectus world: "Bill James came out with a book once a year, but skipped 1989 and then experimented with various flawed formats before disappearing altogether after 1995." This is roughly the equivalent of summing up Babe Ruth's impact on baseball by saying: "Ruth hit a lot of home runs for awhile, but then he got old and fat, his production declined, and he retired." If you read the whole of Goldman's preface, he is claiming for the Prospectus the role that was actually played by James's Baseball Abstract.
Ok, no more carping. If you like baseball enough to be thinking of buying this book, then you should buy it. You won't find a more complete or entertaining evaluation of players and teams. The book could be better, but even as it is, it's the best out there.
The format remained more or less the same in 15 years. Each team receives about 20 pages, giving the book the look of a medium-sized city's phone book. Two or three pages is devoted to a overview of the particular team's fortunes. Since all sorts of uncredited writers do the work here, some previews are better than others. But the reader does get an idea about what went right or wrong in 2009, and what's ahead in 2010. For example, the Mariners made a strong commitment to defense in 2009 and made a huge jump forward, while the Orioles are finally showing signs of life due to a rebirth in their farm system.
Then it's on to the player descriptions. Every player of consequence has his stats (including some ones you might not know) from the past reviewed, followed by projections for 2010, and a paragraph on his past, present and future. The writing is sometimes laugh-out-loud funny, and at times breathtakingly honest. But where else will you read that a particular player might peak as a backup infielder if he's lucky, or that it may be time for him to start thinking about a new line of work?
As usual, there are plenty of numbers here, as the reader jumps into the land of VORP, WARP, BABIP and EqAVG. While they are explained in the front of the book, it's a little tough to follow the description unless you are very familiar with the authors' work (they have a Web site, baseballprospectus.com, as well). They even have some new ones this time around. But it doesn't really get in the way most of the time -- it's easy to skip over the parts that you don't understand. Me, I tend to glance at VORP. Anything in double digits is good, negative numbers are a sign of a ticket to Palookaville, and Albert Pujols had a rating of 92.6 last year -- so the stat is getting something right.
Some fantasy players pick up this book for the projections, but it's not really written with those fans in line. It's more of a reference book for following the season. I go through the book by reading the team descriptions and player charts of those who spent some time in the majors last year. Then it goes back on the shelf, ready to be pulled out for a televised game or when a trade involving my favorite teams is completed.
Bill James used to have the field to himself when it came to intelligent preseason analysis with his Abstracts of the 1980's. It took a while, but the Baseball Prospectus has come along and taken that direction in many new directions. If you are a serious fan of baseball, you should be reading "Baseball Prospectus." Heck, you probably have been for years.
In this book, they had the audacity to publicly recommend that GM Brian Sabean be fired from his job. Just before his teams won 3 of the next 5 World Championships. If that don't show how wacky their advice is, I don't know what is.
I mean, really, they thought that the Giants were in such bad shape that they openly asked for the team to fire the GM, not any of the teams that were really struggling during the prior decade who were really struggling, but a team that nearly made the playoffs in 2009 and had a nice core coming up or up already.
Too bad they don't just stick to analysis, which is generally good (I recommend their book, Baseball Between the Numbers), instead of trying to run a baseball team, which they clearly don't know how to do, if they missed so badly with the Giants. It was so obvious to me that I talked about the Giants being the Team of the 2010 Decade at various Giants watering holes in 2009. If they ever publicly admit that they made a horrendous mistake, and apologize to Sabean in one of the annuals, I could return to buying them, but for now, I'm happy with Bill James Handbook, Baseball Forecaster (very good for beginners to learn the basics of sabermetrics), and The Hardball Times Annual. I also like Baseball America's book on prospects.