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Showing 1-10 of 19 reviews(Verified Purchases). See all 20 reviews
VINE VOICEon February 18, 2010
I'm giving it five stars, but my feelings are mixed. Given how much I look forward to it and how quickly I read it, and given I think it is the best guide out there to players and teams, five stars are merited. But, as always, I wish they took another couple of weeks and gave the book a thorough editing. Although I didn't find any errors as gross as last year's omission of the index, there is an unevenness in the writing that indicates that they are publishing what is essentially a first draft. For instance, consider this comment on Travis Ishikawa: "someone whose threat to right-handed pitching rated up there with a girlfriend's mom: inconvenient but unavoidable, so don't slip while she's in the room." I've read it four times and I have no idea what it means. Is he trying to say that Ishikawa (who bats left) does or doesn't hit right-handed pitchers well? If the book had an editor that sentence would never have made it to publication. Maybe the rush to publication has something to do with the timing of fantasy baseball drafts. Whatever the reason, year after year the Prospectus is less professional than it should be.

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.
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on December 20, 2015
Not much has changed in Prospectus Land. The smart guys that put this together every year still do an incredibly comprehensive job of surveying the baseball landscape. They've studied the game from all sorts of angles, and have strong opinions on just about all of it.

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.
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on January 27, 2015
I'm never buying Baseball Prospectus ever again. If I could give zero stars, I would.

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.
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on February 18, 2016
I like the analysis. One weak spot with Baseball Prospectus' for all years is that there is no evaluation of prior years' predictions. Each year should show the prior year's predictions for several stats (e.g., Total average, WARP, etc.) next to the actual for the year. Like many prognosticators (e.g., Paul Krugman for economics), there is no follow-up on how accurate their predictions turn out.
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Each year, I buy a Bill James book and this volume to prepare for the new major league season. Both provide a delicious array of statistics. This volume surely stands on its own, though.

The book is, for the largest part, an analysis of each major league team. One of the most intriguing statistics developed is PECOTA, the projected statistics for each position player and pitcher for the upcoming season. Lots of fun when a season is over the check out the predictions! Consider these predictions: Batting average leader--Ichiro Suzuki; Home run leader--Prince Fielder; RBIs--Prince Fielder; Pitcher wins--C. C. Sabathia; Pitching saves--Joakim Soria.

My second favorite team in baseball is the star-crossed Chicago Cubs. They are fated, according to projections, to finish 82-79, so--by this book's predictions--another year without a World Series championship. My favorite team is the Pale Hose, the Chicago White Sox. Dreary news. They are predicted to finish 80-82. Looks like we won't be having an "el" series.

Let's take a look at the White Sox in greater detail. The section begins with a three and a half page narrative. Then, the player by player record (the past three years of performance) and the estimate of the 2010 record. Gordon Beckham had a nice season in 2009--.271 batting average, 14 home runs, and 63 RBIs. For the coming year? PECOTA numbers: batting average=.273, 16 homers, and 69 RBIs. Another feature is an estimate at what will happen--12% of a breakout year, 42% chance of improvement, 1% chance of attrition, and 14% chance of a collapse in performance. Paul Konerko is aging. His PECOTA scores indicate continuing decline. 23 homeruns, .251 average, 72 RBIs. Long gone are the 30 homer and 100 RBI seasons that once characterized his productivity. Another key player is the relief ace with the bulging belly, Bobby Jenks.34 savers and a 3.50 ERA, a decline from a handful of years ago.

Just to provide another example. . . . The New York Yankees are projected to finish first in the American League East with a record of 101-61. Derek Jeter is projected to hit .286 with 11 home runs and 58 RBIs. 26% chance of a collapse and 37% chance of attrition. A-Rod? .276 average, 31 home runs, and 92 RBIs.

So, another fine volume. If I can, I will crab at the rather snide comments about Bill James, who, as another reviewer notes, helped create the market for books like this. That said, this is a must read for baseball's figure filberts.
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VINE VOICEon March 30, 2010
BP 2010 delivers the goods. Projections for every player based on the famed PECOTA scores; mini-essays on each player of relevance in the majors and most from the minors; mega-essays for each major league team that delve into the philosophy and player development programs of all the teams. Even, better, the list of the top-100 prospects in the game at the back of the book.

I read the entire book over the course of 3 weeks, as there is too much information to be absorbed from a fast reading. The book has been on the desk next to me during all of my fantasy baseball drafts, and when I need to go looking for upside in the late rounds, that prospect list is invaluable.

This year's version has far fewer typos than last year's!
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on March 11, 2011
... Especially if you're like me, a student on a budget. Last year's stats are readily available, so it's not so bad having those absent. The commentary is good and it's a great reference my dad doesn't mind making notes in since I only paid around $3. Between this book (I've gotten him the '09 and '10 books when they become dirt cheap) and ESPN's website, he always has teams that win, show, or place in their league. These books have also been a fantastic resource for my father to teach me about baseball history. :)
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on April 9, 2017
Excellent and informative as always.
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on October 4, 2013
At the end of the season, I checked their projections vs. the actual stats. I won't rebuy. I put way too much stock in this book/their projections on draft day and my team finished dead last. This year I relied on my own analyses, I had more fun doing the analyses all winter, and I finished 3rd (half a point behind 2nd).
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on December 30, 2014
great way to keep track of players
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