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on November 8, 2012
I have every copy of the Bill James Handbook that has ever been printed for over 20 years. Each year they expand the coverage of statistics. Want to know about managers? Want to see projections? Want to see by ballpark? It's all here. Then, since the beginning, they publish the book by the Holidays. If you have a baseball fan, especially a stat person, this is a great Christmas gift! If you don't get this book for Christmas, you should put in your order with Amazon the day after Christmas. Personally, I can't wait, so I have pre-ordered this book for years! Bill James is the best Sabermetrician I've ever known. The Bill James Handbook is the single best stat book in print. It may not be the only stat book you'll buy this year, but if you only buy one, this is the book you need.
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Another in a long line of Bill James' handbooks. Publication of each volume tells us that a new baseball season is coming. And the statistics included in this volume always provide focus for the upcoming season.

One of the features that I especially like is the estimates of the most likely players to enter the Hall of Fame or to break key records. Hall of Fame? A scoring system is developed, with a score of 100 or more meaning that the player has a good chance of entering the Hall. Who are the 100-pointers? Trevor Hoffman, Mariano Rivera, Ken Griffey, Jr., Ivan Rodriguez, Chipper Jones, Manny Ramirez, Ichiro Suzuki, Derek Jeter, Alex Rodriguez, Vlad Guerrero, and Albert Pujols. Will all of these make it? Most will, but we shall see. . .

Any likely 300 game winners? Not looking so good. Justin Verlander has a 37% chance and CC Sabathia a 36% chance. A lot less than 50-50 for the best bets. Are the days of 300 win pitchers done? What about the all time home run record? A-Rod's chances went from fairly good to less than 1% over the past few years. Injuries have taken a toll on him. Top shot? Pujols at a low 10% chance.

Hitter and pitcher projections for performance are also cool to consider (because one can check out the projections after the 2013 season is over). I'm a Chicago White Sox fan, so let's take a look at a couple of their players. Adam Dunn? 33 homers and a wretched .207 batting average. Is Paul Konerko going to begin a decline? His projection--30 home rune, 92 RBIs, and a .281 average. Not too shabby. Pitchers? I am intrigued by the potential of Chris Sale. His won loss prediction--14-8. ERA? 3.09. 214 strikeouts in 198 innings pitched. Let's see how well these pan out.

Another fine volume!
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I love getting each year's Bill James Handbook. If you are a figure filbert and like baseball statistics, this volume is likely to interest you. It provides an analysis of baseball player's performance in the 2011 season.

There are several excellent features herein:

1. Ratings of fielders (The Fielding Bible Awards). Albert Pujols is the winner at first and Troy
Tulowitzki at shortstop, to give a couple examples.

2. In some ways, the next section is critical. The individual records of all those playing in
2011. This gives a fine basis for seeing how each player did. I am a Chicago White Sox fan, and
am interested in performances by those playing for the Chisox. Example: Pitcher Gavin Floyd. He
has been in double figures in wins the past four years; his ERA (for the times) is okay (from
3.84 to 4.37).

3. Fielding Statistics. One intriguing statistics--runs saved. First base? Last is Ryan Howard
(with a score of -9); tops is Mark Trumbo (+7).

4. Baserunning statistics (such as how successful going from first to third, and so on).

Many other statistics are produced as well, but it becomes tedious to simply list them.

A couple other items: Leading prospects for the Hall of Fame, by year of birth--from 1966 to 1990. Then, performance predictions for 2012. I always enjoy checking out a player/s performance with the projected performance. Overall, I think the James crew does pretty well. But there are always some serious missed projections. Finally, the odds of current players hitting major milestones. For instance, 3000 career hits. Alex Rodriguez, according to James, has a 94% chance of making it; Johnny Damon an 86% chance. Odds of setting the major league home run record? Albert Pujols has a 20% chance--and he is the top candidate. Finally, 300 wins: Roy Halladay has a 49% chance, CC Sabathia a 48% chance, and so on.

As usual, lots of fun. Well worth looking at if one is interested in baseball statistics.
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on January 1, 2012
I have purchased the Bill James Handbook every year since it was originally published. This book is the best! It has all the statistics of every player who played even one game last season and the best part is that it is available in early December every year! Then there are other statistics such as righty-lefty for the batters last year, manager statistics, player projections and more! I buy the Bill James Handbook and give them as Christmas gifts to my baseball fan friends! I am a buyer of the Handbook as long as it is going to be published!
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on February 17, 2013
Bill James and his co-writers continue to expand our understanding of the game using expert analysis which levels the playing field, literally! I especially look forward to the analysis of future Hall of Fame chances for existing players. (If only HOF selection were based solely on the player stats.) James punts when it comes to understanding how or if the sport writers charged with navigating the selection process will ever balance various PED accusations with those stats, which is a shame. It would also be more interesting to include the rankings for recently retired players and those already on the ballot against the chances of those still playing. Obviously it is a big rush for them to get the book out by the end of November so shortly after the season has ended, and Bill James is obviously being pulled in multiple directions with his main endeavor continuing to be his full-time employment with the Red Sox, and it shows. While the book leaves me wishing they put a little more time and effort as well as depth in the commentary sections, it is still a must-have for stats starved baseball fans.
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on February 5, 2013
I have read a lot of baseball stats books since the middle 50's, but the Bill James Handbook stands alone, when compared to all the others. Where else is a baseball stats hound going to find out that Darwin Barney only saved one run defensively in 2011, but led all major league second baseman in defensive saved games in 2012 with 28 defensive saves. Robinson Cano had only 15 to finish second in the majors. There were some hits and misses in the projected batting stats for players in 2012, with some predictions dead on and others, which were way off the mark. The projections still make it interesting, to see how well Bill James does with his predictions. I am not far into the book, but can tell already that this book is in a league of its own.

Andrew Godfrey
DeRidder, Louisiana
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on January 23, 2013
If you are a baseball stats nut like me, you will absolutely LOVE this book! I especially love the hitters and pitchers projections for 2013-fun stuff! But the best part about this book? Man, it comes out like one week after the world series! I was in heaven when I discovered that. I used to buy the good ol' Who's Who in Baseball which gave me the lifetime stats of all active players and it sucked that I had to wait and wasit and wait until Feb. or in some cases March to get it. I was chomping at the bit. Then I discovered this book a few years back and now I am addicted and Who's Who is a thing of the past. Do yourself a favor...if you love baseball stats, this is for you and if you can't wait until Feb/March, grab it right after the WS ends!
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on January 11, 2013
i'm telling you this book has made me so smart. you want to know how mike trout is going to do in 2013? this is the right book for you. ron shandler and bill james forever. i am in a fantasy keeper league, and because of this book i can put a value on every player i own. the crazy thing is that most of the predictions of players stats in this book are very close to reality. check the 2012 stats and book. it has been an invaluable asset. i came in second in both my leagues. in the money but not on top. Maybe i'd do better if i didn't draft guys like miguel sano, but he will get to the bigs and once he does--boom. and Bill James will tell you the year before it happens.
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on February 2, 2013
As everyone noted the book is full of every stat - relevant to arcane - that anyone could ever want and more than most will ever need. If you've never seen one in person I suggest you find a copy to look at before you buy it because parts of it can be excruciatingly difficult to read. I wish I had looked for a spiral bound copy but that's the past. I do wear glasses but I have no trouble reading fine print on web pages or other stats books like Baseball Prospectus Prospect Handbook. This book however really should be offered in digital format to make it easier to read.
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on December 31, 2011
This is still the most conprehensive and best compendium of the just-completed baseball season. If you're interested in who did what and why (and, BTW, how to pronounce their name) then this is still the book you need to buy. This book works equally well for fantasy/simulation league players and MLB fans. And all the stat formulas are clearly defined. Of course, if you're not interested in stats or stat formulas then you probably aren't a baseball fan and probably shouldn't be buying this book OR reading this review.
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