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Great resource to start a new season of Major League Baseball
, February 20, 2010
This review is from: Baseball Prospectus 2010 (Paperback)
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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