Saturday, February 25, 2012

Quick Review of Baseball Prospectus Annual

I received my copy of Baseball Prospectus 2012 this week and have already spent several hours reading it.  There are a lot of new writers this year, but it's the same quality product.  The format is the same as past years.  It's starts out with a short chapter explaining the statistics which are used in the book.  Then it jumps into team by team analysis including profiles on virtually every player who might possibly play in the majors this year or in the near future. 

As always, the annual is the best of its kind.  I plan to read every profile before the season gets under way and will read many of them again throughout the season.  It's a very handy reference if you're in a deep fantasy league requiring you to know something about relatively obscure players.  It's not just for fantasy baseball leagues though.  It's a handy book to have nearby as you follow the season as an informed fan.

There is a statistical summary for each player which is less cluttered and easier to read than some past years.  It's actually in the same format as the 2011 book if you got that one.  The so called "deadly accurate" statistical projections are still there, but the best parts of the annual are the written profiles for each player.  They go beyond the PECOTA forecasts and try to tell you things about the players which you may not see in the numbers.  They also seem more willing than ever before to tell you which players they think might exceed or fall short of the projections.

There was a time when I felt some of the writing of Baseball Prospectus would get a little too cute with snarky remarks and pop culture references, but that is no longer the case.  I believe the 2012 book is more professional and positively toned than it ever has been, yet still clever.  It is the number one baseball preview book you need to get ready for the season.

Now a few teasers from the book regarding the Tigers:
  • Nick Castellanos: "No one doubted he would hit, but Castellanos showed improved patience as the season went along and enough power potential in his swing to profile as a future middle-of the-order force."
  • Austin Jackson: "He is unlikely to develop the on-base skills he'll need to remain in the lead-off spot, but might well develop more home run pop."
  • Rick Porcello: "Few still see him as a future ace, but Porcello suddenly seems undervalued.  He may yet brew up the swing and miss elixir that vaults him to the upper ranks of AL hurlers."
  • Delmon Young: "While some hold out hope that his power will grow and enough safeties will fall in to keep his OBP above water, you can color us skeptical."
Of course, we like to think we know as much about the Tigers as Baseball Prospectus writers and we probably do, but I still respect their opinions a lot.  What I really find useful though is their profiles of players on other teams which I don't follow so closely.  I always learn a lot about players in reading this annual book. 

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