Thursday, February 18, 2010

2010 Baseball Prospectus Handbook

It's here, it's really here!

A special thanks to the X-Parents for my belated Christmas present. The 2010 Baseball Prospectus Handbook has finally arrived at my humble abode.

For those of you unfamiliar with Baseball Prospectus, it is the Eric Clapton of the baseball statistical revolution (Bill James is Robert Johnson, creating the blues; Moneyball is Blues Boy King, making the blues mainstream; and Joe Morgan is Kid Rock, taking a dump all over the blues). They have molded it, advanced it, almost perfected it (although there are a lot of newer groups and writers out there like Tom Tango and FanGraphs who have taken statistics to a whole new level; think of them as Jack White and Stevie Ray Vaughan), and made it extremely entertaining and increasingly more palatable to new comers.

They have assembled an incredible ensemble cast of writers who specialize in prospects, injuries (Will Carroll is the absolute guru of baseball and basketball injuries), transactions (Christina Kahrl, a transsexual incidentally, covers everything from the big Cliff Lee/Roy Halladay trade to the September call-up of my old friend Adam Rosales), scouting, and, of course, the latest and greatest in statistical findings and analysis.

And for those skeptics out there, it is not all equations, pocket protectors, and mother's basements like the douche mainstream assumes. These writers are no different from you or I (although they are probably significantly smarter). They have families, get drunk, and have a good time. The fundamental difference between them and most of the baseball writers you are familiar with is that they are compelled, nay, driven, to look beyond commonly held baseball beliefs.

Not to turn this into a big scouting versus stats discussion, but the main difference between the Baseball Prospectus writers and their much better compensated print journalists is that they ask who, what, when, where, why, and how (supposedly what every journalist is taught on day one that most of them seem to forget; along with not making yourself the story, I'm looking at you Dan Shaughnessy).

The biggest misconception about people like the BP writers (with whom I would absolutely love to be associated with) is that they do not watch baseball; that all they do is look at spreadsheets and run computer progams and live in a fantasy world. That cannot be further from the truth. These people love baseball. They make their careers out of it. And I'm going to let you all in on a little secret: there is very little money in this pursuit of baseball bliss. So I ask you all, if these people, who are clearly smart enough to run wall street or Washington (check out BP alum Nate Silver's political blog, which was really the only place to correctly predict Obama's landslide win) don't absolutely love baseball, then why would they not pursue much more lucrative careers elsewhere?

Ok, sorry for the mini-rant. Back to the point. Baseball Prospectus produces a handbook every year. It contains in-depth analysis for every team and player in Major League Baseball, a huge (and growing) number of Minor League players, and a large handful of interesting essays. It is a must have for fantasy fanatics and "stat geeks".

So, since I'm sure none of you, save for maybe Toby O'Donnell, have this years edition, I plan to share with you their insight of the Red Sox 25 man roster all before opening day. In order to avoid accusations of plagiarism, I will just give you a small snapshot and include a little of my own analysis.

With a full time job, another very successful blog, and a wonderful girlfriend, I hope I am not biting off more than I can chew here. But I am gonna try my ass off to get it done, because I think those of you who actually read this blog (which I think is up to about 6 people now, a far cry from the 256 followers my other blog has on Facebook) will enjoy what BP and I have to say.

First up, hopefully Saturday, the controversial starting Left Fielder for the BoSox, Jacoby Ellsbury.

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