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December 23, 2010

Baseball Prospectus Book News

Baseball Prospectus 2011 is an Elf-Free Product!

by Steven Goldman

I don't want to detract from anyone's faith in Santa Claus, but I know of one item that is not manufactured by elves. The Baseball Prospectus annual is elf-free, and I know that for a fact because I'm the guy who gets to watch it being built, stat by stat, metaphor by metaphor, and page by page. Then again, Kevin Goldstein might be an elf. I mean, he says he's not, but what proof has he really offered? As for Marc Normandin, I have a hard time believing he's not an elf myself--he's always hanging out in a tree, offering cookies to passersby.

But enough wacky conspiracy theories. While the elves have been making toys, Kevin, Marc, Stephani Bee, Tommy Bennett, Ken Funck, Christina Kahrl, Jay Jaffe, Ben Lindbergh, Jason Parks, John Perrotto, Eric Seidman, Matt Swartz, Colin Wyers, and myself have been making a baseball book. The 16th edition of the BP annual is now available for preorder. We've got a cover and everything:

You will note that no elves are pictured on the cover. For more info on the book, including links to your favorite bookseller, links to our upcoming posts, and a place for your questions and comments on our latest opus, check out the Baseball Prospectus 2011 home page. As I write these words, that cover is only about 60 percent filled--we just passed Oakland and are flying through Philadelphia and into Pittsburgh, dusting each with PECOTAs. We're working in Joe Posnanski's intro, Kevin's traffic-stopping top 101 prospects, Jay's update on JAWS, and more player comments than ever before. No elf comments, I'm afraid. Maybe next year. It's actually a good thing that elves don't work on this product--it's too heavy for them to lift and Santa couldn't afford the insurance. That's not to say that they won't happily act as middle men if you pre-order one as a Christmas gift--y'know, with a card: "Dear Eddie Wade: The BP guys are still working this up for you, but it will be here when pitchers and catchers report. Try not to mess up too much before then. Love, Aunt Ernie."  (Click here for our gift note generator if you want some help with your own pre-order gifting presentation.)

I'll have more as we get closer to finishing up. About two-three weeks to go, I figure, so tell your local GM to get a move-on so we can squeeze in the latest moves before we finish up for another year. Now, please excuse me: I'm going to see Normandin about getting some kind of frosted butter-thing up here.

Steven Goldman is an author of Baseball Prospectus. 
Click here to see Steven's other articles. You can contact Steven by clicking here

16 comments have been left for this article. (Click to hide comments)

BP Comment Quick Links


"There's a good chance [Aubrey Huff will] return to being a .260-.270 EqA guy, but when you're limited to DH, that's worth essentially nothing. The Giants signed him to play first base, continuing a recent tradition of sub-par offense at the position."

Thank you for your prescient prediction of a "major comeback"

Dec 24, 2010 02:11 AM
rating: -3
BP staff member Rob McQuown
BP staff

This raises a good point as to what a "successful" projection is.

Huff's 2009 stats: .241/.310/.384 (~.237 TAv @ age 32)

Here are BP and some other fairly well-known free projections for Aubrey Huff entering 2010:

BP: .278/.341/.461 [weighted means from site] (.278 TAv)

baseballprojection.com: .267/.332/.437
ZiPS: .260/.323/.431
Bill James Handbook: .267/.334/.445

Dec 24, 2010 08:38 AM
Cory Schwartz

Great essay on the value of and evaluation of projections: http://www.baseballhq.com/books/myths.shtml

Jan 03, 2011 11:08 AM
rating: 0
BP staff member Steven Goldman
BP staff

Keep in mind, we do not write the cover copy. We look at it, but very briefly, because we're too busy trying to actually get the contents of this year's book right. If the publisher came to me and said, "Last year you predicted that Albert Pujols would be revealed as a giant bag of sentient peanut butter," I would probably say, a little sleepily, "We did? Cool" and move on to the next thing that I'm editing.

You will find that with most books, the author is responsible for what goes between the covers and the publisher has final say as to what the dress looks like. This is why MIND GAME went from a cool sabermetric take-off on a phrenologist's model to a picture of Rodin's "Thinker" on an avocado-green background, along with a title font that was lifted from MAD magazine. It wasn't what I approved, but someone with the publisher had a last-minute brainstorm that that was what the book should look like.

Dec 24, 2010 16:30 PM

Some people take predictions so hard! I can't wait to read the annual. It's my favorite book of the winter.

Dec 24, 2010 12:33 PM
rating: 0
Matt Kory

No Elves? That's the problem with BP these days. I'm not renewing my subscription!

Dec 24, 2010 14:23 PM
rating: 7
BP staff member Steven Goldman
BP staff

We tried to get Dobby from the Harry Potter books, but Rowling's people are impossible to deal with.

Dec 24, 2010 16:32 PM

Spoiler alert... Doby dies.

Dec 27, 2010 06:43 AM
rating: 0
BP staff member Ken Funck
BP staff

Eric often wears a pair of green shoes that curl up at the end, and Colin has a 1-in-6 chance of noticing a secret door merely by walking past it. Oh, and from the months of October through January, Steven has a 90% resistance to "sleep" spells. So maybe we're not quite as elf-free as you think.

Dec 26, 2010 07:59 AM
Richard Bergstrom

The previous comment was courtesy of Ken Funck, multitasking 8/6/5/9 level human Bard.

Dec 28, 2010 19:29 PM
rating: 0

Coincidentally .... I just received a gently-used copy of BP1997. Its interesting to see how far the book has come (not that it wasn't good then, but ...)

Dec 24, 2010 18:52 PM
rating: 0
BP staff member Steven Goldman
BP staff

Christina and I spent the last five years encouraging a level of verbosity undreamed of in the early days. We both agreed from the beginning of our partnership that this book not only had to succeed in its most basic functions, but had to go beyond that to be something that you could read and get enjoyment from, not just refer to.

Dec 24, 2010 21:14 PM

Kind of like the new breed of animated movies? Not just for the young-at-heart, who like seeing the drama being played out by animated figures/like reading about baseball, but for the adult-minded, as well, wanting something sophisticated. Anyway, it works.

Dec 25, 2010 04:47 AM
rating: 0
Richard Bergstrom

Kudos on getting Joe Posnanski to do the intro.

Dec 25, 2010 01:30 AM
rating: 1

Will there be a kindle or ibook edition? I love the prospectus but it is so big and not commuter friendly. This would be great to read on my ipad. Thanks!

Dec 26, 2010 12:35 PM
rating: 0
BP staff member Steven Goldman
BP staff

This highly-requested advance is still something we're working on. However, the publisher is working on an iPhone app that answer at least a portion of your needs. More info on this as I have it--that part really IS being done by elves, elves that look like Wayne Knight in "Jurassic Park."

Dec 26, 2010 15:31 PM
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