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February 12, 2011

Baseball Prospectus Book News

Your First Look at BP2011

by Jay Jaffe

We're a little over a week away from our official Amazon ship date, but I'm holding a bona fide copy of Baseball Prospectus 2011 which was overnighted from our publisher (Wiley). The express purpose of this express shipment is that I'm going to be making a television appearance this weekend. I’ll be a guest on the Fox Sports Extra show — that’s channel 5 and 705 (WNYW) here in New York City, at least on Time Warner Cable — on Sunday night at 10:30 PM Eastern, talking about the Yankees and Mets with host Duke Castiglione. This will be the third time I’ve been the guest on Duke's show, and while my appearances have been brief, it’s an honor to get any kind of air time in a major market, not to mention a whole lot of fun. It's also great exposure for our annual book, which will be making its way to you shortly.

First off, I can confirm that the 16th edition of our annual contains a chapter on the St. Louis Cardinals, something that was true of only 14 of our previous 15 editions. It's also got chapters devoted to the other 29 teams, as well as most of the stuff Steven Goldman promised you back in December, including a foreword by the fabulous Joe Posnanski. Alas, the one thing I'm aware of that's missing is the promised JAWS-related content, something which owed to the enormity of Colin Wyers' task as the book's statistical guardian. For more info, including where to order this online, please see our BP2011 page.

Two things you'll notice once you get this book into your hot little hands. First, it consists of fewer pages than our previous books, 584 where last year's was 652, and second, the player comment pages have undergone a facelift. Those two developments go hand in hand. Because we decided to pare down the array of statistics we provide in the book — there's no VORP in here, for one thing — I suggested to Steve that we seize this opportunity to tighten up the presentation. You can get a rough idea from these iPhone photos:

The biographical data which was loosely strewn around each player's stats has now been corralled into the gray boxes to the left of those stats, and the type size on all of the text has been decreased a bit. The result is that we're able to provide more commentary on each player than ever before, yet do so on the same number of players (more than 1,600, as the book cover promises) in less space. For example, on the two spreads above, both of Yankee hitters who fall in the first half of the alphabet (Robinson Cano, Francisco Cervelli, et al.) we've got 59 lines of commentary this year, where we had 45 lines last year, with more words per line as well.

Yes, I'm afraid it's true. Moreso than CC Sabathia, Pablo Sandoval, or this humble wordsmith, the Baseball Prospectus annual is in the best shape of its life. If you're in the New York area, tune in on Sunday to see for yourself.

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

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

BP Comment Quick Links

thebigfella.us

Ummm- just a question, no VORP in the book, and no VORP in the spreadsheet? Will VORP be in the player cards still?

Feb 12, 2011 13:15 PM
rating: 3
 
BP staff member Jay Jaffe
BP staff

I'll let Colin elaborate when he gets a chance, but quoting from his stats intro in the book:

"Note that here we diverge from past volumes of the BP annual and have left out VORP, or Value Over Replacement Player, altogether. This doesn't mean that we have discarded the underpinnings of VORP; we simply determined that it wasn't necessary to have two ways of measuring the same player's contributions relative to replacement."

Feb 12, 2011 14:12 PM
 
fgreenagel2

VORP is great. Disappointed that it is not in there.

Feb 12, 2011 17:04 PM
rating: 0
 
BP staff member Steven Goldman
BP staff

VORP is still HERE, and will continue to be. But we had a decision to make in terms of presenting an ever-larger book, or cutting our player commentary down, or excising a couple of stats columns that are freely available on the net in a way that wasn't true when the book started back in 1996. It was an easy decision.

Feb 12, 2011 18:09 PM
 
thebigfella.us

Will VORP for 2011 projections be available somewhere? As a fantasy player, I like the range of difference in VORP projections...in 2010 the top VORP was Albert's 81.8, while #30 was David Ortiz with 43.7. That's a clear separation. WARP-1 was Albert Pujols again at 8.2. #30 was Chase Utley at 4.9. Warp has 13 or so players that are less than 1 whole point different from each other.

Feb 12, 2011 20:07 PM
rating: 1
 
BP staff member Jay Jaffe
BP staff

You do realize that with a conversion rate of approximately 10 runs to one win that you're talking about a spread from 1 to 30 of 3.8 wins for VORP, and 3.3 wins for WARP, right?

Feb 13, 2011 14:06 PM
 
thebigfella.us

I do - it's just the glance at or quick add to a spreadsheet that I had apparently been misguided in getting used to with the VORP view. When agonizing over a draft pick I guess I like to make myself feel better by using the 16.1 gap in VORP from Ryan Braun to Andres Torres instead of the 1.4 in WARP. It's a scale thing and we'll adjust to the view I'm sure...

Feb 13, 2011 21:46 PM
rating: 2
 
BP staff member Jay Jaffe
BP staff

Also, from deep within the discussion thread of Emma Span's controversial debut, we have the first word of a customer being notified that their copy of BP2011 has shipped from Amazon:

http://www.baseballprospectus.com/article.php?type=2&articleid=12920#76799

Feb 12, 2011 14:16 PM
 
garethbluejays2

Im afraid my notification from amazon was that it would be later than originally notified. But then, I do live Newcastle, UK.

Feb 12, 2011 14:30 PM
rating: 0
 
BP staff member Steven Goldman
BP staff

The book is already out of the warehouses, off of the trucks, and should be shipping from Amazon/in B&N stores this week.

Feb 12, 2011 14:33 PM
 
Wharton93

lots of pages...lots of dead trees...any plans to get on ibooks/kindle?

Feb 12, 2011 16:02 PM
rating: 2
 
BP staff member Steven Goldman
BP staff

We have a BP 2011 app coming from the publisher, where you can purchase aspects of the book, but not everything. I will have a post up about that tomorrow. The Kindle/iBook issue remains one of all the numbers translating correctly to that form, and what I have repeatedly been told is that it's not technically feasible right now. This is not our call, but a limitation of the technology.

Feb 12, 2011 18:11 PM
 
plunk1979

Dead trees? Sure they are but you should know something about producing a book before gettin' all self righteous. The paper used was sourced from closely monitored, privately owned forests in America and Canada. It's not like this stuff is coming from some rainforest in Singapore, where little to no concerns for the environment are considered. Oh wait, that is how is your IPhone and Kindles and such are made.

Feb 13, 2011 09:44 AM
rating: 4
 
saigonsam

Singapore is a small island nation with an area roughly 3 times the size of Washington DC. Any rain forest there has been cut down a century ago.

Feb 13, 2011 18:40 PM
rating: 1
 
tbwhite
(361)

So, he's right, the paper is not coming from Singapore.

Feb 13, 2011 22:17 PM
rating: 1
 
saigonsam

true, but he was wrong about the environmental concerns of the Singapore govt. Singapore is rated the most environmentally friendly city is Asia.

and now back to our topic....

Feb 14, 2011 03:00 AM
rating: 0
 
Tynan

A number of studies have shown that the environmental impact of an e-reader over the course of its lifetime is significantly less than a proportional number of books (assuming an average rate of reading and incorporating transportation costs).

Here's one study:

http://cleantech.com/news/4867/cleantech-group-finds-positive-envi

Feb 14, 2011 11:59 AM
rating: 0
 
DGBL

Visually, it does look better.

Feb 12, 2011 18:54 PM
rating: 0
 
amazin_mess

Book looks great...and keep the book in its physical form, please. We have plenty of trees.

Feb 12, 2011 19:29 PM
rating: 3
 
mikebuetow

Agreed. Book publishers/printers are in the business of growing trees. I know this: I am one.

Feb 13, 2011 08:49 AM
rating: 0
 
David J Marsh

What year did the St. Louis Cardinals get left out, and how did that happen?

I want my book!

Feb 12, 2011 19:58 PM
rating: 0
 
BP staff member Steven Goldman
BP staff

First edition, 1996... I wasn't there, so I'm not sure. I believe Christina could tell you more.

Feb 12, 2011 23:56 PM
 
BP staff member Joe Sheehan
BP staff
(17)

First book, BP96. I simply forgot to print out the chapter in compiling the final copy for the printer (this was when you actually provided hard copy rather than e-files). Shipped 200 books, and didn't even notice until Gary Huckabay called me upon receiving his. ("It looks great, too bad about the Cardinals." "What?")

We made the chapter available as a PDF, I think.

While embarrassing, the mileage I've gotten out of telling the story has been worth it. (Similar to my jaywalking ticket as a USC freshman.) It helped that the error didn't bring down the franchise. Yet, anyway.

Feb 13, 2011 08:20 AM
 
fgreenagel2

You guys should do a VH1: Behind the Scenes style article about the 10 greatest BP screw-ups (not the spill) and the internal and external reaction to them. It would be a great read, funny and humble.

Feb 14, 2011 11:28 AM
rating: 3
 
TraderBob

So we're saying that the 96 BP annual is now a collector's item.

Dang - I had one of those, a PECOTA page that projected 56 home runs for Yuniesky Betancourt, and a Will Carroll rookie card... but my mom threw them away when she cleaned the basement.

Feb 15, 2011 12:41 PM
rating: 0
 
CRP13

I'm disappointed that some of the pages appear to be pink and some appear to be orange.

I will be cancelling my subscription over this all-important faux pas, then spend the rest of my life protesting the advertisement of books with multi-colored pages.

Feb 12, 2011 19:58 PM
rating: 7
 
myshkin

Are you sure you aren't just looking at the world through rose-colored glasses?

Feb 13, 2011 01:27 AM
rating: 3
 
David J Marsh

I think you should tell the Jaywalking story

Feb 13, 2011 18:32 PM
rating: 1
 
dREaDS Fan

Ok, so the Cardinals are in this year.

But did a player index make the cut this year? (Was it last year or two years ago there wasn't a player index?)

Feb 13, 2011 19:15 PM
rating: 0
 
BP staff member Steven Goldman
BP staff

Once in 16 editions there was not an index and it was not our call but one by our then-publisher, one akin to pinch-hitting for Willie Mays with an undersized gerbil. It has not/will not happen again.

Feb 13, 2011 21:39 PM
 
entpcat

First time PECOTA user. Looking at the PECOTA Weighted Means spreadsheet. Why are the projections so low this year - no pitcher over 15 wins, no hitter with more than 110 rbi, top BA of .317, etc? Is that normal, are you still projecting, or am I missing something?

Feb 14, 2011 11:28 AM
rating: 0
 
fgreenagel2

read up on Pecota. It is a very conservative forecasting system. The player comments in the annual address this with text like "this projection is low," or "barring injury and/or poor management, xxxx will get 500 abs and will blow this projection away."

Feb 14, 2011 11:30 AM
rating: 0
 
Ira

since someone mentioned the Pecotas... any reason why CJ Wilson is projected as a reliever? (90 IP, 44 games, 9 GS, 9 Saves?)

Feb 15, 2011 14:48 PM
rating: 0
 
BP staff member Matt Swartz
BP staff

This is a common question. If you asked the question of "how many pitchers will get more than 15 wins this season on average?", the answer is that probably 5-10 will. However, there is no individual pitcher with better than a 50/50 shot of topping 15 wins. The pitchers that win 20 games are basically always among the top pitchers in the games who were ALSO lucky with run support and health in a given season.

For example, batting average generally has a standard deviation of about 20 points for a given season, which means that if you get 10 guys who are supposed to be around .310, one of them is probably going to hit .335 or so because of luck alone even without improving their talent level.

Feb 14, 2011 12:11 PM
 
entpcat

Thanks...both fgreenagel2 and Matt Swartz. That helps. I'll do some more studying and get more familiar with it.

Wikipedia says this about PECOTA - "What separates Pecota from the gaggle of projection systems that outsiders have developed over many decades is how it recognizes, even flaunts, the uncertainty of predicting a player's skills. Rather than generate one line of expected statistics, Pecota presents seven – some optimistic, some pessimistic – each with its own confidence level. The system greatly resembles the forecasting of hurricane paths: players can go in many directions, so preparing for just one is foolish."

Can you provide any more info about the seven levels of expected statistics? Where can that be seen?

Feb 14, 2011 13:44 PM
rating: 0
 
BurrRutledge

That is part of the next issuance of the 2011 PECOTA that is coming out this week.

Feb 14, 2011 13:57 PM
rating: 0
 
zeeekz

Will this year's edition have an index?! That item vanished a believe two years ago, much to my personal consternation - only to happily re-appear in the subsequent edition. The prospectus is on my must buy list each spring and I keep the last three on the coffee table for in-season reference. By the way & for what it is worth, I would take VORP over WARP-1 any time. Might showing my lack of deeper appreciation of the stats.

Feb 14, 2011 13:47 PM
rating: -3
 
Matt Kory

You should read the whole thread before posting a question. Steven answered that very question just a few comments above yours.

Feb 14, 2011 17:03 PM
rating: 1
 
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Expanded Horizons: Puj... (02/11)
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