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February 23, 2011

Baseball Prospectus Book News

BP 2011 Has Shipped Out (and we go Ivy League at Princeton UPDATED)!

by Steven Goldman

If the big “We’re #4” sign on the left side of the home page yesterday wasn’t a big enough hint, Baseball Prospectus 2011 officially went on sale yesterday. To borrow from the Who, it’s meaty, beaty, big and bouncy, and while I’m not sure what that means, I’m certain it’s a good thing, even if you’re a vegetarian. On behalf of all of us, I want to express our thanks for picking up the book and pushing us to such an exalted place on the list, where even the ghost of Stieg Larsson had to look up at us. As for those that haven’t yet put in for your copy, we look forward to signing yours in person, and we admire your willpower in not claiming one, Veruca Salt style, now! Now! Now!!!

For those made of sterner stuff than that, as well as those who just like to hang out with your friendly neighborhood baseball guy, we’re going on tour. We’ve just added a date for Princeton, New Jersey, former stomping ground of both Woodrow Wilson and Ross Ohlendorf. I wonder if they knew each other? Come on by, grab a book, a cup of coffee, and a cookie and talk about the upcoming season with the lads from BP.

Washington, DC. Monday, March 7, 7 PM

Politics & Prose 5015 Connecticut Ave NW

Washington, DC  

BPers in attendance: Kevin Goldstein, Steven Goldman, Jay Jaffe, Ben Lindbergh


Chicago, IL. Wednesday, March 9, 6 PM

DePaul University Loop Campus Bookstore

1 East Jackson Boulevard

Chicago, IL

BPers in attendance: Kevin Goldstein, Colin Wyers, Ken Funck


Boston, MA. Tuesday, March 15, 12 noon

Northeastern University Bookstore

Snell Library @ Northeastern

360 Huntington Ave

Boston, MA

BPers in attendance: Steven Goldman, Jay Jaffe, Marc Normandin


Boston, MA. Tuesday, March 15, 7 PM

Boston University Bookstore                                        

660 Beacon Street

Boston, MA

BPers in attendance: Steven Goldman, Jay Jaffe, Marc Normandin


Princeton, NJ, March 23, 7 PM

Barnes & Noble, Marketfair

3535 Us Route 1, Princeton, NJ

BPers in attendance: Tommy Bennett, Ben Lindbergh, Cliff Corcoran, Steven Goldman, Jay Jaffe and more.

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

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

BP Comment Quick Links


Amazon delivered to my desk today, so it looks like I've got some lunchtime reading.

Thanks in advance!

Feb 23, 2011 12:04 PM
rating: 1

I just received a notification from Amazon that my copy has shipped! And I live in Canada!

Feb 23, 2011 12:09 PM
rating: 1

I received a notice at the stroke of midnight last night that Barnes and Noble has shipped my BP2011 copy. I'm eager to get it.

Feb 23, 2011 12:15 PM
rating: 0
Shaun P.

Ordered it from Amazon yesterday, got it this morning. Its a beauty!

Feb 23, 2011 12:25 PM
rating: 0
Matt Kory

I ordered mine two months ago and it hasn't shipped yet. I hate you. (in a nice way)

Feb 23, 2011 14:20 PM
rating: 0

Any chance you guys will make a stop in NYC?

Feb 23, 2011 12:29 PM
rating: 0

They usually stop at the B&N on 18th and 5th.

I'm hoping for a nicer B&N venue this year.

Feb 23, 2011 12:32 PM
rating: 0
BP staff member Steven Goldman
BP staff

We would very much like to. For reasons that I don't quite understand, the schedule has become snarled. I expect that we will, but I can't confirm any date or place just now. I will update as soon as I have something definitive. In the meantime, Princeton is lovely this time of year. Good restaurants and my favorite used record/CD/DVD store.

Feb 23, 2011 12:34 PM
Karl Barth

...and what looks to be quite a lineup.

I hope the MarketFair B&N prepares for a decent turnout that plans on hanging out for a few hours (as I remember the bum's rush we got in Philly).

It sounds like a great event - I'm planning to drive up from Delaware County, PA.

Feb 23, 2011 12:47 PM
rating: 0
BP staff member Steven Goldman
BP staff

Thanks for coming! I don't think we'll get treated like that again. That was a strange mishandling of an event, something for which the company later apologized. They were very classy about it after the fact.

Feb 23, 2011 14:57 PM

I will head over to purchase my book tonight from the B&N in Marketfair, and I'll let the manager know I appreciate that they invited you for an event. Hopefully I can make it for the event as well - though weeknights are tough.

On the chance that folks want to hang out after the event, there's a nice restaurant/bar a few steps away in the same mall (Big Fish).

Feb 23, 2011 16:20 PM
rating: 0
BP staff member Steven Goldman
BP staff

My feelings on Big Fish go up and down quite a bit. Sometimes I think it's quite good, sometimes overpriced and mediocre cooking with an emphasis on sodium content. That mall also has a P.F. Chang's, which I find better than it has any right to be.

Feb 23, 2011 17:31 PM
BP staff member Steven Goldman
BP staff

And the lovely and talented Jay Jaffe added to Princeton.

Feb 23, 2011 12:45 PM

I feel special, I got mine yesterday. Wow have the Brewers been historically bad in terms of the difference between pitching and hitting. And holy crap was the Reds offense incredible in the 1970s.

Feb 23, 2011 13:16 PM
rating: 0

Every year the boasts on the back cover get more ridiculous.

"Predicted the collapse of Pablo Sandoval" ... Oh did you now? When you wrote in his blurb: "Sandoval is not the sort of player where pat assertions about regression to leaguewide marks for line-drive rates or BABIP mean much. Like Vladimir Guerrero, his exceptional plate coverage makes him more dangerous because he won't just try to hit your pitch; he can hit your pitch. You don't copy it or coach it; you just enjoy it." Yeah, nailed that one. PECOTA predicted .315 BA, 21 HR.

Adam Lind didn't have anything negative in his writeup and got a 27hr, .282/.343/.492 projection from PECOTA.

And who takes credit for predicting "collapse" for Todd Helton and Miguel Tejada?

I know it shouldn't irk me, but it does. Either get more things right or stop making up reasons to boast. This is truly absurd.

Feb 23, 2011 13:54 PM
rating: 6
BP staff member Steven Goldman
BP staff

We. Don't. Write. Those.

Feb 23, 2011 14:13 PM

Then let the publisher know. Take up the space with a picture of the BP crew. Or a maze like there is on my kid's place mat. Anything!

Feb 23, 2011 14:27 PM
rating: 7

I'll take the hit for those: I'm the editor at Wiley and I wrote those. Keep in mind, though, that those PECOTA projections seem rosy now, but if you have the 2010 edition, there's a printed list of the players with the biggest projected drop in VORP, and those players were all in the top ten. Even if the prediction doesn't seem dire now, we still made it clear that PECOTA said no other players will see as steep a decline as Jeter, Lind, Sandoval, Zobrist, etc. This year, PECOTA says watch out for Hamilton, Huff, Beltre, Bautista and a few others to drop off big time. We'll see if it's right.

Feb 24, 2011 05:45 AM
rating: 5
dREaDS Fan


You answered the question I was about to ask: How do I easily find the list of big dropoff's / gainers (the bold predictions that will potentially make the cover of the '12 edition) without sifting thru all the writeups looking for elliptical hints.

Feb 24, 2011 08:33 AM
rating: 0

I've already seen the explanation for this issue below but...there wasn't exactly red-flag warning for Zobrist or Helton either.

As you might guess, I was the proud owner of both last year.

Feb 25, 2011 14:07 PM
rating: 0
David J Marsh

Got my book last night and have enjoyed what i've read so far. I Have noticed numerous typos though. In fact every section i've read has a typo. I need an internship so if you need a proof reader for the next edition, I'm your guy.

Feb 23, 2011 13:58 PM
rating: 3
Matt Kory

Judging by the typos in your comment I'm guessing actually you aren't their guy.

Feb 23, 2011 14:23 PM
rating: 8

The book seems poorly edited, as ecumarch notes. What bothers me more, though, are the rather sizeable differences in the PECOTA projections in the book and the recently released spreadsheet. What accounts for the big differences? Is the speadsheet (presumably fixed later) the best estimate?


Feb 23, 2011 14:17 PM
rating: 2
BP staff member Steven Goldman
BP staff

Re typos and the book: as consumers, you have the right to expect a clean book, and we do our best to give you that. However, because we close the book so late, trying to give you a book that is as up to date as possible when spring training starts, there is a certain trade-off for that. This is a document of 350,000 words plus many more numbers, and despite some really expert professionals working on copyedits (I do not claim to be a copyeditor; that's a specialized skill set)there simply isn't time to give it the same going-over that a normal, non-rush publication that sits with the publisher for three months is going to get. I apologize for every error that gets through, but after seven years of doing this, I'm forced to recognize that some are just unavoidable unless we want to hurt the book's timeliness in such a way as to make it unrecognizable.

Re PECOTA: As in every year that we've done the book, PECOTA gets revised versions as we tinker with the system, and later we incorporate information from the depth charts. Obviously, the book represents a moment frozen in time. The later versions represent a combination of refined methods and additional information.

Feb 23, 2011 14:50 PM
Richard Bergstrom

I just got the book today and had time to read the introduction by good ole Joe (very nice) and the Arizona Diamondbacks chapter (not as nice).

I liked the essay and comments sections (and yes, there were a few typos) here and there. What I found profoundly distracting was the pitching section and the lineouts. It seemed that the Games and Games Started columns in the pitching section would get flipped around often and in the lineouts, people were shown to throw 200+ innings. Now, maybe 200 innings was supposed to be 20.0, but still... I'd like to think between the person(s) who outputted the stats, the person(s) who put together the player profiles into a chapter, the person(s) who reviewed the chapter and/or book, it would've been caught.

One of the other distracting things included every minor league third baseman the D'backs having Johnny Bench as a comparison. Also, as I recall, comparables were supposed to be players who played the same position yet I saw a few other out-of-position comps.

Usually my minor beef about the Annual is that the fielding numbers don't match up with the comments on fielding. So, I'm hoping this is just a problem in the Arizona chapter, but as the first chapter of the book, it really got things off on a bit of a sour note. I understand there's a rush to produce the best book possible as late as possible, but something like stat column flipping should've been caught way before that.

Feb 23, 2011 18:36 PM
rating: 2

As the publisher, I can take the blame for the typos and the fact that a handful of lineouts in the Arizona chapter say 272 innings when they should say 27.2. We actually sent the book to the printer about 14 days ago, and we had only a few days to proof it, but I suspect that we've ended up with probably 10% more typos than last year (which was a pretty good year).

What I can't take credit for, are the 200 career games Johnny Bench played at 3rd. I've suggested, as an article topic, how often PECOTA will give there prospects in the same system similar comps. Is that because teams like the same kind of player? Teach them to hit the same way? A translation issue that makes them look more similar than they are? We'll see if they take me up on it.

Feb 24, 2011 05:56 AM
rating: 2
Richard Bergstrom

Thanks for stepping up and speaking out about the typos, I appreciate it.

Regarding Bench, I realize that's not on the publisher. My understanding is that comparables are based on how similar players at similar ages with similar skill sets and positions.

Feb 24, 2011 09:58 AM
rating: 0

Preordered it in January and I got mine yesterday... and if it weren't for my calc test tomorrow, I'd have it read by now. I'm not quite to the point where the pages are sticky after reading it all, but it's definitely the highlight of the preseason for me.

Feb 23, 2011 17:16 PM
rating: 0

Mine shipped yesterday...but it might be weeks to arrive in The Great White North. D'OH!
Now all I gotta do is find a replacement for Wainwright in my league...

Feb 23, 2011 17:26 PM
rating: 0

A package was waiting for us when we got home. My daughter was hoping it was her flower girl dress. Instead, it was BP 2011. Her dejection was matched by my elation.

Feb 23, 2011 17:35 PM
rating: 5



Ryan Ludwick
book: .275/.344/.485
spreadsheet(2/7): .251/.325/.433
change in OPS -.71 !!

Cameron Maybin
book: .271/.341/.425
speadsheet: .247/.323/.375
change in OPS -.68!

Dexter Fowler
book: .257/.345/.381
speadsheet: .277/.359/.427
change in OPS +.60!

Carlos Gonzalez
book: .283/.338/.485
speadsheet .303/.353/.531
change in OPS +.61!

These are just a few examples that jumped out at.. It appears to me that the PECOTA projections in the book may be park neutral projections based on the direction and pattern of adjustments in the speadsheet.

If so, it would be great if you guys would come clean and admit that, as these changes are obviously material ones that will affect decisions. Appreciate your response.

Feb 23, 2011 19:32 PM
rating: 3

I hate to say this because I respect the hell out of all the BP writers, but this is an endemic problem that has been with the company ever since Nate Silver left. And it's not just discrepancies between the book and the online content. If this year is anything like the last two years (but especially last year), there will be several rounds of PECOTA rollouts, each with egregious and systemic errors and each with proclamations that "this one" is the right one. Meanwhile, we not only don't have absolutely essential categories like UPSIDE, but no one (not customer service nor any of the writers) are even commenting on this egregious absence. I still firmly believe in PECOTA in theory but if BP can't get their stuff together in a timely manner (read: within the next several days) I don't see any reason to renew my subscription. And I hate saying that because I feel like when PECOTA is working it's the best fantasy tool out there.

Feb 25, 2011 10:34 AM
rating: 0

Maybe I missed it somewhere else, but could someone explain the Breakout/Improve/Collapse percentages for me? For example, Mike Montgomery is at 1%/4%/0%. A 4% chance to improve?!? So PECOTA this year is telling me that one of the better pitching prospects in basebally has a 96% chance of getting worse in 2011? It seems like in previous years, the improve percentage for prospects was in the 60%-75% range.

More numbers that make no sense:

Aaron Hicks: 1%/2%/0%
Mike Trout: 1%/8%/0%
Michael Pineda: 6%/9%/2%
Julio Teheran: 4%/4%/4%

Teheran's is especially interesting...with both his breakout and improve percentages the same, I guess I could assume that he's got a 0% chance of improving just a little bit?

I could go on and on, but something is wrong with this part of PECOTA this year. Please help me understand...

Feb 23, 2011 20:41 PM
rating: 3

I've been wondering about the Breakout/Improve/Collapse percentages as well this year... Always a favorite interest of mine, but they don't seem to make much sense this year... At the very least, they seem to be calculated much differently. Would love some help understanding this.

Feb 23, 2011 20:56 PM
rating: 0
dREaDS Fan


I pre-ordered the book and have received it but am not looking at it as I type.

From memory, the '10 book had SIERA ... the '11 book doesn't and rather only has FRA.

Shouldn't your recently developed metric that best predicts ERA be included?

Feb 24, 2011 08:37 AM
rating: 3

Concur. Nearly every recent article has referenced SIERA but it's nowhere to be found in the book.

Feb 25, 2011 14:04 PM
rating: 0
BP staff member Steven Goldman
BP staff

When considered in the context of PECOTA, it's redundant to have SIERA. The latter is an ERA predictor. The former predicts ERA as part of what it does, except it's better. I didn't see the necessity of having both.

Feb 25, 2011 15:14 PM
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