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February 29, 2012

BP Unfiltered

Baseball Prospectus 2012 Roundtable HERE

by Joe Hamrahi

Our last roundtable wrapped up after the final out of the World Series, and now that spring training and our 17th annual guide to the upcoming season are upon us, it's time to reconvene for another online summit. Please join us here on Wednesday at 1:00 PM ET for a discussion of baseball and the book with over 20 members of the BP staff. This time we'll even have prizes to give away including copies of Baseball Prospectus 2012, Best of Baseball Prospectus Vol 1 and Vol 2, and Up and In Podcast T-shirts!

 

 

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

Related Content:  Roundtable

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

BP Comment Quick Links

KerryFam4

Where is Mike Gonzalez in the book? He threw over 50 innings and is not in the index or the TEX section.

Feb 29, 2012 03:34 AM
rating: 1
 
Richard Bergstrom

I was extremely disappointed with this year's annual. One of the main reasons (and yes, there are multiple reasons) is that many players I was looking for were missing, even if they had been mentioned in the team essay. Some of them did have miniwriteups in KG's Top 101 list, but they weren't listed in the index.

Feb 29, 2012 05:28 AM
rating: 0
 
boards

As was I. Between missing players and whatever occurred with the managers' stats, I'm hesitant to trust any of the statistical lines presented.

It was also disappointing that there were no essays presented this year after the team section.

Feb 29, 2012 07:25 AM
rating: 1
 
BP staff member Joe Hamrahi
BP staff

There was a technical problem on the submission to our publisher of some players and the manager stats. We are preparing a free PDF file that will include the missing players and the correct manager stats. It should be available for download early next week. I was going to address that in the chat, but now is as good a time as any. As for the essays after the team section, if I remember correctly, we haven't had those for a few years now.

Feb 29, 2012 08:04 AM
 
BP staff member Joe Hamrahi
BP staff

Can you elaborate on the "multiple" reasons so that maybe we can correct the issues that are troubling you?

Feb 29, 2012 08:06 AM
 
Richard Bergstrom

I've elaborated on them, and reiterated on them multiple times in the past. My comment count is high enough anyway and I think people are tired of me beating those dead horses. Yet, I'll still summarize this last time because you asked.

Here are the past ones:
A) Numerous typos, but this year it was the worst. I couldn't make it two pages without a typo. Even stat lines had obvious errors. Off the top of my head, the misspelling of DiMaggio stuck out.
B) Player comments about fielding rarely match what FRAA says, and sometimes don't even match what PECOTA says, as if the commentator isn't looking at the stat line.
C) I miss the back-of-book essays.
D) Comparable players are getting more and more "broken". I used to find them useful, the last two years, I've completely ignored them since they are so far off base. Speedy centerfielders having slow catchers as comparables, starters having relievers as comparables, etc. I used to see, for example, a young Alfonso Soriano having Andre Dawson as a comparison and I could say "Yes, I understand". Not anymore though.
E) PECOTA's still not passing the sniff test. 0% breakouts, starting players with MLB% of 70s. etc.

Current ones:
A) In the past, BP Annual's "manager" section looked at the performance of managers over last season even if that manager left the team. This year, they didn't. I don't think Quade's name appeared anywhere in the entire Cubs section.
B) Many players I was looking for didn't have a stat line, PECOTA projection or index, though they would be mentioned prominently in the team essay. If lucky, they'd have a writeup in the Top 101 section. I think one team (Astros?) had just two or three lineouts for their hitters.
C) Dovetailing with B, there was a lot of "blank space" beneath the manager comments and a few blank pages at the back of the book. Usually there is some blank space anyway, but I definitely noticed it this year, probably because I was wondering where players like Venditte were, or why Profar didn't get a writeup.
D) I think I was halfway through the book before references to Mike Fast's framing studies came up, then it was referenced constantly for a few teams, then was forgotten about. Jose Molina, who led all the studies done by Fast, didn't have any mention of Fast in his comment.
E) One reference comparing a hitter's prowess to a pitcher's hitting prowess is funny. By the time someone (I forget which player) was compared to Wainwright's power, the joke got old, I felt words were wasted (that could have been used to write up other players) and I felt uninformed about the player's potential.
F) Team essays were poorly formatted where the tables being discussed were often far from the section of text that was citing the table.
G) I don't know when it was sent to the publisher and maybe it's because there were so many late moves in the offseason, but it felt extremely out of date to me. It didn't have the Rizzo trade, much less Fielder (and I don't think it had the Latos trade) which means it was sent to publishers before January. I'm not well-versed on book publishing, but BP might have to focus more on e-publishing.
H) Usually, I find BP Annuals funny and informative. I remember comments from years ago such as Todd Helton's "helluva stomache quote" from years ago and Corey Patterson's "the average major leaguer" discussion. I remember the discussion of George Bush using the Rangers as a real estate deal. In other words, I buy a book and I'm entertained for quite awhile, usually rereading a single annual multiple times. I think I've giggled twice in the whole book when, in past annuals, there's at least one thing I like in each team section. Worse, I don't really feel I've learned anything new in this particular Annual.
I've bought Annuals since 2004 and this one just didn't entertain me.

Feb 29, 2012 10:06 AM
rating: 2
 
BP staff member Joe Hamrahi
BP staff

I'll address all you points a little later...since the chat just started. Regarding the missing players, managers issue, and back of the book essays, see my previous comments above.

Feb 29, 2012 10:14 AM
 
Richard Bergstrom

Regarding the missing players and managers issue, that is why (along with the time from submission to publication) that I suggest moving to e-publishing. It's not the first time BP has had to distribute a free PDF to "fix" the Annual. Either way, though, I would think that BP would be given a "first copy" to review before the publisher starts up a print run and as I indicated, typos this year were even worse than previous years (which were also distracting).

Regarding the back of the book essays, yes it has been a few years, but I do miss them.

Feb 29, 2012 10:54 AM
rating: 0
 
BP staff member Joe Hamrahi
BP staff

Well we have a contract with Wiley so the choice is really theirs not ours. I think things are moving in that direction. The process of putting the book together is enormous and the window to complete it is very tight. There are also a lot of people involved on both our side and the publisher's side so, yes, there are possibilities for things to go wrong. I'm not making excuses. I personally always expect perfection. I'm just saying the possibility exists. That said, we want to make the book better, and that's why we want feedback. Regarding the typos, you're the first one who's really mentioned that this year, but I'll definitely pass along the comment.

Feb 29, 2012 11:02 AM
 
Richard Bergstrom

I'm not a typo freak, I'm just saying the issues I listed in "added up". If I'm not being distracted by a misprinted stat, I'm being distracted by a mistyped word, or I'm thumbing through the index trying to find a player who isn't there. Offsite, I know I'm not the only one to notice the typos, nor was I the first to bring it up. Even then, I can live with typos and misprints or a poor comment-to-statistic correlation here and there. This year, it all just added up... and these issues weren't really all that "new" either. Those comments, in the past, were "passed on" too. But add the old issues with the new issues then throw in player comments and team essays where I didn't feel all that humorous or insightful, and that's how I ended up feeling disappointed.

Anyway, done with the comments, back to the normal programming.

Feb 29, 2012 11:41 AM
rating: 0
 
BP staff member Joe Hamrahi
BP staff

Ok, fair enough. I will say one last thing. It wasn't me who passed things on, and if by the end of the year, you are not happy with the changes we've made to both the site and the book, then it's my fault. I'll take full responsibility. I hope you'll see a difference this year, and if you don't, I've failed, nobody else.

Feb 29, 2012 11:46 AM
 
jrmayne

I liked the book better than Richard did. It wasn't The Best Book Ever, but I enjoyed the writing. (Aside: I think Profar did get a writeup.) I felt like I knew more after reading it.

I'm sympathetic to the typos; there's no way to get a book like this out without them. Misspelling Gary Huckabay's name in the acknowledgements.... I found it amusing. The actual copy editors probably shouldn't.

I'm unsympathetic to the PECOTA comps, which are broken, and known to be broken. Oddly, they're less broken in the book than they are here; Bryce Harper comps to Travis Snider rather than Wayne Causey. (The change in comps causes almost no change in projection.)

Hope this is helpful.





Feb 29, 2012 18:56 PM
rating: -1
 
BP staff member Joe Hamrahi
BP staff

We were trying to see if Gary was still reading the book???!!! Actually, Gary wrote a portion of the book this year. I bet most people didn't know that.

Anyway, seriously, nobody likes typos or errors of any sort, and I can tell you both our editors and writers take those mistakes to heart. I wish I could publish some of the behind-the-scenes discussions about these things. We will continue to strive to get better. I demand it, and our staff knows that.

As for the comps, that's a bit more complicated. We plan to put out an in-depth article shortly explaining what comps are, how we arrive at comps, and what they affect (and how much so). Our biggest flaw with comps, at least from my vantage point, has been not educating people enough about them. So when people see comps like the one you mentioned, they immediately think broken. I'm not saying it's wrong to think that way, but there's more to the process.

Feb 29, 2012 20:06 PM
 
SC

Love these, it would be awesome if after the fact the transcript was in a more legible/printable format as most other chats are.

Mar 05, 2012 13:24 PM
rating: 0
 
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Premium Article Future Shock: Milwauke... (02/28)
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