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.