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Happy Sunday, everyone, I hope yours is going great. I’m Dave Pease, and this is Prospectus Idol.

I’ll be honest with you: here at BP, we think this was our best Idol week yet. We’re excited to tell you that we’ve got almost all of your requests filled with respect to the technical aspects of the contest. Let’s take just a minute to run them down, covering the status of last week’s to-do list:

  • Last comment time displayed on landing page: We ended up doing something similar and, hopefully, even better from a reader perspective. Now you’ll see an unread comment count as well as total comment count from the Prospectus Idol landing page. It’s in bold so that you can quickly scan the page and see where the new comments are. We’ve also spread this around the rest of the site. On the front page, you’ll see bolded numbers for the total of new comments, as well as a total comment count, for most things that have comments attached.

  • Previous week results: They’re on the landing page. Look up at the top, where you can see the article navigation features (next/previous article, etc) on our article pages, and you’ll now be able to move back and forth among Prospectus Idol weeks of competition. You can also directly link to any of them just by grabbing the URL-for example, here’s Week One. Ah, it seems so long ago.

  • Announcement of results: They’re still going to be Unfiltered posts, but they’ll also be linked on the Prospectus Idol landing page.

I think that takes care of the most popular requests we’ve had, but please leave anything else you’d like to see addressed in the comments section of this article, and we’ll have a look.

This week, we’re also debuting our first guest judge of Prospectus Idol, the beautiful and talented Marc Normandin. Marc is an expert on the topic of this week’s competition, and we hope you find his comments useful to you in making your voting decisions.

Here are the instructions Christina Kahrl sent to our contestants this week:

Content-wise, your next theme was selected to give you an opportunity to work on something that will let the voting public and the judges draw some more direct contrasts with one another, as we and the audience get a chance to see what you’ll do within a specific form. This week, it’s your opportunity to do a Player Profile. This should have four elements:

  1. Background/History
  2. Performance Analysis
  3. Scouting Information
  4. Projecting the Future

You must select an active major, minor league, amateur, or international ballplayer; no telling us that you think that Jackie Robinson is really going to be something special. As far as length, you can go as long as 2000 words (not counting tables or charts). For a working example, take a look at the team effort on Cliff Lee.

Have a look at how our seven remaining Prospectus Idol contestants tackled this topic by clicking here to visit the Prospectus Idol page.

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ckahrl
6/14
To expand on Dave's point, I think all seven contestants turned in good work this week, which makes voting tough for all of you, but also highlights the virtue of being able to vote for as many of the contestants as you like.
strupp
6/14
being able to vote for all of them is great. but i found myself deciding on my own to at best/worst leave one blank so asa not to cancel out all votes.
tkniker
6/14
To reiterate Christina's point, I thought that by far this was the best week in terms of consistent quality amongst all the contestants. Maybe a few a little better than others, but I thought all were high quality and I learned from each one.
sklarj
6/14
mmmm, I'd subscribe to baseball player profile prospectus in an instant.
Oleoay
6/15
Amen to that. This is a tough week.
Oleoay
6/15
Btw, kudos to the BP staff for the additional technical updates!
jtrichey
6/15
As I noted in my individual comments, the topic this week was vast, yet limited the authors in a way. All 7 put in quality pieces, but nobody really went away from the structure of Marc Normandin's profiles. Everything really looked about the same. My voting is based more on the authors previous work than their work this week just because I can't distinguish anything to separate out their work this week.
Oleoay
6/15
I agree. Each person contributed a slightly different and unique insight or insights but each piece overall was solid and the favorites probably come down to personal taste... so my voting would be more based on the overall body of work so far. I think the really distinctive piece was Ken's just because we hadn't seen him do that kind of article before... kind of a way for him to show a different skillset like Cartwright did with his article from Week 3.
hotstatrat
6/15
Thanks for the improvements, Dave.
llewdor
6/15
This should be interesting. In general, I don't really like Player Profile articles. Statistics can't say much about a single individual with a lot of confidence, so they just turn into a human interest story. And I just don't care. We'll see if the idols can do better.
Oleoay
6/16
The Week 4 BP Idol Hit List! Ok, so, player profiles... I could probably write up 2000 words of praise about each finalist so far... that's how much I've enjoyed everyone. Instead (and to save space), I decided to replace the weekly quote with a name of a major league baseball player who each finalist's performance reminds me of. No, there's no Pujols, but it's a definite All-Star team of finalists. As a disclaimer, this was a very tough week with a lot of very good articles and it's a shame someone has to be ranked last. I gave thumbs up for the top five. #1 Tim Kniker (= #1<-#2<-#1<-#3) - David Wright There are people who are slightly more original, there are others who drill into the stats deeper, and there are others who might even be better writers, but Kniker's been consistently great in a lot of categories. Kind of like David Wright, it's the sum of his overall talent that puts him at the top of the list. #2 Matt Swartz (= #2<-#1<-#2<-#4) - Hanley Ramirez Often brilliant, but sometimes brilliantly flawed, he missed for me slightly this week. However, when he gets a hold of one, he knocks it way out of the park. Even when he strikes out, he's still a pleasure to read and keeps an engaging discussion going. A bit more consistency in his defense could kick him back to #1. #3 Ken Funck (= #3<-#3<-#3<-#1) - Ichiro Suzuki Like Ichiro, I'm never quite sure how he ends up being so unorthodox and yet so good. The irony is even with his quirky writing, he has simple, unique insights. He's nipping again at Matt's heels. #4 Matthew Knight (+ #5<-#5<-#8<-#6) - Alfonso Soriano To paraphrase the BP 2009 Annual, Alfonso Soriano is often a spectacle without being spectacular. Matthew's come a long way and is close to actually being spectacular. One great week could vault him into the top three, but merely good won't cut it. #5 Brian Cartwright (- #4<-#6<-#4<-#5) - J.D. Drew Everyone sees his talent but he's not always available/accessible. Everyone sees what he could do, and he has been good, but the consensus is he hasn't been "great". In his career, J.D. Drew has been very good without being a superstar. Though Cartwright's effort has been there, his future is now. #6 Brian Oakchunas (+ #7<-#7<-#5<-#10) - Placido Polanco It's close between him and Tyler. While Tyler drills deeper into topics, Brian's shown a broader topic choice and thus has a bit more potential. I wouldn't complain if either one was on my roster. #7 Tyler Hissey (- #6<-#7<-#10<-#8) - Akinori Iwamura Tyler knows his skills, knows his job and does it well. What you see is what you get with Tyler, and what you get is very good. However, it comes down to the difference between a star and a superstar. With his history of doing player profiles in this competition, I was hoping the practice would produce something great. Instead, it was merely very good.
BurrRutledge
6/17
BP, another vote to get all seven of these guys on staff. Sign 'em up!
Oleoay
6/17
Even all ten might not be a bad thing. Byron didn't get much of a chance to improve, there were many fans of Jeff's work, and Brittany might do better with more time between articles. Besides, that'd also be more writers that can help with the Annual.
Oleoay
6/18
This is more of a sitewide suggestion than BP-Idol specific, but when opening a thread, can new comments be tagged with more than just the red word of "NEW" but instead say "NEW COMMENT"? The reason is that I can then use my web browser's Find feature to more easily move through a thread to locate "NEW COMMENT" then to cycle and skip past all the occurences of the word "new" that are in the comment bodies (but don't signify a new comment since last read) as well as the "knew", "Newport". I also don't have to fiddle as much with adding Match Case and Match Word filters. Not a major need, but it'd be nice to have.