If you have any interest in advanced baseball statistics, you’ve probably already heard of the group at Baseball Prospectus. Their thick baseball annual is now in it’s 18th year, and there have been a few changes made which makes this book even more interesting.
The first thing you notice (and one of the first thing Colin Wyers mentions in his introduction) is that the team reports are significantly shorter and better organized. The team chapters now have a look back to last year, a look ahead to this year and a state of the organization. This allows them to fit in even more player reports which is a major reason you buy this book anyways.
The PECOTA projections are the bread and butter of the book, not to take anything away from the writing and essays found in the pages. PECOTA sees bounce back seasons from Tim Lincecum, Ricky Romero, Albert Pujols and Brian McCann and some declines from Mike Trout, Jordan Zimmermann and Gio Gonzalez. PECOTA’s reasoning, as found in this little conversation between BP writers Wyers and Ben Lindbergh, is that they are bound for some regression to the mean. It also effects Bryce Harper as his numbers are expected to go down, but as Wyers mentions, he is still listed as being an above average starter at age 20.
There are two essays in the book, Wyers’s look at the year in sabermetrics and Russell Carleton’s entertaining look at his life as a sabermetrician. They add value to the book and make it more than “that book with stats.”
I hope to have a Q&A with a BP contributor to focus a little bit more on PECOTA’s forecast on the Washington Nationals. For now, this book hasn’t left my bag and is already bent at the corners. By October, I may need some glue.