For fantasy baseball owners it is officially baseball season. Fantasy Baseball Junkies are searching every nook and cranny of the internet searching for the best information, the best software (you're choosing Diamond Draft, right?), the best magazines, and of course the best books. Some of these also appeared in the Ultimate Fantasy Baseball Gift List.
I'm always trying to be helpful so I put together this list of my favorite fantasy baseball books. They aren't all new but they are all useful and good reading.
The Bill James Handbook is the original guide to projecting and analyzing player performance. Every season i learn something new from this book. It could be that Jason Giambi, despite his bulk, is actually a great base runner. Or it could be that Bobby Abreu despite his speed is a lousy outfielder. If nothing else James deserves your support for helping make the statistical study of baseball what it is today.
As Bill James is to actual baseball, Ron Shandler and his Baseball Forecaster is to fantasy baseball. No one has helped fantasy leaguers win more than Shandler and the guys from Baseball HQ. From his unique game strategies such as the LIMA Plan and Portfolio 3, to his DOM/DIS listings, and scarily accurate player analysis. I feel naked without it (you don't want to see that).
The guys that write the annual Baseball Prospectus aren't fantasy guys but they all acknowledge that without the fantasy baseball crowd they wouldn't be making any money. I've preached (or raved?) about putting player moves into the proper context as the key to winning at fantasy baseball. Well this is the book that does it better than any other. Not only do you get extensive write ups on each teams and the smart and dumb things that they do, but you also get write-ups on every player that matters. If that isn't enough, its a true page turner. This is like a 1000-page fantasy baseball magazine. The writers are funny and engaging ina way that keeps you from putting it down so you can get to work on time in the morning. Perhaps, I've said too much...
Fantasy Land by Sam Walker is a great book. It doesn't give you any real fantasy baseball information, at least not the type that you bring with you on draft day. But it does express some of what we all love about this game. That competitive drive to win. The decision making process during the season. It also describes a dream for all fantasy leaguers - playing in the ultimate fantasy league, Tout Wars.
How to Value Players for Rotisserie Baseball is the original manual to creating your own fantasy baseball auction values. Art McGee applies concepts from economics, finance, and statistics to develop a pricing method that far surpasses any other published. His method is highly sophisticated, yet McGee explains it in terms that any fantasy baseball owner can understand and apply.
Baseball America is the definitive source of minor league and prospect information for almost the entire baseball industry. They lean heavily to the scouting side of things which is why you also need more numbers oriented evaluations like those you get from...
The Minor League Baseball Analyst is a companion book to Baseball HQ's Forecaster. Deric McKamey does for minor leaguers what Ron Shandler does for the major leaguers. I love having a few different prospect manuals so I can compare and contrast the scouting reports with the statistical profiles.
The 2009 John Sickels Baseball Prospect Book
John Sickels is one of the best minor league analysts in the business. His book includes extensive lists on all of the prospects with a letter grade to help you easily understand their level of talent.
Last but by no means least is Peter Golenbock's How to Win at Rotisserie Baseball. I love this book. I re-read it often. The advice isn't profound and it won't actually help you win but it might help you love rotisserie baseball just a little bit more (as if you needed the help). Plus, since it's out of print you can buy it via Amazon.com for about 64 cents. You can't beat that with a stick.
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