Monday, March 09, 2009

Book Reviews by Alex Patton

posted by Jon Williams
Anyone that receives BaseballHQ's Free Friday Newsletter has likely seen this already. Alex Patton, one of my favorite fantasy baseball analysts and one of the longest lasting, wrote a piece for the newsletter reviewing a few Fantasy Baseball publications. For those that did not see it you can find it here.

Here are the books he reviewed and a very brief sample of the reviews:

The Bill James Handbook 2009 $23.95

This is the first stat book that appears in print each fall, and everyone who's even remotely into fantasy baseball snaps it up immediately, so there's no reason to dwell on it. I'll just point out some of the very cool things that are new...



Ron Shandler's 2009 Baseball Forecaster $24.95

It's probably fair to say that more people reading this article buy the Forecaster than the Bill James Handbook, so there's no point in me praising it too lavishly. I'll praise it briefly, then offer just a couple of criticisms.



Baseball Prospectus 2009 $21.95

This is the other publication that throws a ton of fancier metrics in with the standard stats in the stat scans. At more than 600 pages, space is no object. Thus, while the Forecaster combines Aviles Triple-A and MLB stats last year into a combined 633 AB, BP gives Aviles two lines of stats. In fewer than 50 words, the Forecaster basically says, Beware. In approximately 180 words, BP says beware.



Graphical Player 2009 $21.95

I bought this annual for the first time this winter, and so far, to tell the truth, have been finding it a tough go.


Fantasy Baseball Magazines

The Fantasy Baseball Guide 2009 $6.99

Gets check marks ahead of all the other ones out there, except, well, it's not all that pretty. Reluctance to say so is based on the fairly well-known fact that my friend Peter Kreutzer (aka Rotoman) is the editor.

Sporting News Fantasy Baseball '09 $7.99

Here I have paid the extra dollar for glossy pages and wider columns, and I love it! Only one problem: 700+ profiles.Are they kidding me? What am I supposed to do when someone says Gil Velazquez in the end game and I go speed-dialing down to the V's and he's not there?

Fanball Fantasy Baseball 2009 $7.99

The big thing here is multiple cheat sheets, each clearly spelling out what the prices are based on. There are three sets of prices: 5x5 AL-only, 5x5 NL-only, and 5x5 mixed. It's hard to figure what the reasoning is for the prices in the mixed leagues. Hanley Ramirez costs more in mixed than in NL-only, which I happen to agree with. But Grady Sizemore costs less in mixed than in AL-only, which I don't agree with and is totally inconsistent.

Fantasy Sports $5.99

I'm looking at the April issue, the one with (at least in New York) David Wright on the cover. Kind of ironic that this is the cheapest of the magazines, since the editor, Greg Ambrosius, is the driving force behind the high-stakes National Fantasy Baseball Championship. Greg has opted to deal with the pricing issue by offering AL-only dollar values by position, NL-only dollar values by position, and mixed-league rankings by position. All for 5x5 leagues.

2009 Major League Baseball Yearbook & Fantasy Guide $9.95

Almost ten bucks?? Yes, I admit it. I can't resist any of them. This one's got a lot of things going for it. 850+ players in the profiles. Hitters alphabetized, pitchers alphabetized. Three-year stat scans, with 2008 also broken into first half, second half. Prices for 5x5 AL-only, NL-only and mixed leagues. That's good. They are the same for all three, though, and that's not right.

Wise Guy Baseball 2009

Not sure what the price is. Gene McCaffrey sent it to me. He doesn't even give contact information, but I'll give you his email address anyway: GenetheM@aol.com. Gene is the original wise guy of the title. John Menna and Ken Magna are his "special guests." Tom Zownir contributes something called The Hitmen. It's basically a crank-press item directed at the CDM contest leagues. But baseball is baseball and good comments are good comments.




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