It’s the Hardball Times 2010 Annual

What is it you do during those dark hours of winter? Do you imagine fantastic free agent signings or breakthrough rookie seasons? Do you read online baseball statistics, digging up favorite numbers or players from the past?

If you do, then we’ve got something you’re going to like. It’s the Hardball Times Annual 2010, created by the writing and editorial team at your favorite baseball site and published by ACTA Sports. There are 32 articles in this year’s Annual, over 200 pages. You can lose yourself in these articles, revisiting the 2009 season with THT’s “staff” writers or going back in history with Craig Wright, Steve Treder, Chris Jaffe and other ace contributors.

You can hone your understanding of some key baseball issues—and develop strategy for your fantasy baseball team—by diving into Corey Dawkins’ analysis of baseball injuries or Bill James’ opinions regarding which batters are most likely to do better next year.

And you can also lose yourself in baseball stats. The THT Annual kicks off with fielding numbers that won’t be available in print anywhere else, such as John Dewan’s team plus/minus fielding figures, Defensive Runs Saved and Revised Zone Rating. There will be a lot of detail for every player on every team, including Base Runs, Pitching Runs Created and our patented “Batted Balls” stats. Plus, three major “win-based” stats (Wins Above Replacement, Win Shares Above Bench and Win Probability Added) will be laid out for every single player.

As usual, I am getting ahead of myself. Here’s a little more detail on this year’s articles:
{exp:list_maker}Each division race in 2009 will be analyzed by one of THT’s writers.
I’ll have my usual “Ten Things I Learned This Year” submission
Craig Calcaterra will review the year’s events in his inimitable way
Richard Barbieri will revisit the year’s events in the context of baseball history
Max Marchi, our Italian correspondent, will talk the World Baseball Classic
Baseball America’s Ben Badler will review the state of the Latin American baseball player “market”
Brian Borawski covers the business angle of baseball
Corey Dawkins has a nice analytic piece talking about baseball injuries
Bill James has developed a new system for predicting which batters will do better or worse next year
Jack Marshall reviews all those things that make up a player’s character, building off his earlier THT article.
Geoff Young unveils his system for staying interested in the season even when your team is out of it. {/exp:list_maker}
Those articles comprise the first two sections. There are two more: History and Analysis.
{exp:list_maker}Craig Wright looks back at the amazing achievements of Grover Cleveland Alexander and his duel with Honus Wagner.
Chris Jaffe nominates his choice for the best World Series ever
Craig Brown remembers the year the players were set free
Steve Treder looks back on the productivity of farm systems over the years and wonders when and how the American League overtook the National
Warren Corbett puts famed manager Paul Richards in a box
Sky Andrecheck uses his Championship Leverage Index to highlight the year’s games and weight player contributions
Greg Rybarczyk is back with Hit Tracker’s take on all the home runs last year
David Gassko has a new system for predicting MVP and Cy Young award winners
Mike Fast and Dave Allen have written two fantastic overviews of PITCHf/x and what it means for baseball fans
Tom Tango analyzes how much starting pitchers have pitched in the past and present
Sean Smith reviews the evolution, and the logic, of relief pitching
Jeff Sackmann introduces a new approach to developing major league projections from minor league stats
John Walsh plumbs the depths of WAR to find those players who were better than we thought
I use the occasion of Lucky Lohrke’s death to ask the question: Who truly were the luckiest players in baseball history? {/exp:list_maker}
We don’t expect every article to hit your hot button, but if you’re a baseball fan I’m sure there are plenty that will.

There’s also a statistical section in the THT Annual, same as in previous Annuals. We know you can get lots of baseball stats online, so we do a couple of things to make our stats unique.

First, we present the stats in a way that helps you understand each team’s season, its strengths and weaknesses. We’ve put a lot of care into the way our stats are presented. Each league section compares teams across many different important categories, and each team section has a graph of the team’s year (we’ve included Sky Andrecheck’s day-by-day Championship Leverage Index as a way of tracking a team’s season), month-by-month team breakouts and batter, pitcher and fielder comparisons that let you easily see how each player contributed to the team.

Secondly, we have a lot of traditional stats but we also include a number of unique ones. Most notably, we’ve included the “Batted Ball” stats of just about every player on a team. These stats are a unique blend of stats and “scouting” type of information—you can read about them in my introduction to this year’s Batted Ball Reports. As I mentioned, we also have some cutting-edge sabermetric stats, such as Base Runs and Pitching Runs Created, and we’ve got win-based stats for every player, too.

The stats are printed in the book, but those who purchase the THT Annual will also be able to download spreadsheets of Batted Ball and Win-Based stats for every single player in the majors. That way, you can sort and recalculate the stats any way you’d like.

Two other downloads will also be available for those who purchase the book. During the season, I sold subscriptions to my weekly Batted Ball Reports as a way of enticing people to purchase the Annual ahead of time. If you purchase the THT Annual now, you’ll be able to download a PDF of all my weekly Batted Ball Reports. Admittedly, these will be a little late, but they serve as a good chronicle of the season. That’s like getting another 125-page book along with the Annual.

Because we rushed to get the Annual to the printer (where it sits right now) so you could get the Annual more quickly, we finished before the postseason ended. Yeah, we wanted to finish before the weather forced us to move to a sunnier climate. So there will be one more download available to you: Sky Andrecheck’s review of postseason play, once again making use of his Championship Leverage Index and WPA.

One last bonus: There are two special additions to the Annual I haven’t mentioned. Tuck has contributed seven new “toons” to the book and Brandon Isleib has three outstanding sets of trivia puzzlers that will truly challenge the hardcore fan but will entertain the casual fan. Isn’t that what trivia is supposed to do?

And that, my friends, is this year’s Hardball Times Annual. Fantastic articles, chock full of stats, extra downloads and bonus features. What’s not to like?

The Annual is available to $21.95 at ACTA Sports. I know you can get it for less elsewhere, and I can’t blame you for doing so. But know that it costs money to run THT and advertising on the Internet, like everything else, has dried up. Sales of the THT Annual are now our major source of revenue and we don’t really make much money on sales from Amazon and other discount publishers. We make the most money when you purchase the THT Annual through this link.

Please support THT and its writers, and future publications of the THT Annual and other THT publications, by buying directly through this link. If you do, you’ll receive the book several weeks earlier than anyone else, because it will be sent directly to you instead of passing through various distribution centers and that sort of thing.

However you decide to purchase it, thank you for supporting the Hardball Times.

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Comments

  1. Sean Smith said...

    I can’t wait.  From the this preview, the one that interests me the most is Jeff Sackmann’s.  Can’t wait to see what new ideas he might have.

  2. philly said...

    I’m looking forward to a lot of the returning author’s pieces, but I think I’m most looking forward to Ben Badler’s article.  He’s done a lot of interesting stuff over at BA.  Whoever recruited him for this edition of the annual deserves some kudos.

    So… kudos!

  3. Lee Panas said...

    I just ordered it today.  This is always one of the best baseball books of the year so I’m looking forward to it.

    Lee

  4. Pylon said...

    I normally would get a copy, but Calcaterra is so bad, I can’t bring myself to spend money on anything with him attached.

  5. Mike Harris said...

    Honestly, I think you’d have more luck asking people to buy through Amazon and make a donation.  With shipping, it’s almost 2x as much from acta. 

    I’ll put my money where my mouth is.  YOu guys accept donations?

  6. Dave Studeman said...

    I’ve posted the idea of donations in the past, but forgot to this year.  There is a Donation button on the bottom of the right-hand column on our home page.  Thanks for the reminder, Mike.

  7. Mike Trathen said...

    Any chance of getting this shipped outside North America?  Living in New Zealand makes access to good baseball stuff bad enough …

  8. Dave Studeman said...

    Mike, ACTA will ship anywhere in the world, but you may not like the shipping charges.  You can contact them by going to their site through the link in the article and then sending them an email.

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