It’s the Hardball Times Season Preview 2008!by David Gassko
February 08, 2008
About a year and a half ago, I spent a good number of hours trying to convince Dave Studeman that publishing a book a year wasn’t enough, that in addition to The Hardball Times Annual, our annual review of the previous season, we needed to publish a second book that looked forward to the next season, and so The Hardball Times Season Preview was born.
This year’s effort includes 240 pages of team essays, player comments for almost 900 players, projections and other goodies. We’ve adopted Bill James’ “Team-in-a-Box” format for the essays and tried to maintain a similarly short and incisive style in the player comments.
The team chapters are written by bloggers and THT writers who follow their team every day, and the result is the kind of commentary you can’t get from just looking at the numbers or some news stories.
And if you want to look at numbers, we have plenty of those too. Chris Constancio and I spent thousands of hours revamping the THT projection system, and the results look really good. Besides projecting all the normal statistics, we’ve projected fielding performance for hitters and fantasy values for all players.
We also extended our projections three years into the future, so for each player (save for a few very old ones for whom projecting more than one year is an impossible exercise) we’ve listed their projected change in performance between 2008 and 2010. Reds fans will be heartened by those numbers.
By purchasing the Season Preview, you gain access to a spreadsheet with numbers for all the players included in the book, and many more. We’ll try to update that spreadsheet a couple times as the final free agents pick teams and spring training sorts out the depth charts.
We’ve also included a couple of essays in the back of the book. The first, by yours truly, attempts to predict career statistics and players’ odds of getting to various milestones—basically an attempt to improve on the Favorite Toy. We provide those predicted numbers for a few hundred players in the appendix, and purchasers can also download a spreadsheet containing that information for every player who appeared in the major leagues in 2007.
The second essay highlights prospective rookies, and makes for great reading for prospect watchers, fantasy players and all those who just want to know which young players they should be watching in 2008.
And of course, since this is THT, we’ve scattered some graphics throughout the book. Tuck drew up a phenomenal series of his own predictions for the coming season in cartoon form, and we have some graphs that will help fantasy players better understand which hitters provide value in which categories.
Since I’m afraid of leaving loose ends, I will add that the book contains our projected standings and a player index to make it easy to track down which page your favorite player is listed on. Now I think I got it all, but honestly, there’s so much material in the Season Preview, I still might have missed something.
If this sounds all sounds like something that would interest you, please get on over to our publisher’s website, and pre-order it—the book will ship in a couple weeks (and please support THT by ordering from the publisher). If you feel like you want to learn more, go ahead and read my article previewing some of the more interesting projections in the Season Preview and see the sample pages we provided from the World Champion Red Sox’s section.
I think you’ll agree that two books are better than one.
References and Resources
In case you're wondering who are authors are, here's the rundown:
Jeff Sackmann of The Hardball Times
Ben Jacobs of The Hardball Times
Larry Mahnken of Replacement Level Yankees Weblog
Cork Gaines of Rays Index
John Brattain of The Hardball Times
Mike Pindelski of The Bard’s Room
Ryan Richards of Let’s Go Tribe
Brian Borawski of Tiger Blog
Bradford Doolittle of Kansas City Star
Will Young of Will’s Title is Too Long
Sean Smith of Anaheim Angels All the Way
Sal Baxamusa of The Hardball Times
Jeff Sullivan of Lookout Landing
Scott Lucas of The Ranger Rundown
John Beamer of Chop-n-Change
Craig Strain of FishStripes
Dave Studenmund of The Hardball Times
Jason Weitzel of Beer Leaguer
Chris Needham of Capitol Punishment
Joe Aiello of View From the Bleachers
Justin Inaz of On Baseball & the Reds
Lisa Gray of The Astros Dugout
Eric Johnson of Brew Crew Ball
Pat Lackey of Where Have You Gone, Andy Van Slyke?
Larry Borowsky of Viva El Birdos
Jim McLennan of AZ Snakepit
Brandi Griffin of Purple Row
Aaron Sapiro of Rockin’ the Ravine
Geoff Young of Ducksnorts
Steve Treder of The Hardball Times
David Gassko is a former consultant to a major league team. He welcomes comments via e-mail.