Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Baseball Prospectus Annual 2012: Recommendations for Use

"For me, every year baseball begins with the big, brilliant, beautiful book you are holding in your hands right now."
—Joe Posnanski
Like many of us, today is the day I expect to get home after a maniacal day of cube warfare to find a box with a smiley face on it patiently waiting for me on my doorstep. My family usually beats me home, they have explicit instructions not to mess around with this box.

On this wonderful day…a truly tangible measurement of the true start of the baseball season…I thought I’d share with you my process and provide some recommendations for use for this annual treasure.

Inspect package thoroughly, be sure it’s your copy sitting on the porch and not your neighbor’s.

Unwrap carefully, always be careful with sharp instruments.

Open the book slowly, I always spend at least a minute lovingly inhaling the glorious odor of freshly inked newsprint.

The BP Annual was available on Kindle this year…I don’t have a Kindle, nor do I want one, and if I did I still would have to get the print edition, for the same reason I still prefer vinyl LPs over CDs…the entire experience is very tactile, the ‘first smell,’ if you will, is one of the most joyous parts of it…

First things first…read the Stats section! Things change every year, even if only small changes occur, you owe it to yourself to review these changes before just jumping into the matter without making yourself aware of them. While doing so, be sure your reference note cards are up to date!

YES, I said note cards! No man is an island, and it’s a great idea to make note cards on the different types and classifications of numbers you are about to review. Even if you know them backwards and forwards by now, and even if there are no changes, if you are anything like me, there are a few key metrics you pay more attention to than others. Do yourself a favor and jot these down on note cards, so you can refer to them later. They also make killer bookmarks!! A scientist is lost without his/her note cards!!!

NOW…you need to read the Foreword. Last year’s Foreword by Joe Posnanski was probably the best ever…in fact, it was one of the best Forewords in any print media in the past 20 years or so. Posnanski’s comments brought warm, moist tears of joy to my aged eyes. This year, big shot Hollywood guy and frequent Poscast guest Michael Schur writes the foreword, I’m really looking forward (no pun intended) to this!

NEXT…flip all the way to the back and read Kevin Goldstein’s top 101 Prospects. Sure, you’ve already read the list online, and you’ve followed a thousand discussions about this list on the internets by the time you receive the print edition, but still…go over the list carefully, right now. You can even compare it to last year’s list, along with your 2011 draft notes (you did take notes on the draft, didn’t you?). Kevin’s list is a truly crucial part of the Annual, as a whole…please don’t take it for granted! Due diligence is giving this list the once-over carefully, right now.

Before you go any further, get your copy of The Who: “Live at the Isle of Wight 1970” CD, pop it into your favorite media-player-type device. Queue up track 1, push play…

FINALLY…you can start to digest the team material en masse. You may want to start with ”your” team (or, depending on who “your” team is, you may not want to start there, and instead start with “your” team’s immediate competition). Refer to the Stats section and your trusty note cards as much as you like throughout the process. I typically keep a stack of fresh note cards handy, as I tend to focus on a few key players not just for my upcoming fantasy draft, but also to make pertinent notes and review them throughout the season. Some of these notes induce shock and awe come October (“…they nailed it! ‘Deadly Accurate PECOTA’!!”) and some induce bewilderment (“Lance Berkman! Aieeeeee!!!”). Bathroom breaks are OK, keep the “Isle of Wight” CD going (if you are using a traditional CD player, you get a great break opportunity whilst changing from CD 1 to CD 2). For optimal enjoyment, don’t stop reading…don’t take any phone calls, don’t wash any dishes, don’t turn on the TV for any reason, and don’t get on the internet…until the CD is over.

My workstation set-up...I'm ready!When the CD ends…well, the rest is up to you. This is my ritual, and this is important enough of a yearly event that I felt strongly enough to share it with you. If you have a ritual of your own, that’s great. If you don’t, that’s great too…but if the reason you don’t is because you didn’t order the book, then all I have to say is…you are legitimately missing out on a great and wonderful thing.

You can order the annual on Amazon.com.Bill says: Don’t be fooled by imitations!!!

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(I am @yoshiki89), and also please leave a comment!

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