If you’ve been reading this blog for the last four years, you’ve probably noticed that I’m a fan of The Hardball Times Baseball Annual. And, in case you were not aware of that, here are my reviews covering the last four editions of this work:
- The Hardball Times Baseball Annual 2006
- The Hardball Times Baseball Annual 2007
- The Hardball Times Baseball Annual 2008
- The Hardball Times Baseball Annual 2009
The Hardball Times Baseball Annual 2010 is slated to be released next week on December 1st. However, I’ve had a chance to get a sneak peek at it and can share that this year’s edition is just as good, if not better, than the editions from the previous four years.
Among the many excellent articles and commentary inside The Hardball Times Baseball Annual 2010 are:
- Craig Calcaterra’s hilarious “The Year Iin Frivolity” where the author overlays some fiction on to an overview of the 2009 season.
- Bill James “Strong Season Leading Index” – which you can learn more about by clicking here.
- Jack Marshall’s “The Content of their Character” that provides more food for thought about the consideration that should be given towards a player’s character and conduct than one could ever hope to see in one feature.
- Geoff Young’s interesting and innovative “The Rebuilding Team Fan’s Survival Guide.”
- Chris Jaffe’s enlightening look at why the 1972 World Series was one of the best ever Fall Classics.
- Craig Brown’s all-inclusive and entertaining “The Year the Players Were Set Free” – a journey through the first off-season where free agency came into play.
- Sky Andrecheck’s study on “Championship Leverage Index” – which takes the concept of “Leverage Index” and applies it to an entire season (as opposed to one game).
- Mike Fast’s “What the Heck is PITCHf/x?” – perhaps the best primer/history lesson on what PITCHf/x is all about…how it started…and what it may lead to in the future.
- Tom Tango’s “Miles Per Starter” – a quantitative and illuminative look at the question of what’s best for a starting pitcher with respect to usage (in terms of batters faced).
- Sean Smith’s excellent essay entitled “Relievers Yesterday And Today” comparing the two sets and providing the answer on which is more effective – despite the difference in usage.
- John Walsh’s “Better Than We Thought” where the author adds baserunning and defensive value to batting statistics to paint a better picture on a player’s worth (outside of just what his batting stats suggest).
- Dave Studenmund’s “Oh Lucky Men!” – a statistical look at which players were “most favored by Lady Fortune on the field” in terms of how their teams did versus reasonable expectations.
- John Dewan’s “The Tiger and the Mariner” – a great read on how improved defense can change a team.
And, in fact, the above list is less than half of the features that can be found in The Hardball Times Baseball Annual 2010. As in the past, this year’s addition includes reviews on each division in baseball covering 2009, Studenmund’s “Ten Things I Learned This Year,” a “Manager in a Box” feature (on Paul Richards) and a “Hit Tracker” contribution from Greg Rybarczyk (among other features not already mentioned here).
Oh, yes, there’s also tons and tons of stats in The Hardball Times Baseball Annual 2010…so many statistics that those alone probably bring cause for you wanting to have this work on your baseball bookshelf.
In summary, as always, The Hardball Times Baseball Annual 2010 is a perfect blend of spot-on commentary covering the current state of baseball, entertaining narratives focusing on baseball history, and astute sabermetric analysis – with a huge side serving of cutting-edge statistics. And, also as always, I highly recommend this book.