I received my copy of Baseball Prospectus 2005 earlier this week, but I haven’t really had a chance to dig into it yet. Until tonight. A couple of things caught my eye immediately.

First, take a look at this quote about Wily Mo Pena:

If Pena can ever learn to lay off bad pitches … well, a certain 574-homer guy with a hop-step home run dance looked pretty similar back when he was young — only when Sammy had his breakout season he was two years older than Wily Mo would be if he had his in 2005.

Wow. Where have I heard that before?

In the team essay, while discussing the number of moves made by the Reds in the offseason, this statement jumped out at me:

The flurry of moves made two things abundantly clear: that the Reds again were willing to spend money, and, unfortunately, they were liable to spend it poorly.

I’m going to ignore that, since I’ve made the choice to be optimistic about this season. It was good to see the Reds open up the checkbook during the offseason. Sure, I would have liked for the Reds to have signed some different players, but at least the team looks like they actually care about winning. For the last few years, you couldn’t say that; last year, they didn’t even pretend that they wanted to compete.

Finally, here’s a reason why I keep coming back to Baseball Prospectus year after year. They’re always clever, and always exceedingly fun to read. About our old friend John Vander Wal, BP wrote this (to the tune of “Wonderwall” by Oasis):

Today is gonna be the day
That he’ll slap a pinch-hit single for you
By now you should have somehow
Wondered how at 34 he slugged .562
I don’t believe that anybody
Thought he’d last 14 years except his mom
…Because maybe
We tip our caps to his playing
And after all
He was our Vander Wal

That’s just brilliant stuff. Go buy the book now; it’s worth more than the purchase price.

5 Responses

  1. Chad

    I pre-ordered it from Amazon in early February, and I received it last Monday, I think.

  2. bill

    What’s the most comparable experience to the annual BP arriving in the mail?

    Last day of the schoolyear for children?

    Qualifying for sales incentive on the final day of the sales month/quarter?

    Feeling the first Spring sunshine on your skin after a long Ohio Valley winter?

  3. Rob

    When I was a kid, I was all about the Street & Smiths. I read it cover to cover during the entire season and beyond. To tell you the truth, I’ve never picked up a copy of the BP.

  4. Steve

    Let’s just say I pre-ordered Baseball Prospectus last November…it’s well-written, funny, uses stats as well as scouts in evaluating the players, discusses the players using pop culture; heck the guys even know what the minor league players’ girlfriends look like…and it’s for about $15….what a deal, what a deal, what a deal…

  5. Steve

    One other thing about BP…the team essays are even better than Bill James old articles; the individual player comments are reminiscent of James’s style of writing, but the team essays discuss baseball finances; it’s not every place you find out that a when a player likes Griffey gets hurt early in the year that you can find out doesn’t cost the REds….it cost Lloyds of London; they discuss how a team can win, whether they are big money or small market…baseball has always been a business, but now the books are beginning to open.

    To me, that’s the most recent change in baseball; the books are starting to be cracked and fantasy baseball, of all things, has cracked the door to enlightening the average fan as to what makes a team tick and profitable.

    There’s a long way to go…but, the info is becoming available.