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Baseball Prospectus, sometimes abbreviated as BP, is a think-tank focusing on sabermetrics, the statistical analysis of the sport of baseball. Baseball Prospectus has fathered several popular new statistical tools which have become hallmarks of baseball analysis, including VORP (Value over replacement player)[3], PAP (Pitcher Abuse Points)[4], EqA (Equivalent average)[5], PERA (Peripheral ERA), and PECOTA[6]). Voros McCracken's pathbreaking article on DIPS also first appeared on the BP website.[7]

Baseball Prospectus was founded in 1996 by Clay Davenport, Gary Huckabay, Rany Jazayerli, and Joe Sheehan, with the publication of the first annual set of forecasts. The analysis and statistics favored by Baseball Prospectus are similar to the principles followed by Oakland A's General Manager Billy Beane as featured in the book, Moneyball by Michael Lewis. BP has often been considered the modern successor to Bill James' Baseball Abstract series of books in the 1980s.[1]

Baseball Prospectus creates several products:

  • The web site BaseballProspectus.com, which contains articles, statistical reports, and fantasy baseball tools. Some content is free; since 2003, most has only been available to paid subscribers. A dozen authors write regular bylined columns on the site and numerous other writers contribute occasional articles. The site has also covers baseball history as well as current issues and events, including games and series, injuries, forecasts, player profiles, baseball finance, and the player marketplace.[2] In December 2006, BP.com added a new free feature: a blog called "Baseball Prospectus: UNFILTERED."
  • A best-selling annual book (current edition Baseball Prospectus 2007) that contains statistics and analysis of the past season and forecasts of the upcoming season.
  • Other baseball-related books, such as Mind Game: How the Boston Red Sox Got Smart, Won a World Series, and Created a New Blueprint for Winning (2005) (ISBN 0-7611-4018-2) and Baseball Between the Numbers (2006) (ISBN 0-465-00596-9). The latter was chosen by the editors of Amazon.com as the best book on baseball (and third best on sports in general) published in 2006.[8]
  • A syndicated and podcasted radio show, Baseball Prospectus Radio[9].

Writers for BaseballProspectus.com Edit

This is the staff of writers for BaseballProspectus.com as of December 2006, sorted alphabetically by writer's last name. Many other writers contribute occasional articles to the website.

  • Jim Baker – joined the BaseballProspectus.com team in 2004 and writes the "Prospectus Matchups" weekly column, in which he discusses the best, worst, and most interesting baseball series of that week, as well as other topics that strike his fancy. Baker contributed to the first edition of Bill James' Historical Baseball Abstract and also writes for the Boston Herald and ESPN.com, primarily on ESPN's "Insider" and "Page 2."
  • Maury Brown – debuted with a new weekly column on May 29, 2006, called "The Ledger Domain," in which he discusses the business of baseball. Brown is former co-chair of SABR’s Business of Baseball committee and was the creator of the committee's website BusinessOfBaseball.com. He now is editor of BizOfBaseball.com. Brown wrote an essay outlining the collusion rulings in the '80s in Rob Neyer's "Big Book of Baseball Blunders". Brown is a former columnist for The Hardball Times.
  • Alex Carnevale – starting in 2006 took over over the "Week in Quotes" column, which features the most provocative real and surreal utterances of Major League Baseball's players, managers, financiers, and hangers-on.
  • Will Carroll – writes the "Under The Knife" daily column. Each column leads with a brief intro, and then summarizes each of the news-worthy injuries of the day. Carroll also has published two books, one entitled Saving the Pitcher (ISBN 1-56663-578-0), and one called The Juice (ISBN 1-56663-668-X), which won the 2005 Sporting News-SABR Baseball Research Award. He also hosts the BP radio show. He is a contributor on the Fantasy 411. And for ESPN.com he writes a weekly "Carroll Injury Report" column on NFL injuries.
  • Clay Davenport – a co-founder of BP, Davenport is responsible for many of the website's behind the scenes operations, including its advanced statistics, statistical reports, and play-off odds simulations.[3] In addition, he writes occasional columns about new features on the site or other topics. Invented the metric EqA[10] (Equivalent average); created the Pythagenport Formula[11]; created the "Davenport Translations" or "DT's"[12] for translating minor league and international baseball statistcs into American major league baseball equivalents as well as for making major league performance statistics equivalent over time and context.
  • Neil deMause – writes occasional articles about stadium building and baseball finance. He is co-author of the 1999 book Field of Schemes: How the Great Stadium Swindle Turns Public Money into Private Profit (ISBN 1-56751-138-4). He also maintains his own website and writes about sundry matters including sports for The Village Voice and other print and on-line publications.
  • John Erhardt – is the lead editor for BP and through most of 2006 compiled weekly "The Week In Quotes" articles, featuring quotes from the previous week's action and discussion.
  • Dan Fox – writes a weekly "Schrodinger's Bat" column, usually employing hard-core sabermetric techniques, and analyzes varied problems at length. Fox is another Hardball Times alum. He also expounds on sports, technology, history and other curiosities in his blog Dan Agonistes.
  • Kevin Goldstein – writes multiple-times-per week "Future Shock" columns on high school, college, and minor league player "prospects," with an emphasis on scouting rather than sabermetrics. He enhances the year-round content of Baseball Prospectus.com through his coverage of Winter League baseball, Spring training, the Major League Baseball draft, scouting, personnel development, and the baseball player marketplace.
  • Jay Jaffe – during the season compiles a weekly "Prospectus Hit List," which provide a ranking of all major league teams determined sabermetrically and then an analysis of the rankings. Created the widely cited JAWS score for evaluating Baseball Hall of Fame Prospects.[13] Also maintains his scrappy Futility Infielder blog.
  • Rany Jazayerli – a co-founder of BP, Jazayerli writes occasional "Doctoring the Numbers" columns. For many years he also compiled BP's annual Top 50 Prospects list. He invented the concept of PAP (Pitcher Abuse Points).[14]
  • Christina Kahrl – writes bi-weekly "Transaction Analysis" columns, listing and then commenting on each of the 30 major league team's transactions for the time period given. Also the managing editor of the group's annual book, in its twelfth edition in 2007.
  • Marc Normandin – joined the BP staff in 2006 and writes the weekly "Player Profile" column in which he analyzes the record and performance of a particular player from a sabermetric perspective. He also runs a sabermetric website entitled Beyond the Box Score.
  • Joe Sheehan – a co-founder of BP, Sheehan discusses an important topic from the previous day's action in the almost-daily "Prospectus Today" column. Joe co-edited the first Baseball Prospectus annual volume, which appeared in 1996, as well as several subsequent editions.
  • Nate Silver – is the executive vice-president of Baseball Prospectus and writes a weekly "Lies, Damned Lies" column, which often debunks current common baseball opinion. Created the PECOTA forecasting system for hitter and pitcher performance.[15]

Books Published by Baseball Prospectus Edit

  • Baseball Prospectus ’96. Joe Sheehan, Clay Davenport, and Gary Huckabay, Eds. Self-published. 1996.
  • Baseball Prospectus '97. Joe Sheehan, Clay Davenport, and Gary Huckabay, Eds. Washington, D.C.: Potomac Books Inc. (former Brassey’s Inc.), 1997. ISBN 0-9655674-0-0.
  • Baseball Prospectus: 1998. Gary Huckabay, Ed. Washington D.C.: Potomac Books Inc. (former Brassey’s Inc.), 1998. ISBN 1-57488-177-9.
  • Baseball Prospectus: 1999. Clay Davenport, Chris Kahrl, Keith Law, Rany Jazayerli, and Joseph Sheehan, Eds. Washington, D.C.: Potomac Books Inc. (former Brassey's Inc.), 1999. ISBN 1-57488-192-2.
  • Baseball Prospectus 2000. Chris Kahrl, Clay Davenport, Joseph S,. Sheehan, and Rany Jazayerli, Eds. Washington, D.C.: Potomac Books, Inc. (former Brassey’s Inc.), 2000. ISBN 1-57488-214-7.
  • Baseball Prospectus 2001. Joseph S. Sheehan, Chris Kahrl, Clay Davenport, Eds. Washington, D.C.: Potomac Books Inc. (former Brassey’s Inc.), 2000. ISBN 1-57488-323-2.
  • Baseball Prospectus 2002. Joseph S. Sheehan, Ed. Washington, D.C.: Potomac Books Inc. (former Brassey’s Inc.), 2002. ISBN 1-57488-428-X.
  • Baseball Prospectus 2003. Gary Huckabay, Chris Kahrl, Dave Pease, Eds. Washington, D.C.: Potomac Books, Inc. (former Brassey’s Inc.), 2003. ISBN 1-57488-561-8.
  • Baseball Prospectus 2004. Baseball Prospectus Team of Experts on Baseball Talent. New York: Workman Publishing Co., 2004. ISBN 0-7611-3402-6.
  • Baseball Prospectus 2005. Baseball Prospectus Team of Experts on Baseball Talent. New York: Workman Publishing Co., 2005. ISBN 0-7611-3578-2.
  • Baseball Prospectus 2006. Steven Goldman and Christina Kahrl, Eds. New York: Workman Publishing Co., 2006. ISBN 0-7611-3995-8.
  • Baseball Prospectus 2007. Steven Goldman and Christina Kahrl, Eds. New York: Penguin (Plume), 2007. ISBN 0-452-28825-8.
  • Mind Game: How the Boston Red Sox Got Smart, Won a World Series, and Created a New Blueprint for Winning. Steven Goldman, Ed. New York: Workman Publishing Co., 2005. ISBN 0-7611-4018-2.
  • Baseball Between the Numbers: Why Everything You Know about the Game Is Wrong. Jonah Keri, Ed. New York: Basic Books, 2006. ISBN 0-465-00596-9 (hardback) and ISBN 0-465-00547-0 (paperback).

CitationsEdit

  1. See, for example, James Fraser, "'Baseball Prospectus' — Escaping Bill James' Shadow," By the Numbers (Newsletter of the SABR Statistical Analysis Committee) 10, No. 2 (May 2000).
  2. Tim Lemke, "Baseball Prospectus Finds Niche," The Washington Times (December 10, 2006)[1].
  3. Alan Schwarz, "Computers Are a Good Bet on Figuring Playoff Odds," New York Times, August 6, 2006.
  4. Also see Rob Neyer, "The World According to VORP," ESPN.com (February 2, 2007)[2].

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