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December 17, 2006

The Hardball Times Baseball Annual 2007

As recent as the late 1970's, in common baseball circles, concepts such as recognizing the value of "On Base Percentage" (say, compared to "Batting Average") were as foreign as the concept of indoor plumbing is to Borat Sagdiyev today. However, progress can be made - after all, it was just three years ago that "On Base Plus Slugging Percentage" began to appear on the backs of baseball bubblegum cards.

Related, I am a firm believer that, someday, mainstream baseball - in the collective sense of more teams, players, agents, media and fans than not - will learn to embrace the usage of such (presently cutting-edge) baseball statistics such as Win Probability Results and Batted Ball Type Results.

It may take five years for this to happen, or thirty, or even another century - but, when it does occur, it will be (in part) thanks to the good folks at Baseball Info Solutions (BIS) and The Hardball Times (THT) as they have been championing this type of progressive baseball analysis for a while now.

As an example of how BIS & THT are helping to blaze this new trail for baseball statistic appreciation, I highly recommend reading The Hardball Times Baseball Annual 2007 - as I have just completed reviewing The Hardball Times Baseball Annual 2007 and can share (that, in my opinion) it is the new standard by which these types of sabermetric-themed baseball annuals should be judged.

Actually, I should take a step back and qualify that last statement with some further perspective. Last year, I had an opportunity to review The Hardball Times Baseball Annual 2006 - and, at the time, said (about it): "I've read many books like this over the last 25 years and this one is right up there among the best of the group."

Therefore, The Hardball Times Baseball Annual 2006 actually set the bar for my expectations leading into reading The Hardball Times Baseball Annual 2007 - and it was a very high bar. Nonetheless, the annual this year cleared that bar with daylight galore.

The Hardball Times Baseball Annual 2007 provides commentary and study covering what happened in the 2006 baseball season as well as baseball's past. And, it contains pages and pages (and pages!) of unique and telling baseball stats. If you're a baseball stat-junkie, The Hardball Times Baseball Annual 2007 will provide you with a fix that's good right up until Opening Day 2007 (and perhaps beyond).

In particular, I very much enjoyed the features (in this year's edition) contributed by THT Staff Writers John Brattain, Chris Constancio, David Gassko, Dave Studenmund, and John Walsh - along with the guest contributions from John Dewan, Will Leitch, John Burnson, Greg Rybarczyk, and Mac Thomason.

Do you want to know who are the best prospects in baseball? Who are the most valuable pitchers of all-time? What was the story behind the Federal League? Who had the best and worst outfield arms of our time? What's the history and impact of Tommy John Surgery? Which baseball team had the best defense in 2006? How much do ballparks and weather impact hitting? What types of players develop power as hitters? What's the difference between line-drives and strikeouts in terms of run impact? Who controls the batter-pitcher match-up? Then, you owe it to yourself to get The Hardball Times Baseball Annual 2007. All this, and more, can be found therein.

You know, as antiquated as "Batting Average" is in terms of being a useful tool in determining a batter's worth, it does still hold one truth that cannot be denied: If you're batting 1.000, you're perfect.

The Hardball Times Baseball Annual 2007 is batting 1.000 - in terms of providing great and ground-breaking baseball analysis. It's a worthy pick-up.

Posted by Steve Lombardi at December 17, 2006 10:19 PM


I just had the best dream! I woke up and told my wife, and she said I am sick, so I figured I would share it with all and get some feedback. I am posting under a different name than I usually use so others will not dismiss my views on baseball related topics.

The dream all stems from something that happened a couple of years ago. I went to a ST game between the Yanks and the Reds. Carl Pavano was pitching and getting beaten like a bitch, but the Yanks were actually able to gun some guys out at home, so his statline for that game didn't look so bad. Anyways, I left the game with my friend around the 6th inning. He had parked his car in a friend's parking lot about twenty yards from the ed smith complex. When we got in, we saw a dealership Hummer parked on the curb directly outside of the stadium. So, we waited until the Hummer left, and we followed. We got right behind it and at the stoplight before I-75 to Tampa, I got out of the passenger's seat and walked around to the front of the car. My mouth just dropped as I was so amazed. I have never heard of players driving an interstate, because of the danger and the sickos like me. Anyway, Alex Rodriguez was driving, Jeter was slouched in shotgun, Bernie in middle seat left, Gary in middle right, and Tino in the bitch seat. Then, before either they called the cops on me, or the light turned green, I figured I would get back in the car, and we'd follow them on the interstate in case they stopped for food or gas. So, when the light turned green, we followed them onto the interstate, and having not told my friend my hope that they would stop for something, after a couple of miles, he says I'm not going to be a stalker and he gets off at the next exit.

So, the dream! I have been given only 6 months to live, and so I decide to move and spend the rest of my days in Florida. Skipping forward, the Red Sox meet the Reds in a ST game. To make a long story short, I go out to my SUV in the middle of the game and put on motorcycle gear and all sorts of protection. Ortiz, Manny, Schilling, Papelbon, and Matsuzaka are all in their version of the Hummer in my dream, and once we get on the interstate, I take my SUV and run them off the road. Their car explodes and I survive, and after months of investigation, they decide to charge me with first degree murder, I get a jury full of red sox fans, get convicted and get the death penalty. Because I killed red sox players, they schedule me for death one week later with no appeals. My dream ends as I wake up while in the electric chair.

Posted by: champgators06 [TypeKey Profile Page] at December 18, 2006 05:25 AM

With all due respect, next time, please consider using something like:


for this type of stuff. I'm all for a liberal forum here - but, I think a post like this is taking advantage of our open forum. Thanks.

Posted by: Steve Lombardi [TypeKey Profile Page] at December 18, 2006 09:05 AM

That AL East Review sure was crap though, wasn't it?


Posted by: Larry Mahnken [TypeKey Profile Page] at December 18, 2006 10:32 AM

LOL Larry - actually, it was very useful - and it reminded me of some things that I had forgotten about already. I enjoyed it.

Posted by: Steve Lombardi [TypeKey Profile Page] at December 18, 2006 10:58 AM