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Saturday, February 09, 2008

THT Season Preview 2008

I'm excited to announce that the The Hardball Times Season Preview has been published!

This past offseason, I was very pleased be re-invited to contribute the chapter on the Cincinnati Reds for the second edition of this book. In last year's book, my contribution was a 3-page summary of the Reds strengths and weaknesses, player movement, and likely results moving forward into the season. The result of my and the other authors' work was a very useful publication that I referred to time and time again throughout last season.

This year, we've done it one better--or, you could say, 900 better! In addition to a similar-format team essay, each writer was asked to put together comments on roughly 30 players on his/her team (~900 players altogether). My contributions include concise, yet detailed analysis of everyone from Brandon Phillips and Aaron Harang to Joey Votto and Johnny Cueto. As a sample, here are my comments on phenom prospect Jay Bruce:
The 2007 Baseball America and Sporting News Minor League Player of the Year skyrocketed through the minors last year, starting in A-ball and reaching (and dominating) AAA by the end of the season. As arguably the #1 prospect in the country, Bruce has achieved near-godlike status among Reds fans, and his arrival in Cincinnati--whenever it happens--may end up being the biggest event of the year. The Reds tend to handle their prospects conservatively, so it seems unlikely that Bruce will make the team out of spring training. Nevertheless, the trade of Josh Hamilton opens a major hole in center field, and Bruce has a way of advancing faster than the Reds seem to anticipate. No matter what, he seems like a lock to arrive by mid-season. When he does arrive, he may have some initial struggles, as some have voiced concerns about his ability to make consistent contact early on. But he's only 20 years old, he's got a lot of room to improve, and THT's projections indicate that he's already capable of putting up plus offensive numbers. It's going to be fun to watch this kid develop.
The combined efforts of myself and 29 other authors is a 240-page book containing team essays and comments on roughly 900 players written by the people who live and die with their teams every single day. Add to that an improved, sophisticated 3-year projection system by Gassko and Constancio, and you've got a heck of a resource to keep handy throughout the 2008 season.

David Gassko has posted a more detailed overview of the book here, as well as excerpts from one of the team chapters, so that you can get a good handle on what you're purchasing. I really do think that this may be the best season preview book on the market.

You will be able to find the book in your local fine bookstore soon. However, we'd really appreciate it if you would instead purchase it through our publisher, ACTA Sports, as THT receives almost no money from purchases through other venues. Thanks, happy reading, and feel free to discuss the book in the comments here if you wish!