Bill James 2008 Handbook Available

One of the few good things about the off-season is the arrival of the Bill James Handbook, this time the 2009 edition. Anyone in the writing/publishing business is stunned with the speed this 500 page epistle is correlated, bound and sent out only weeks after the final pitch is thrown in anger but nevertheless, here it is in all it's usual glory.

As usual, the book contains the career record of everyone -- everyone! -- who played in the Major Leagues last season as well as team stats, team efficiency summaries, The Fielding Bible Awards (former Dodgers Adrian Beltré and Franklin Gutierrez won the award at third base and right field). It also lists the top 10 defensive players at each position.

Fielding, manager's tendencies, young talent inventory, hitter and pitcher projections for 2009, career targets and pitcher's on course for 300 wins, plus much more, are included in the remarkable book.

Published by ACTA Sports, the editors call November "Bill James Time" because the can finally get down to the stats, analyze the unexpected (who saw the Rays, Dodgers and White Sox coming?) and look back at the meltdowns (it'll be a cold off-season for Detroit and Seattle).

New features in the book include "The 21st Century Bullpen," written by James. Withe the rapid evolution and greater specialization of today's pitching staffs, James and the experts at Baseball Info Solutions realized that the usual suspects of pitching stats only tell a small part of the story and often don't reveal how effective or ineffective a reliever really is. They use 21 categories, including inherited runners, touch saves, clean outings and blown save wins, they are trying to stretch the record book to cover more of the modern bullpen.

Rob Neyer, ESPN.com calls it "The most essential annual publish for the baseball fan."

This book, for the seventh year in a row contains everything a baseball fan, scout, reporter or General Manager needs to break down 2008 and look forward to 2009. By it at your favorite bookstore or at ACTA Sports, 5559 W. Howard Street, Skokie, Illinois 60077 by calling (847)676-2282 or logging on at www.actasports.com.

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