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'Baseball Prospectus' projects player team performances

4 March 2010

By Howard Schwartz
Spring training games have begun, and it's less than a month until the 2010 baseball season begins. What better way to prepare for fantasy leagues or proposition bets than plowing through the Baseball Prospectus? Edited by Steven Goldman and Christina Kahrl the 652-page paperbound tome sells for $24.95, a bargain for the size. This annual beauty of a resource helps predict who might have a "breakout" season, where to expect major comebacks and how free-agency might impact the season for the perennial contenders like the Red Sox and Yankees. It also covers stuff like park effects (who you might expect will be a run-scoring machine), who the overrated prospects might be and how managers impact the game.

Find out why the compilers think Seattle will improve even more this season (perhaps surprise in some areas) and why the Angels are due for a slide due to loss of key personnel. (The Mariners made big changes in the off-season, plus they are soon to play in an advantageously designed ballpark.)

Fantasy league players will find value here as career statistics are shown and analyzed. Fans who don't bet but who want to become mavens in a bar or group of guys who sound knowledgeable will glean a mountain of interesting angles or things to watch for as the season progresses.

This is the 15th annual edition.

True fans of baseball who wonder about records, by team or player or lifetime and how they came to be compiled and by whom, from the game's earliest days to present, plus the origins of fantasy league play will surely enjoy Alan Schwarz's The Numbers Game (270 pages, hardbound, $24.95). It's about everyone who ever loved the numbers of the game, who ever kept statistics by the pitch, game, season and about the controversies about who "owned the rights" to baseball statistics; how Bill James impacted the analysis of player performance; controversies about managerial strategies like lineup formation; sacrificing; the "100-plus pitch count" and some crookedness in the early days in regard to helping pitchers and batters in career and seasonal numbers.

Peter Gammons called the book "one of the most original and engrossing histories of baseball you could ever read." I agree.

Copyright Gambler's Book Shop. All books reviewed in this article are available from Gambler's Book Shop (Gambler's Book Club), located at 630 South 11th Street, Las Vegas, Nevada 89101 and online at


Playing the slots? Books can ease stress, make it more fun

11 February 2010
Listen! If there were some way that books on slots could make anyone a sure winner, nobody would ever write one! True, but think of it this way -- understanding the concepts of payback, money management, comprehending what random number generators are (among other things) can make playing machines more fun and make your bankroll last longer. ... (read more)

Baseball stat books can help you prepare for the new season

4 February 2010
Four new baseball resources, packed with statistics, analysis and projections, have arrived, each helpful in its own way to the handicapper who loves to prepare as spring training, fantasy league play and the regular season approach. There's a lot of homework to finish before the first pitch. Who's new, ... (read more)

Compact casino guides cover a multitude of games

28 January 2010
For the occasional gambler who's not sure which games to play, one book can often do the job. This is especially good for the family with diverse interests. After all, why buy three different books when one will suffice? Here are several titles worth considering which offer the basics, with ideas and alternatives. ... (read more)

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Howard Schwartz
Howard Schwartz, the "librarian for gamblers," was the marketing director for Gambler's Book Club in Las Vegas, a position he held from 1979 to 2010, when he retired. Author of hundreds of articles on gambling, his weekly book reviews appear in numerous publications throughout the gaming industry.

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