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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, who's been traded, who has rehabbed a bad knee or arm and who might be overpriced or overvalued must be evaluated.

Now's the time to do it and here are three books and one magazine with their strengths or uniqueness underscored.

The Hardball Times Baseball Annual 2010 edition (365 pages, paperbound, $21.95) has been compiled by dozens of statistical aces who examine and discuss, among other areas, new stadiums (including the Twins' new outdoors Target Field); a way of analyzing the value of relief pitching; which teams improved in 2009; the importance of defense in winning; an analysis of the different pitch types and their values in various situations. There's information about how teams did last year by the month and how they did after major trades. This is a book that provides plenty of food for thought, packed with ideas by a premier cadre of writers and analysts.

Ron Shandler's 2010 Baseball Forecaster (280 pages, paperbound, $24.95) is a must-have tool for fantasy leaguers. This 24th edition is subtitled "The Bible of Finalytics." It covers teams, batters, pitchers; contains batter and pitcher consistency charts; which players offer reliability; players' (five-year) injury histories; fantasy-league variations and strategies; who the top prospects are for 2010; and how to find value when bidding. Overall, this is one of the finest resources for betting baseball futures or picking a team that will produce positively.

Baseball America 2010 Almanac (526 pages, paperbound, $22.95) is an in-depth look at the 2009 season, including minor leagues, colleges; top rookies; highlights of each team's season; batting and pitching leaders; strength of their farm; who's closing in on 600 or more homers; top high schools and players; highest-paid players of all time; highest bonuses ever. If there's a question about the current crop of baseball players and teams, this is the place to find the answer.

Athlon Sports 2010 Baseball Preview (208 pages, magazine, $7.99) has team rosters, schedules, potential starting lineups; fantasy league analysis; top college teams and projections for the 2010 season. A bargain for the price, the magazine is a good starting point for basic information about the upcoming season.
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.

Howard Schwartz Websites:

www.gamblersbook.com
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.

Howard Schwartz Websites:

www.gamblersbook.com