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January 28, 2013

BP Announcements

The Annual, PECOTA, and Fantasy Subscriptions UPDATED

by Ben Lindbergh

In recent days, we’ve started to receive a steady stream of questions about Baseball Prospectus 2013, the upcoming PECOTA release, and the start of this season’s fantasy subscriptions. This post is an attempt to address all of those questions in one place. Let’s take them one by one:

Baseball Prospectus 2013
Baseball Prospectus 2013, the 18th edition of our bestselling annual, is available for preorder through amazon.com and bn.com for $14.38, a 42 percent discount off the list price. Once again edited by King Kaufman and Cecilia M. Tan, the book features comments for close to 2200 players (over 150 more than the measly 2000-something that appeared in last year’s edition), essays for all 30 teams, and a meaty list of baseball’s Top 101 prospects provided by Jason Parks and other members of the BP prospect team. BP2013 also includes additional essays by Colin Wyers and Russell Carleton, as well as a foreword by Houston Astros General Manager Jeff Luhnow, who (as you may have heard) is not unaware of our work.

The official Amazon release date for the book is February 25th, but just as in previous years, we expect the paperback to start shipping as much as a week earlier. BP2013 will also be available in all ebook formats—iBook, Nook, Kindle and more—as well as via iPad/iPhone/Android apps (but not PDF). The Kindle edition, which is also available for preorder, is currently listed at $9.99, and the apps will be available either at the same time as the book or shortly after its release for a price that is still being determined. Last year, we heard some complaints about slowness and wonky formatting in the Kindle-App-iPad versions, but with new software in place, the experience is expected to be much smoother this time around.

The Top 101 rankings (without the comments included in BP2013) will be available on the site after the book starts showing up on your doorsteps and digital devices.

PECOTA
The PECOTA weighted-means spreadsheet will be released to subscribers through the site no later than February 25th no later than February 11th, though we’re aiming for earlier. Projections and comparable players will be made available on the player cards at the same time, and percentiles and diagnostics (breakout, attrition, etc.) will follow shortly after. Manual entry of Depth Chart data will also be completed on or before the 11th, so PECOTA's rate forecasts will be combined with the playing-time projections of MLBDepthCharts' Jason Martinez.

Fantasy Subscriptions
We plan to start accepting fantasy subscriptions on February 15th. As a reminder, fantasy subs cost $19.95 and give you access not only to all of our fantasy articles, but also to the PECOTA projections, Depth Charts, Team Tracker, Player Forecast Manager, Scoresheet Draft Aid, and our sortable statistics and player cards. Our lineup of fantasy articles will be getting a facelift in the next few months, with a number of new series scheduled to run or enter the regular rotation before Opening Day.

We’re all looking forward to the fast-approaching time when we get to start sharing the things we’ve been working on this winter. If you have any questions we haven’t covered here, please email us or leave a comment below.

Ben Lindbergh is an author of Baseball Prospectus. 
Click here to see Ben's other articles. You can contact Ben by clicking here

35 comments have been left for this article. (Click to hide comments)

BP Comment Quick Links

BirdlandPGH

Good news all around. Will you be releasing ten-year UPSIDE figures this year at the same time that the rest of PECOTA gets rolled out?

Jan 24, 2013 14:41 PM
rating: 1
 
BP staff member Joe Hamrahi
BP staff

We're not completely sure of the timing at the moment, but we'll have more info as we get closer to the date. Thanks

Jan 24, 2013 14:43 PM
 
BirdlandPGH

ok, thanks

Jan 24, 2013 14:46 PM
rating: -1
 
DLegler21

Too bad. The weighted means sheet has typically been available much sooner (end of January or very early February). For those of us with leagues going through player acquisition now, this late of a date makes them almost useless.

Jan 25, 2013 03:34 AM
rating: 6
 
BurrRutledge

Agreed. The raw spreadsheet has traditionally been released to premium members in beta-format by the end of January. Would love BP to take another look and see if that can be accomplished again in 2013.

Jan 25, 2013 06:33 AM
rating: 4
 
BP staff member Joe Hamrahi
BP staff

We'll take a look, but we've made some changes and are more interested in making things better than faster. But again, we'll look into it and get back to you.

Jan 25, 2013 07:11 AM
 
bubba3m

Please do. That late January/early February PECOTA spreadsheet has been a differentiator for me by giving me a jump on the trading season for my keeper leagues.

Jan 25, 2013 09:32 AM
rating: 6
 
sfastatsprof

I have to echo these comments. I have used early PECOTA's to help with Fantasy Baseball preparations for years. Here are the dates of my first downloads from successive past years: Feb 9, Feb 10, Jan 30, Jan 30, Feb 1, Jan 18, Jan 28, and Jan 26. I have downloads saved for each of the last 8 years with these actual dates in the file names. PECOTA has more competition than ever. Late February is too late. Every effort should be made to have PECOTA spreadsheets rolling by roughly this time in the year. Actually, I've been checking daily to see if they were posted. My attention will be turned elsewhere for now.. and of course, that means using other projection methods for current preparations.

Jan 25, 2013 18:03 PM
rating: 8
 
Richard Bergstrom

I prefer "better". The last few years have been problematic. Besides, even with the early releases, they were usually rereleased within a few weeks anyway.

Jan 26, 2013 02:20 AM
rating: 2
 
stuckinLF

Timing is better than precision. Rather have 85% of the goodness in January or early February than 95% in mid March.

Thanks!

Jan 28, 2013 18:03 PM
rating: 0
 
Richard Bergstrom

If you care more about timing than precision, why go to a statistician site?

Jan 28, 2013 18:08 PM
rating: -1
 
Sean

Consider the numbers he threw out thereā€”he's giving his personal break-even point. That's perfectly fair since everyone obviously has some trade they'd make of precision for timing. (I'd actually be interested to know what the range of them may be.)

Jan 29, 2013 13:34 PM
rating: 1
 
BurrRutledge

There's no reason we can't get a beta version followed by more accurate subsequent refinements, as we have in the past.

Jan 29, 2013 15:52 PM
rating: 0
 
bobbygrace

Could we get PECOTAs in early October next year? I play in an exclusive dynasty league that prefers to draft on Columbus Day.

Jan 25, 2013 06:51 AM
rating: 10
 
greenengineer

I hope the BP folks recognize sarcasm...

Jan 28, 2013 11:44 AM
rating: 1
 
Richard Bergstrom

No, never...

Jan 28, 2013 12:38 PM
rating: 0
 
John Lowe

I just wish we could get the prospects stuff going on a quicker pace. Every year it starts out pretty good with two teams a week. Then, usually right before Christmas, it slows to a crawl. Even though the holidays have passed, we are still usually only getting one team a week. This is very frustrating to me since I am a Scoresheet Baseball player and I have to make some decisions regarding rookie keepers and I feel like I am uninformed if the Prospectus hasn't covered the teams I need them to cover yet.

Jan 25, 2013 15:33 PM
rating: 4
 
BP staff member Joe Hamrahi
BP staff

Would you rather us prepare them thoroughly or quickly? You may not know this, but almost 40 hours go into preparing the top 10 rankings of each team. There are internal conversations with guys who've seen the players, conversations with scouts, conversations with front office members, and then more conversations with our own staff to rank and write up the player profiles. I know because I'm part of those discussions. Other organizations outsource their rankings to beat writers who rarely see the prospects, and others use other people's material to "rate" their prospects. We don't do that and we won't. Unfortunately, as much as we'd like to satisfy every fantasy player, we can't cater to every individual fantasy league.

Jan 25, 2013 18:28 PM
 
John Lowe

I can understand that, but what harm would come in sharing the top 101. I would think the top 101 is pretty close to being finished since the book is about to come out. It would be great if we could get the top 101 at the same time you send it to the printer. Usually we don't get it that way, but we usually have all of the team prospects done. Last January we got the prospect lists from 10 different teams. This year we are only at five with less than a week to go.

Jan 25, 2013 19:39 PM
rating: 3
 
BP staff member Joe Hamrahi
BP staff

The harm would be that the publisher of the annual would sue us if we put out the top 101 before it was made public via the book. And let me translate that further into realistic terms...if we didn't agree to have the top 101 in the book (first or at all), then we would receive a good amount less revenue for the book. In turn, we'd then either have to raise the price of everyone's subscription, or we'd have to let some writers go because we couldn't afford to pay them. Then other people would complain. As I said, we'd love to be able to satisfy everyone's request, but everything is not simple and black and white.

Jan 25, 2013 22:11 PM
 
accies

Out of curiousity, is it now the case that the release of weighted-mean spreadsheet is legally bound to the release of the annual?

Jan 26, 2013 07:54 AM
rating: 2
 
BP staff member Joe Hamrahi
BP staff

The weighted means spreadsheet is not legally tied to the annual. The top 101, though, is and that was the question I was answering. The weighted means sheet is a totally separate animal that grows more complex each year, and requires a lot of additional inputs, revisions, and review. That's why it takes longer to go to print and requires a lot more involvement from our staff. If people want something that doesn't have the full value it should, sure, we can publish it now, but I'm sure it will set off yet another round of (different) complaints.

Jan 26, 2013 08:46 AM
 
Tommy Fastball

The Pecota spreadsheet was out much earlier last year. I play in a strat-o-matic keeper league that has a very active offseason. I love the BP work, but it is frustrating that it seems information comes out later and later.

I am writing this and hoping that people at BP are balancing what for me (and I'm guessing a lot of other people) is a HUGE desire to have the book, pecotas, and top 10's out sooner than they currently are avialable.

Thankd for the great work.

Jan 26, 2013 21:30 PM
rating: 4
 
Richard Bergstrom

As I recall from last year, PECOTA in the Annual didn't match the PECOTA that was released on the spreadsheet. Then, the spreadsheet had to get adjusted later because there were issues with relievers and depth charts in general.. so the "correct" PECOTA wasn't really finalized until early/mid February.

Jan 27, 2013 07:13 AM
rating: 0
 
BP staff member Joe Hamrahi
BP staff

PECOTA in the annual is always going to be different from the spreadsheet. Let me just clear that up. The annual is done way before many moves are made and before we start manually projecting playing time for each individual player. That always affects the counting statistics especially.

Jan 28, 2013 10:50 AM
 
Richard Bergstrom

Yep I know. Usually the PECOTA in the Annual is revised once the depth charts come out.

Has the logic on the comparable players improved?

Jan 28, 2013 17:56 PM
rating: 0
 
BarryR

I agree with everything you say except...the early PECOTAs were pretty much useless. Playing time was weird, W-L records for pitchers didn't make sense, estimates seemed nearly worthless - all in all, I'd rather the numbers be more meaningful than appear early.

Jan 28, 2013 10:25 AM
rating: 0
 
BP staff member Ben Lindbergh
BP staff

Everyone, we've bumped up the projected release of PECOTA by two weeks. Instead of setting February 25th as the deadline and aiming for earlier, we're setting February 11th as the latest possible date at which the weighted-means spreadsheet will be published. So the PECOTAs will be available on roughly the same date at which we released them in 2011 and 2012, if not earlier.

Jan 28, 2013 10:10 AM
 
bubba3m

Thanks, Ben and team. Appreciate the responsiveness!

Jan 28, 2013 11:04 AM
rating: 12
 
BurrRutledge

Thanks for taking another look & coming through with a solution. Very much appreciated.

Jan 28, 2013 16:37 PM
rating: 0
 
sfastatsprof

I would also like to say thanks for the BP staff's attentiveness to comments here and elsewhere and working hard to get the spreadsheet out by 2/11. Additionally, I'd like to state that I am similar in opinion to at least one other commenter in this thread who stated that "Timing is better than precision. Rather have 85% of the goodness in January or early February than 95% in mid March.". I don't know that my percentages are exactly those, but my sentiment is the same. And as far as the reply that if that's your mode of thought, why go to a statistics site... I'd like to offer myself as an academic stasistician by trade as a counterexample to that rebuttle. Many folks "fine tune" fantasy preparations in late Feb or early March. Having more coarse projections in early February allows the gross work of preparations to begin. Then, we can fine tune in parallel with updates to the PFM and Weighted Means Spreadsheet.

Jan 29, 2013 20:05 PM
rating: 1
 
Richard Bergstrom

Not sure why you didn't reply in-line. I just remember past years where people were griping that 85% wasn't good enough. There'd be a bunch of people saying "What about the 'Deadly Accurate'-ness of PECOTA?" Then there's griping about player comments, FRAA, comparables, PECOTA, etc (some of the griping, I'll admit, I am guilty of).

Personally, I'm pretty happy with how the winter has gone. Generally, BP goes quiet after the Winter meetings to focus on the Annual, maybe posting two or three articles a day. There's been a ton of good winter content. I think it's worth a try to wait for PECOTA to be as accurate as possible. As you yourself say, many teams fine tune their preparations in late February or early March and we're not even into early February yet.

Jan 29, 2013 20:11 PM
rating: 0
 
sfastatsprof

I agree that the winter has gone well here at BP. I tend to think of last years' PECOTA issues as isolated. Yes, there are always bugs, but last year seemed to be an extreme outlier in terms of problems, errors, retractions. Like I said in my original post, I have eight to nine years of stored spreadsheet data and as I review my memories attached to those years of fantasy preparation, 2012 really sticks out as a singularity. You make a very good point about the concept of "griping". We all should be sure that criticism is truly constructive. Sure, many of us pay $35 a year for a service here that we'd like rendered in fine fashion, but at the end of the day, a little kindness and consideration for the workload taken on by the folks at BP shouldn't be so hard to give. I too, have on occasion let my concerns spill over to gripes. Maybe more effort should be made by us all to shower praises on these folks. After all, the bottom line on the current issue is that BP did hear our concerns and act on them. That shouldn't go without a sincere thanks and appreciation. Also, I think the BP staff are smart.. I'm sure they see readers as "griping" at times.. but I also bet they can appreciate the passion and anticipation... despite it being poorly masked by a sour spirit as it sometimes comes across.

Jan 29, 2013 21:14 PM
rating: 8
 
Richard Bergstrom

Very well said.

Jan 30, 2013 07:59 AM
rating: 0
 
DLegler21

I appreciate that some prefer precision but some of us don't have the luxury to wait. Even February 11th is on the outside of being optimally useful. I understand that earlier will lead to less correct assignments of playing time and what not but the value of an early February PECOTA to me is to identify less visible guys that would perform reasonably well if given the opportunity. I can then manually look at the situation on said player's team to assess the likelihood myself - I don't need PECOTA for that. What I can't figure out is why people who want precision don't just ignore the early forecasts?

I do appreciate the responsiveness of the BP team - many a year I have sent out pleas to get the spreadsheet and most years those pleas have been answered - many thanks.

Feb 02, 2013 22:21 PM
rating: 1
 
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<< Previous Article
Purpose Pitches: Remem... (01/25)
<< Previous Column
BP Announcements: 2013... (01/28)
Next Column >>
BP Announcements: Chic... (01/29)
Next Article >>
The Week in Quotes: Ja... (01/28)

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