Second Opinion: Now Available

I’m pleased to announce that FanGraphs first publication, The 2010 Second Opinion is now available for sale at the price of $7.95! What you get is a PDF and all the information is also available online through your FanGraphs.com account. Here’s the rundown:

Player Profiles – Over 400 in-depth player profiles written by many of the FanGraphs and RotoGraphs contributors you’re already familiar with.

Articles – Closer situations, players coming back from injuries, sophomore players to watch, 2010 fantasy prospects, impact trades, the big questions for 2010, and something that Carson wrote, where he answers your questions before you even ask them!

Stats & Graphs – Each player profile is accompanied by a stat box with 10 very useful stats for both fantasy and real-life player evaluation including spark graphs showing career trends.

Team Previews – Each team is previewed for next season, giving you the rundown on what to expect from a fantasy and real-life standpoint.

Bonus Material – FanGraphs has partnerned with ESPN Insider this season and if you purchase the PDF, you’ll have access to anything we write for ESPN Insider right here on FanGraphs.com up until March 1st, 2011.

Online Integration – In addition to the PDF, you will have access to all the information in the book on FanGraphs.com when logged in to your FanGraphs account. This information will include the written player profiles which will be integrated into the stats pages and all the articles and team previews in the book.

If you run into any payment problems or other issues please fill out a contact form and we’ll try and solve the problem as soon as possible!




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David Appelman is the creator of FanGraphs.


77 Responses to “Second Opinion: Now Available”

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  1. Spence says:

    Do I get something special for buying it first?!!?!?

    Haha, no but really it’s awesome.

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  2. cavegravedave says:

    people pls support this consumer-oriented product. Fangraphs is virtually free, provides a full RSS Feed (so you dont have to click to their site and see their ads to read their content) and delivers a digital-pdf downloadable premium content (basically you get the full value of the site for a mere $7.00 because you can read their premium articles on ESPN as well). This is very unlike the competition out there (BP) that doesn’t bring the same quality of analysis and uses tacky marketing tactics to nickel and dime their users/viewers.

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    • Sky Kalkman says:

      Just curious, what are the tacky marketing tactics you don’t like from BPro?

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      • cavegravedave says:

        I was referring to the other BP (i dont want to say their name because they dont deserve the promotion).

        You pay $40/yr for their middling analysis … terrible site … faulty stats and recently innacurate projection system. They only publish their headlines in RSS feeds (even for paying subscribers) so that you have to click on their site and see their ads to read the content — and a lot of times during their premium articles they’re subliminally upselling you on their book “this is explained more in this years book!! … get the book !! .. the book is awesome !!”

        Fangraphs is complete opposite of this approach .. and we should all be VERY appreciative of it .. i know i sure as hell am.

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  3. poodski says:

    Its messed up the ink to print this thing will cost more than the file itself.

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  4. EnglishMariner says:

    To be honest I’m not interested in reading a .pdf, I prefer to read things like this in print. However I have bought it simply because I think this site is wonderful and I want to support your efforts. I hope in the future we will see things like this in print to rival things like the Baseball Prospectus 2010, which I know is not as accurate as FG but I like to read nevertheless.

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  5. Marc Hulet says:

    Even if you don’t like reading a PDF, all the articles, profiles and team previews are available right on the site once you buy the book… (along with the ESPN coverage) so you can read them at your leisure all year long.

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  6. JWay says:

    This is amazing. Thank you.

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  7. Sky Kalkman says:

    David, love that you’ve integrated the content with the site. How 21st century of you.

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  8. Sky Kalkman says:

    David, what projection system did you use for the stats?

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    • We used whatever the latest FAN projections were (think it mentions it in the glossary). I think for fantasy purposes, they’ll work out quite well. I’m actually going to experiment this season and use them as my only projection system in fantasy leagues this year. We’ll see what happens!

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      • Sky Kalkman says:

        Cool. I’m using them for the Ball on a Budget league over at BtB. I definitely think they’ll stack up quite well to CHONE/ZiPS/CAIRO once some adjustments are made. And I’d guess that if you regressed all projection systems against actual performance, you’d find out that the Fans projections are an important, significant piece of the puzzle.

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  9. memo_rivera says:

    Same as a previous comment. Love the site and looking to support any new efforts.

    The addition of keeping track of personal player stats.. fantasy or otherwise is great. Easy to use.

    Thanks.

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  10. Tim says:

    Questions:

    Would the profiles/articles/previews that are unlocked by the pdf purchase be accessible via the iPhone app? If that’s the case I’ll likely purchase both.

    Also, how many pages is the pdf? I would probably print it at work but if it’s more than a couple hundo pages that might be too much.

    Thanks for the innovative product offering- I love ebooks, I think this is a fair price, and I like that you’re using an open distribution format.

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    • We won’t be doing any iphone integration this year with the PDF, though this has been suggestion a number of times so we’ll definitely look into it if we do this next year.

      There are 581 pages, so I’ll admit it’s not ideal for printing out the entire thing, but to keep the costs down, this seemed like the best solution.

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      • cavegravedave says:

        I love the fact that I can purchase the product digitally – thank you!

        It makes it a convenience to be able to access the product anywhere I have an internet connection.

        And if I want to read without some mobi device I can print out a few chapters.

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  11. cavegravedave says:

    Not to mention it keeps Fangraphs cost down, which keeps my costs down. Thank you for that too.

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  12. JWay says:

    The fact that I can now see all the stuff on the website integrated makes it an even better steal. Again thank you!

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  13. Its not my business, but shouldn’t you advertsie this in a banner at the top of your site? I don’t usually read every post, but of course I’d buy the product & I don’t think I’m atypical (except for my skillset).

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    • Sky Kalkman says:

      Yeah, David, I’m surprised you only have the Second Opinion ad on the front page and not on interior pages: articles, players, RG front page. Also, any chance you’re going to roll out an affiliate sales program for this?

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      • It’ll definitely be a bit more visible throughout the site probably starting next week. We were happy we hit our deadline and didn’t want to delay it just because I couldn’t roll out a full marketing campaign. ;)

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  14. ShaneSpencer98killa says:

    Curious… There’s no copyright issue if i send this to Kinkos to print out and bound? I have a crappy printer and this with the BP 2010 and the Fielding Bible will be like sacred baseball text for me this year especially with my team if the name wasn’t the giveaway. If not, I understand and will read it online?

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    • That’s fine by us! You can do whatever you want with the PDF file, so long as it’s for personal use and you’re not distributing it.

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      • Newcomer says:

        David, for the sake of the few who seem upset with the lack of a book form, you might want to make a more prominent statement mentioning ShaneSpencer98killa’s suggestion. Sure, there are a lot of pages, but the cost to have them printed will probably compare with buying a similar book in hard copy. I’ll admit that I’m not too familiar with Kinko’s/FedEx’s prices, though…

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  15. Rich Alan says:

    Damn, you guys are awesome. I would have bought this even if it sucked as support for providing me with my favorite place to kill time while I’m on the clock. But of course it doesn’t suck. And $7.95? I feel like I’m stealing right now, and with a high success rate!

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  16. rlintott says:

    One quick question on this: what do the lines in the stat graphs represent? Since there aren’t labels for the Y axis, I’m just trying to figure it out.

    Fantastic product though. Thanks for putting this together and making it available for such a great price!

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    • The graphs are really just to try and assess career trends. The line that goes through the middle is “average” for whichever stat row it’s in.

      The white one that’s unfilled in at the end is what the projection says. I think I’ll probably make a post about these to open a discussion on what would be useful to have in them. They’re something I’d like to put up on the site too because I think it’s a quick way to assess a player.

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      • rlintott says:

        Thanks for the answer. I had a feeling that’s what they might be. As such, I think they’re pretty useful. If they were to go on the site, I think perhaps having a larger y axis would help see differences a bit more clearly. Obviously that wouldn’t work for this, since there’s only so much space.

        Thanks again!

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  17. Josh says:

    I read through all the articles. Good stuff. Well worth the 7 bucks. Pretty sure I’d purchase just about anything you guys put out. I also noticed the player blurbs now appear on the player pages. Nice feature.

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  18. Josh says:

    Out of curiosity, where would Valverde fall in the closer tiers? Is there a more appropriate place I can post this question?

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  19. Todd Doug says:

    Bought it last night, finally got to look at it today. I dig it, very much worth $7.95. Hopefully, no one else in my fantasy league reads this site. Keep up the great work!

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  20. Edwincnelson says:

    Bought it as soon as I saw it was available. Fangraphs rocks.

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  21. astrostl says:

    “You can download the book at any time using the download link to the right.”

    I just bought the PDF and received an email receipt, but I am unable to locate a download link to the right – just a BUY NOW banner which leads me to a repeat purchase. Took a screenshot of it, Firefox browser with a very popular add-on (if you guess what it is you can surmise why I’m not naming it!).

    So

    1) I’d be much obliged for a direct link or navigation instructions to one and

    2) On the printing front you might want to check out http://www.pragprog.com/ for publishing. They primarily deal with technical/programming books, but they’ve got an infrastructure set up around combined eBook and print publishing. You’ll take a hit in margins, but might make more money overall in combined sales.

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  22. DavidCEisen says:

    Very good publication with great information. My one complaint is that it could be better edited.

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  23. YankeesJunkie says:

    Will this be coming out in some sort of print format? I would love to see the info because this sight truly offers some of the best indepth analyst in baseball stats and anyway to get this site more money to continue to improve on its stats would be well worth it.

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  24. longbeachyo says:

    Looks great! I’ll try and talk my wife into letting me get it. Just one question, isn’t it a little early to be projecting lineups??? My draft is on the 27th of March and it always seems like the lineups change a lot…

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  25. Iron Mike Devereaux says:

    Worth it for the player profiles alone. Best eight bucks I ever spent!

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  26. noseeum says:

    hey guys, great work.

    You might want to consider collaborating with http://www.blurb.com/ next year for publishing. Those of a political bent may be aware of Andrew Sullivan. He used blurb to publish a book called “A View From Your Window” which consisted of about 200 color pictures sent in by his readers.

    They setup a window for pledges and were able to get the per book price for a full color print to $16.95. In your case there doesn’t need to be much color, which should help with pricing. You should get a good feel for demand this year, and it would be easy to ask for pledges in the same way. If you had enough pledges to get the price near $20, that would be a great alternative to the pdf, and you could of course include the pdf and online access in the pricing.

    Here’s a summary from andrew’s site:
    http://andrewsullivan.theatlantic.com/the_daily_dish/2009/11/the-view-from-your-window-buy-one-today.html

    http://andrewsullivan.theatlantic.com/the_daily_dish/2009/11/announcing-the-view-from-your-window.html

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  27. Jeff says:

    Is there a sample player profile page? I know it’s cheap, but I don’t want to drop $8 without even a hint of what the content looks like.

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  28. CSJ says:

    The product is great and I haven’t had the chance to read through all the articles yet. The only complaint I have is that some of the players who signed later in the offseason. Would it be possible to just have these players pages updated or is that too close to the publishing date?

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  29. jlogandjr says:

    No Jordan Zimmerman. It may sound odd, but looking for a fantasy angle, I was wondering if there would be an article, a mention or even just a list of players coming back from injury, or those to stow away for next year….nothing on Jordan Zimmerman or Jake McGee.

    As someone that has read Baseball Prospectus since their first copy and free web site, I love insightful baseball information that comes out and want to thank you for making it digital. Thats definitely the way to go. Thank you FanGraphs.

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  30. RahulN says:

    Loving the book, of course. One small suggestion/request: On the online version of the team previews, it would be fantastic if the player names could be links to their fangraphs profiles! This would be very convenient. Thanks!

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  31. Kent Bonham says:

    Congrats on the book, guys!

    I just bought and downloaded it. Very cool to see the way the player comments are integrated into the site’s player pages.

    I don’t even play fantasy baseball, but there’s plenty of value here to make it worth anyone’s money. Plus, it’s also just nice to have another way to support FanGraphs.

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  32. tommie says:

    Personally I am not going to purchase it.

    But I’ll post the link on all the fantasy leagues I play in and hopefully if nothing else, more people would know of this great site.

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  33. clivestaples says:

    582 Pages and no pdf bookmarks…really?

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  34. I bought it and read it this weekend. It seemed cheaply priced, but now I understand that its really a $50 product with the following discounts:

    Edwin Jackson, typo (Yolk, not Yoke) = -$1
    Ryan Madson, typo, (some, not same) = -$1
    Hawpe, pun, (hop out of town) = -$5 and 6 years in the punitentionary
    Cliff Lee, egad! (“thanks to playing for a good offense” [the Mariners]) = -$35.05

    That equals $7.95

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  35. jhtesq says:

    I bought it and mistakingly did not down load and save.
    I can’t access it now and the comments do not show on pl;ayer pages.
    Its well worth but I would like to see it again.

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  36. johntee says:

    David- Thank you for your prompt response and pointing out my error in logging in. This is a great product which all fantasy players need to have. Hopefully the players in my league won’t find out about it.

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  37. hojusimpson says:

    I’ve been a Braves fan since 1989 but stopped following baseball seriously in 2000 and entirely around 2002 (due to other priorities, distaste and other reasons).

    I re-entered the sport after discovering MLB: The Show 06 and advanced statistics. The places that helped me ‘unlearn what I had learned': THT, The Book blog and, of course, Fangraphs. Since then, I have been deeper into baseball than I ever was, appreciating more nuances and players than ever before. I truly feel rejuvenated and reinvigorated.

    For all that this site has given me, it’s a no-brainer paying approximately $8 for a quality product such as this (elevated Mariners offensive prowess aside, as Steve Balboni pointed out).

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  38. NadavT says:

    I’m loving the Second Opinion so far, but it seems like some of the player profiles could use an ADP-based reality check. For example, in the profile for Ben Zobrist, it says:

    “Odds are his fantasy value will be inflated because of how good he was last year, and while this is by no means saying he’s turning back into a pumpkin, it’s just hard to see a first- or second-round pick being worthwhile given the potential flukiness of such an extraordinary campaign.”

    According to Mockdraftcentral, the highest that Zobrist has gone in the last 160 drafts is 37th, and his ADP is 55.4, so most people already don’t think that Zobrist is worthy of a first- or second-round pick. A more useful question would be whether he’s worthy of a fourth- or fifth-round pick. Similarly, Jose Reyes (ADP: 22.4, lowest pick: 34th) is described as a “high-risk, high-reward selection in the middle rounds.” Does that mean he’s not worth the risk in the second or third round?

    To really add value to fantasy drafts, it’d be nice if the Second Opinion player profiles incorporated a bit more context in order to advise whether certain players are likely to be worth targeting in drafts or not.

    Thanks!

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    • Thanks, that’s definitely good feedback for us, and on the next go around I’m sure ADP and also fantasy $ values is something we’ll delve into a bit more.

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      • Dingo says:

        Cool. The ironic thing is that you guys have set such a high bar in terms of the value that people expect from this guide. With all of the stuff that you provide on this site for free — advanced stats, multiple projection systems, in-season projection updates, high-quality trend analysis — it’s almost impossible to create a product that improves on that.

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  39. wasabibean says:

    Any chance you guys would make this data available in spreadsheet form for those who purchase? I’m sure you must have it somewhere like this… That would be a great value add for me.

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    • Which data in the book would you like in spreadsheet form? A lot of the data on the site can already be exported in the either the projection section or the leaderboards.

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  40. wasabibean says:

    Not much more than is on the site now. Just like the top 600 players with a sheet for each CHONE, ZiPS, Fans, 2009 and years previous. Not to say this data isn’t available, but it’s hard to line it all up.

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  41. giantsrainman says:

    Not Related to This Subject

    But Zips is now done for all 30 teams and has been released for both Diamond Mind and Excel so what is the holdup with it being available here?

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  42. Brent Pearson says:

    Sold! I have had Fangraphs bookmarked for a few years now and set as my homepage. I had not registered for the site until now. This is great work, fellas!

    -Brent

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  43. kellemonster says:

    I bought it as soon as I heard about it, and I think it was worth $8. But I guess I’m disappointed with using the fans projections. As Tom Tango has pointed out again and again when writing about projection systems, CHONE and ZIPS are much better than the fans on rate stats, but the fans are good at projecting playing time. So why not do an averaged projection of CHONE and ZIPS for the rates and then the fans for playing time.

    Now, maybe CHONE and ZIPS are not licensed for commercial sale, and that’s why you couldn’t use them, and I know ZIPS wasn’t even ready in its first build until a few days ago, but I think it would be worth it.

    And then I’d really like it if suggested auction values and draft positions were included in this book as well.

    Finally, the career trends don’t seem as interesting to me, I’d rather have more analysis or more lines of compact stats than those graphs.

    This is just me, but it is what I’d like.

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    • I really appreciate the critique of the book since we definitely want to improve on it next year.

      For me, projections will never be a selling point of any of our products. You can get great ones (CHONE, ZiPS, Marcels, etc…) for free and in truth they’re all very similar.

      As for the FAN projections, since this is the first year it’s running, I don’t know if we know enough yet to say that CHONE and ZiPS are much better at predicting rate stats. It’s true that the FAN projections are scaled too high on a team level, but on an individual level it’s unclear exactly how well they’ll do.

      This post by Tangotiger actually says that optimistic projections may not be a bad thing: http://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/index.php/is-it-bad-to-have-an-optimistic-forecast/

      When it comes to stats/projections, my thoughts were: they’re free on the site, but it’d be nice to have some frame of reference when reading the player profiles, so we included something that we had the rights to. I think initially we were not going to have any projections in the book at all, but figured we may as well include something.

      I would say that stats always seem to be tough to balance in our two pay products (The Book and iPhone App) that have limited “screen space”. We want to include something useful, but obviously can’t have the depth of stats available on the site, so we have to pick and choose what to include and it’s never a perfect balance.

      For this particular product, since all the content is also available online in the player pages, you can in some sense have the best of both worlds.

      Auction values and draft positions are a great suggestion and we’ll definitely have something along those lines in next year’s edition.

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      • Sky Kalkman says:

        “For me, projections will never be a selling point of any of our products. You can get great ones (CHONE, ZiPS, Marcels, etc…) for free and in truth they’re all very similar.”

        To me, the presentation of projections is where the real value add is. Add manual (fans!?) playing time projections. Provide a perfectly ready-to-go and nicely formatted spreadsheet. Include position eligibility. Include pre-made dollar values or a dynamic dollar-value generator. Include dynamic cheat sheets. Include multiple projections systems or a number that shows how well they agree or a range representing the difference between the lowest and highest system.

        Same base data, much more useful.

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      • kellemonster says:

        I understand that projections can be had from other sources, but I think it’s a real benefit to limit the projections to only the players in the book as opposed to having to do it manually since these systems project a lot more players than will be relevant in fantasy. Furthermore, I’d like to have the best proven projections to look at while I read the analysis, and if the FANS projection tests well, I’m willing to do that.

        And even if you decide not to go with many stats in the book itself, here’s something that would increase the value of your product by at least $5 for me:

        If the purchaser got set of spreadsheets that:
        (1) Combines CHONE and ZIPS and limit things to only the 500 relevant fantasy guys (2) calculates out all the things that the spreadsheets from CHONE and ZIPS don’t give you but are relevant for fantasy (K%, BB%, K/9, BABIP, etc) (3) add fan/community projections to project playing time (4) also show me an average of those two projections for the 500 players and (5) highlights where the standard deviation in the component stats for the two projections (6) figures out what the auction and draft values for players that the CHONE, ZIPS, and combined projections turn out to be. This would save me some where around 5-10 hours.

        And currently I’ve been buying shandler’s books. His are the only projections that I’ve seen that: (1) project batted ball data (and HR/FB rates); (2) Give consistency grades from A to F for how big the player’s error bar is; (3) give health grades based on amount of DL days over the last five years and (4) provide a +5 to -5 ranking for how positive or negative their luck was last year (so you can know who might be over or under valued). If you had a projection system that could give me this, you would have a better product than Shandler (since his projections are worse).

        I know this is a lot to ask, but I think if this was done you’d have a better product for Shandler that you could sell for $20.

        I also know that everyone has other commitments too, just throwing stuff out there.

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      • Sky Kalkman says:

        “(4) provide a +5 to -5 ranking for how positive or negative their luck was last year (so you can know who might be over or under valued)”

        That’s a cool idea. Another way to address that is to compare a player’s previous season’s value to his projected value. I find people tend to overrate the previous season compared to the player’s entire track record. Not as much of a help with rookies or sophomores, but it’s a start.

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  44. cavegravedave says:

    Fangraphs, I’m a big fan. Please don’t ever lose your brand image as “my friend, that’s more interested in helping me better understand the game, than getting into my pocketbook”

    In today’s world it’s hard to trust any company/brand — which makes Fangraphs such a special place for me. I fully unequivocally trust that Fangraphs main priority is helping me better understand the game of baseball 1st, and making money is a residual of that first priority and not vice versa.

    Please don’t ever lose that.

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  45. -------- says:

    How about a trade of Aaron Poreda, Logan Forsythe, Saywer Carroll, and Will Venable for Grady Sizemore. The Padres lineup becomes:
    1. Everth Cabrera
    2. David Eckstien
    3. Grady Sizemore
    4. Adrian Gonzalez
    5. Kyle Blanks
    6. Scott Hairston
    7. Chase Headley
    8. Nick Hundley

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  46. verd14 says:

    I love this publication. Having said that, why did you guys decide to list the player profiles alphabetically, rather than by position and rank? I’ve noticed that as I update my fantasy cheat sheet by position it’s taking me some time to search the pdf by player (especially when the player’s name shows up more than once), rather than clicking the next player on the position. Just something to think about…

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  47. Pete says:

    Hi guys, love the site, actually use it about 10 times more than the pdf, BUT I bought it anyways.. for 7.95 its worth it for me just to use the site, and I like the fact you don’t push it down my throut with pop ups everywhere .. keep up the great job you guys are doing and stay true to the game and not “the man” and I’ll keep buying :)

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  48. futant462 says:

    I’d pay 79.95/yr for access to your SQL DB’s :-)
    Any chance of anything like that for the “part time baseball data-analyst with too much time & money but not enough data” niche market?

    ahh, to dream…

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