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For many years, the Sporting News Fantasy Baseball Guide has been my go-to guide when it comes to planning and preparing for the annual baseball drafts and once again it lies up to its excellent reputation as one of the best fantasy guides around. However, as good as this guide is it does have competition this year for the top spot.
In the following categories – let’s see how it scored.
Articles - Seem unusually lightly written this year, although there are plenty of them covering things like how to judge the seriousness of an injury, cheap closers and position battles, award predictions, guys to be cautious with because of the extra games played due to the World Baseball Classic, strategy, stats, keeper league article, pieces on power hitters, pitchers who’ve thrown a lot of innings and a mailbag feature.
Top 50 prospects we’re likely to see this year plus 10 projected to come up in 2010
Sleeper picks - Scattered throughout, no real section on them
Boom and Bust predictions - Again, scattered throughout
Medical watch - In the position by position section, no master list of guys to watch out for
Cheat Sheets - Check
Team Previews - Check
Depth Charts - Projected lineups, starters and setup/closers...no depth charts
Mock Draft - Check
Position eligibility chart - Hidden in one of the earliest articles “To Know List”
Park Factors chart - With projections for new Yankee Stadium and Citi Field - check
Information Key - I couldn’t find one. Clearly the serpentine draft is based on a 12 team league, but I can’t tell how many teams the dollar values are set on.
Rankings by positions - Well done, with highlights of injury risks, player projections, list of some who might overachieve, some who might underachieve and strategies as to when/how much is the right time/price for each player.
Internet updates - None publicized in the magazine, and it’s unclear if you can view updates up until the season starts for free or if you have to pay.
Player capsules - Well done, alphabetized in a section for hitters and a section for pitchers. Not attached to position by position rankings which makes quick look up easier.
Bonus features which are nice to have - contract year players, pull-out cheat sheets, 3 year statistics.
Upsides: Well done, well written, quality of the information is high. Easy to look up players, solid cheat sheets.
Downsides: Perhaps the most widely available of guides you’ll find on the newsstand - meaning it’s likely that at least some of your competition is reading the same things you are. No depth charts, no mention of free internet updates for guide owners so you might be out in the cold here.
Overall: This is still the best of the fantasy guides on the market but with the competition improving by leaps and bounds the Sporting News Guide is no longer head and shoulders above the rest.
AHP Rating: 3.0 Balls
AtHomePlate.com grades books with the following system:
Four Balls: An exceptional book that truly earns a walk straight to the local book story to get a copy.
Three Balls: This book stands out from its peers and is highly recommended.
Two Balls: A book worth reading/owning and is usually above average.
One Ball: This book has something to say but is nothing special.
Keep reading At Home Plate for more fantasy baseball guide reviews in the upcoming days.
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