Books give edge in sports books and baseball fantasy leagues

Apr 17, 2012 3:00 AM

The bases are loaded with the latest baseball stats books designed to give handicappers the edge in the sports books and the fantasy leagues.

Heading up the batting order is "Ron Shandler’s 2012 Baseball Forecaster and Encyclopedia of Fanalytics" (282 notebook-sized pgs, $25.95) edited by Ray Murphy.

Touted as "the industry’s longest-running publication for baseball analysts and fantasy leaguers," this annual publication is now in its 26th year. The first 54 pages are titled the "Encyclopedia of Fanalytics" and feature astute articles on the fundamentals, batters, pitchers, prospects and gaming; followed by 26 pages of statistical and gaming research abstracts written by Shandler, Bill Macey and other highly respected major league baseball analysts.

After 144 pages of detailed stats on every MLB player from Abreu to Zumaya comes the prospects section with a list of the "Top 100 Impact Prospects for 2012" from the minor leagues, with a short synopsis of their credentials that should help fantasy leaguers in the conquest of their league’s championship.

The LIMA Plan, Mayberry Method and Xtreme Regression Drafting are three of the strategies discussed in this definitive tome.

If you like this one, you may gain additional value from "2012 Who’s Who in Baseball" (360 pgs, $9.95) edited by Pete Palmer. Short on dialogue (read that "none") but long on stats, baseball fans look forward to the annual publication of this long-running stats compendium.

Its subtitle accurately defines its contents: "Lifetime Records of More than 775 Players, Plus Photos." Justin Verlander, AL Cy Young awardee, AL MVP, and AL ERA leader is featured on its cover, along with NL counterparts Clayton Kershaw and Ryan Braun.

This handy reference guide to batting and pitching stats is in its 97th year of publication, which must be a publishing record of some sort.