i mentioned last year's guide in a thread some time ago, and a few people asked for more info.
Well, I picked up the new one last week, and I once again recommend it highly.
It will always hold a special place in my heart, because it is the ONLY guide I saw last year that ranked Johan Santana above Josh Beckett. I kept Johan, leaving Beckett unprotected, where he went in the first round. I think we all know how that one worked out.
Anyhow, this year's is on newsstands. Albert Pujols is on the cover. I don't think they have anything online, so you'll just have to hunt it down.
So, here's what it's got:
• 800+ player profiles
This is the meat and potatoes. I haven't seen a guide that comes close.
They are arranged by position in order of their projected value (which can make lookups a little slow, but there is an index).
Each profile has player stats from the past four years, including minor league stats and pre- and post-all-star breakdowns from 2004, and 2005 projections (which I rank among the best).
It has some accompanying "upside/downside" text on each player, which I like because it's not all rosy. It points out injury risks or a batter who struggles against lefties, even for the guys it touts.
It also ranks the "risk" and "reward" of drafting a player, from "x-low" to "x-high."
It also has some really useful fantasy stats that aren't always readily available in such profiles, such as AB/HR, K/9 and K/BB. Those are way more useful than most people know.
• Prospects articles
Broken down by leagues, it has the top 30 for each league in 2005, plus a listing of the top 30 for 2006.
• Team previews and predictions
Includes some key stats and players to watch and players to forget about for each team.
• Rankings and cheat sheets
Serpentine and auction, for mixed and AL and NL leagues.
Some of these will drive people here insane. Their philosophy is very different from most rankings, in that they place very high values on stud starters, consistent relievers and basestealers.
How high? Top three overall are Randy Johnson, Johan Santana and Eric Gagne. In the top 20, there are five starters and seven relievers. Juan Pierre is 17 and Scott Posednik is 31.
Before you throw the baby out with the bathwater, though, the rankings are still useful if you adjust the value more to your style.
And the positional rankings are great.
It also has player rankings from 1-300 and 301-700.
• More stats and projections
Beyond those that accompany the player profiles, it has a set of projections broken down into "most likely," "upside" and "downside." These can give you a good idea of best case and worst case scenarios for guys you draft. Again, I'm a fan of this approach.
It also has listings of the top 2004 hitters and pitchers by league, along with dollar values.
I don't recall seeing anything about this guide in the Cafe, but, as I said, it's my favorite. Based on the recommendations here, I really want to check out the Fantasy Baseball Index, but out of the five or six guides I'm familiar with, this one is the winner, hands down.
And, no, I'm not getting paid for this, although I do sound an awful lot like a commercial ...