Monday, March 7, 2016

2016 Houston Farm System Handbook

The 2016 Houston Farm System Handbook is now available for purchase and is already drawing great reviews! When I introduced the Houston Farm System Handbook in 2015, almost all of the reviews were of the 5-star variety (one person raved that they loved it but only gave it 4 stars). Astros Announcer Bill Brown complimented me on doing "a masterful job cataloging tons of information on the Astros prospects" and really liked the portability of an e-book.

As good as that 2015 Handbook was, the 2016 version should prove to be even more valuable to prospect fans everywhere with the addition of a "Beyond the Top Prospects" depth chart. Before last season I was touting prospects such as Matt Duffy, Tyler White, Jon Kemmer and Albert Abreu, all of whom landed in Baseball America's Prospect Handbook for the first time recently. In my depth charts, I have identified a number of players who may very well debut in that publication next year, including RHP Dean Deetz, 1B Chase McDonald and many others.

Tony Kemp and Andrew Aplin
Two of the 273 players featured in the
2016 Houston Farm System Handbook
Photo by Jayne Hansen

The Handbook is a minor league media guide on steroids, including:

  • Basic information and profiles on 273 players currently in the Astros system
  • Stats on those players, including stats currently unavailable in any other minor league resource (including inherited and bequeathed runners scored, percentage of pitches thrown for strikes, strikeouts swinging/strikeouts looking for pitchers, extra base hit percentage, stolen base percentage and more)
  • Advanced metrics including BABIP for all the players for each season they've played and FIP for all of the pitchers for each season, as well as wOBA and WRC+ for selected players
  • Comparative stats showing the best (and sometimes worst) players in the system in dozens of categories, from outfield assists and caught stealing rates to walks per nine innings and ground out/air out ratios and everything in between
  • Comparative defensive stats showing every player in the organization who played at least 20 games at a given position and how each player compared against his peers
  • Interactive links to the player's Baseball Reference page, twitter handle, as well as photos, video and interviews from dozens of players
  • A narrative section on each player describing his strengths and weaknesses, often with inside analysis from Astros minor league coaches, managers and others (including Astros Director of International Oz Ocampo)
  • The aforementioned depth charts
  • A section on notable player departures in the past year
  • Minor league coaching staffs
  • Minor league ballpark information
The obvious advantages of having all of this information available as an e-book include:
  • Portable - You can carry 896 pages of information on your smart phone, tablet or laptop
  • Searchable - Look up "save conversions" to see that new Astro Brendan McCurry converted 27 of 28 saves in 2015 or look up "Panama" to see that six pitchers and eight position players currently in the Astros minor league system, including top prospect SS Jonathan Arauz, were born in Panama; those are just two of the many ways the book can be used
The 2016 Houston Farm System Handbook is available for Android or Apple and can be read on your smart phone, tablet, laptop or desktop. It can be downloaded or read in the cloud via Amazon's Kindle Cloud Reader. Buy yours today! Click on the link below for a free preview.

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