The Only Rule Is It Has to Work: Our Wild Experiment Building a New Kind of Baseball Team

Ben Lindbergh and Sam Miller. Holt, $30 (368p) ISBN 978-1-6277-9564-7
What happens when two numbers crunchers take command of an independent minor league team? Through some fancy wheeling and dealing, Lindbergh, a staff writer for FiveThirtyEight, and Miller, the editor-in-chief of Baseball Prospectus, are put in charge of the operations for the Sonoma Stompers, an independent professional squad in California. Their task is to scout and sign prospects for a winning season. Using data-driven sabermetics and spreadsheets, the two set a goal of “making the right decision every time, giving players every resource and advantage available.” Lindbergh and Miller are real storytellers, explaining their strengths and defects as they attempt to field a capable team, using the best stats money can buy. They pay tribute to the collection of older, dedicated players who are pleased to play in the minors and have no illusions of making the majors. Armed with data, they gleefully describe their team’s roaring start in the first half of the season, gaining first place, then slipping to a respectable second-place finish. For fantasy baseball junkies and baseball purists alike, this is a vivid, joyful exploration of recruiting and running a team by numbers—and instinct. (May)
Reviewed on: 04/18/2016
Release date: 05/03/2016
Open Ebook - 304 pages - 978-1-62779-565-4
Paperback - 384 pages - 978-1-250-13090-7
MP3 CD - 978-1-5159-5706-5
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