Title: The Baseball Prospect Book 2005
Author: John Sickels
Publisher: Walsworth Publisher
Pages: 447

This book was published quite a while ago; it just took me a long time to get to it. For that, I apologize. Now I will get to the actual book, because that is all that matters.

John Sickels begins the book the same way as last year’s version: by giving a little bit of background of the tools that he uses to evaluate players. This includes the theory of the “Seven Skill” player, as well as SEC, which measures the batter’s abilities to produce. Pitchers are rated on perhaps some of the most important statistics. They are as follows: K/BB, K/IP, and H/IP.

The second section of the book is a review of Sickels’ 2004 Top 50 pitchers and Top 50 players. His picks performed quite excellently and I hope that my Top 51 prospects can perform near the same level.

The third section is the money part of the book. There are nearly 400 pages of prospects, totaling nearly 1000 in number. Sickels gives the previous two years’ worth of stats for each player; vital information like DOB, position, and team; plus a four or five sentence quip about the talents of the player and what he could turn into. My Top 51 prospects, nowhere near as well researched or written, took a lot of time to compile. To imagine a book doing this for 1000 players is absolutely insane.

On top of all this work, Sickels manages to give a grade to every prospect. The best grade is an A and the worst is a C-, where an A is a player who should be a future star, while a B should be a valuable player, and a C a bench player or career AAA player. Sickels adds information about the leagues that players play in so readers can be aware of unexpected statistics, as well as giving some advice of what major league clubs should do with these players. All of this is written excellently, with a good amount of humor added.

The final portion of the book has a wrap up of all the players, which is a handy guide. The players are listed by organization, so readers can check up on their favorite team and see what kind of talent are down on the farm. The prospect bombardment continues with a Top 50 hitters and Top 50 pitchers list for the upcoming season. Sickels does a fine job delivering this (especially with Braves farmhand Andy Marte at the top of the list).

There are so many prospects covered here that it makes for an excellent read. All in all, I give this book three balls of four for the average baseball fan. If you really enjoy following the minor leagues, whether for your favorite real team or for the future of your fantasy team, this book is a definite must buy.

Our Rating System is based on a four ball system as follows:
One Ball: Average. It has something to say but is nothing special.
Two Balls: Something men usually have - also means its a cut above average, and worth reading/owning.
Three balls: Stands out from its peers and is highly recommended.
Four Balls: More than just what two men have when hanging out together, it means it is an exceptional book that truly earns a walk - straight to the local book store to get a copy.