fantasybaseball2Every year I look at the FBI index and wonder, Why did I liked this guide so much in the past?  Then I start reading and it comes back to me.  This isn’t one of the best guides out there -- it leaves out far too many of the key features I expect in a guide (like a mixed league dollar value cheat sheet) -- but the quality of the articles, and the quality of analysis, is top notch.  It’s not the guide I’d want to base my draft on -- it’s just a little too raw for that -- but it is a good one for finding gems of information that other players in your league have probably overlooked.

In the following categories - let's see how it scored.

1) Articles - An interesting assortment of articles, including some nice articles on evaluating players, an experts poll, predictions, and a fluff piece on the last page.

2) Top prospects - Sixty-two of the best prospects who should make a fantasy impact in the immediate future along with when John Sickels’ estimate of just when we will see them in the big leagues.

3) Sleeper picks - No section clearly defined.

4) Boom and Bust predictions - Small box on page 49 talking about guys who are coming off an unexpectedly great year and likely to disappoint.

5) Medical watch - Little boxes throughout the guide which point out guys who have injury history, play at injury prone positions or are recovering from injuries.  Hardly complete or easy to scan and not consistently placed.

6) Cheat Sheets - Has 4x4 and 5x5 AL Only and NL Only dollar values and rankings, mixed league rankings but NO MIXED LEAGUE DOLLAR VALUES!!!  Lack of adequate serpentine cheat sheet (only top 75 players are ranked).

7) Team Previews - Solid previews.

8) Depth Charts - Projected lineups, starters and setup/closers for all 30 teams - Check.

9) Mock Draft - None.

10)  Position eligibility chart  - None.

11)  Park Factors chart - None.

12)  Information Key - Printed on the pull out stat projection sheets.

13)  Rankings by positions - Done in sections with associated player capsules. Sadly the capsules are not alphabetical.

14)  Internet updates - Cheat sheet updates available via their website (info is on the cheat sheets in the magazine) which will reflect changes in auction values.

15)  Player capsules - Thin in numbers compared to some other guides, analyzing just 786 players (according to their blurb on the cover) and found only in the ranking by position section.  Not alphabetical, but organized by how the magazine ranks them, making quick look up impossible. Quality however is very good and from respected sources.

16)  Bonus features which are nice to have - Pull out player projection charts with dollar values attached.

Upsides:  Outstanding in-depth articles on topics like projecting ERA, quality of analysis in the capsules, depth charts and team previews.  Pull out player projection sheets for 2009, internet updates for cheat sheets.  Well explained dollar values for both 4x4 and 5x5 leagues

Downsides:  Aside from the mysterious fact that they don’t project mixed league dollar values, or go past the top 75 overall for serpentine drafts in their cheat sheets, the guide has poor layout making data mining a tough go.  No mock draft.  Informational boxes scattered through the player capsules making it hard to find things.

Overall:  There are great things in here, but it’s not an easy guide to use, nor would I use its cheatsheets, except in a single league auction format. Still it’s better than some.

Give it 1.0 balls based on the quality of articles, player capsules and depth charts, but it’s not a complete tool, just a place to mine data.

Buy the Fantasy Baseball Index 2009 here. (Price: $ 6.99)

You can find AHP's criteria to reviewing fantasy guide's here. grades books with the following system
Four Balls: An exceptional book that truly earns a walk straight to the book story to get a copy.
Three Balls: This book stands out from its peers and is highly recommended.
Two Balls: A book worth reading/owning and is usually above average.
One Ball: This book has something to say but is nothing special.

Keep reading as we keep reviewing fantasy guides.