Okay, you know how to bet baseball; you understand the money line, totals, parlays. But with the season less than a month away, how do you get a good start while linemakers are still trying to figureHoward Schwartz, the "librarian for gamblers," is the marketing director for Gambler's Book Club in Las Vegas, a position he has held since 1979. Author of hundreds of articles on gambling, his weekly book reviews appear in numerous publications throughout the gaming industry. Howard's website is www.gamblersbook.com out who the "aces" are and who might disappoint? Luckily, there are some excellent resources to speed up your information-gathering efforts and what they contain.
Baseball America Prospect Book (510 pages, paperbound, $30.95). This is a fine reference source for those entering fantasy league play as it rates the top 50 prospects (Tampa Bay's David Price, a southpaw pitcher tops the list along with catcher Matt Wieters of Baltimore). The book analyzes vastly-improved farm systems, breaks down top prospects by team, projects "breakout" players and "sleepers" as well as best pure hitters and best power hitters. Simply, the book alerts you to players about to blossom or have the potential to "carry" a team.
The Baseball America Directory (311 pages, paperbound, $27.95) tells you how to contact each major and minor league team by mail, phone, Internet, which are the farm teams for every club, where to call about or order tickets, what the 2009 schedule is and starting times for games. All sixteen minor leagues are profiled including their ballpark dimensions and how to get tickets with directions to the parks should you like traveling and visiting some. One of the more valuable sections for those who can't get enough statistics contains National Media Information from the highly-regarded Elias Sports Bureau and Stats Inc. to ESPN, Fox Sports, radio networks, news organizations, press associations; museums, the Society for American Baseball Research and baseball card manufacturers. (Minor league schedules are included as are college teams, lists of agents and where to buy baseball gear.)
Finally The Bill James Handbook (503 pages, paperbound, $23.95), which contains statistics on every major league player, team and manager through last season and includes batting, pitching and fielding histories of players. Starters and relief pitchers are profiled, along with pitchers' ability, a statistical profile of each ballpark looking back at last season and combined for the past three seasons (home and away)-including how right-handed or left-handed batters did for average and homers. A vital section for fantasy league players are projections for hitters and pitchers and how compiler James sees them performing in 2009.
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