I want to preface this post by saying that this is not a post that is in any way sponsored by ACTA Sports. The reason this post is up is because I believe in their products. I’ve been a reader of their publications for as long as this blog has been in existence and I can honestly say that I don’t think I’ve had a clunker come through my door yet.

This holiday season they have three books available for purchase and all three are well worth the money.

The Hardball Times Baseball Annual 2011

This is probably my favorite of all the regular books they publish. It’s a collaborative effort of the writers over at The Hardball Times and not only recaps the season, but has a host of commentary and articles on all things baseball. I’ve been working my way through the 314 page monster so far since receiving it, but so far there are a number of great topics in this year’s annual. Just to give you a taste, here are some that I really enjoyed or excite me to read.

  • The Year in Frivolity – by Craig Calcaterra
  • The Booms and Busts of 2010 – by David Golebiewski
  • The Business of Baseball – by Brian Borawski
  • How to Handle a Pitcher – by Craig Wright
  • Everything is About to Change – by Rob Neyer
  • The Best and Worst Benches of All Time – by Chris Jaffe
  • Do Catchers have an ERA? – by Sean Smith

That is just a small snippet of all the nuggets this book has to offer. I highly recommend picking this one up. It’s a perfect read on the toilet. (Purchase the book from Acta Sports)

The Graphical Player 2011

I’ll be honest with you. I’m going to warn you in advance so you have no excuse. If you hate the graphs we posted in the game recaps this season, this book is probably not for you. If you’re a fantasy / rotisserie baseball player, this book IS for you. It has dollar values as well as player comparisons and various graphs on all the players you’d be looking at for 2011 including 10 year treads to help you evaluate what a player’s career path is. (Purchase the book from Acta Sports)

The Bill James Handbook 2011

Every year when this one arrives in the mail I immediately open it up and show it to Mrs VFTB. Every year she rolls her eyes and asks who in their right mind would want a book loaded with stats. Every year I answer the exact same way. “ME!!!!!” This has stats stats and more stats. Acording to the Acta site the other features include:

  • Exclusive! Fielding Bible Awards
  • New! Bill James’ Hall of Fame Monitor
  • New! Plus/Minus and Runs Saved fielding data for every player
  • Updated! Park Indices (including Target Field)
  • Relief Pitching Analysis
  • Manufactured Runs Analysis
  • Career data for every 2010 major leaguer
  • Instant Replay History
  • Pinch Hitting Analysis
  • Pitcher/Hitter Projections
  • Player Win Shares

This is an overwhelming one if you’re not looking for stats, but it’s a great resource to keep with you for reference if you’re away from the computer. (Purchase the book from Acta Sports)

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Joe Aiello is the founder of View From the Bleachers and one of the lead writers as well as host of VFTB Radio. Growing up in Chicago, he fondly remembers attending games in the bleachers before that was the popular thing to do. Currently Joe resides in North Carolina with his wife and three kids. Connect with Joe via Twitter / Facebook / E-mail