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Gaslamp Book Club: The Bill James Handbook 2010

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I've always liked big baseball books, or at least, I've liked the idea of big baseball books. Tomes of base-ball knowledge!

Take this scene from a little known film about baseball:

Now, while you may have been paying attention to the moving monologue performed by Sir James Earl Jones, I was trying to determine exactly which page of the Baseball Encyclopedia he was on before being so rudely interrupted.

So what is a big baseball book lover to do? If you're me, then you and me are currently reading The Bill James Handbook 2010, which we recently had a preview for.

I know we looked at the 2010 hitter previews in the book before, but the much more interesting things are the plethora of statistics gathered and all of the imaginarily colorful black and white tables.

Like take for example the section on Manufactured Runs. Bill James' definition of a manufactured run is any run where at least 2 of the 4 total bases needed for a run come from something other than station to station baseball. When Adrian Gonzalez gets a base hit and then requires three more base hits in a row to score, Bill James considers that the opposite of a manufactured run.

However, when other teams besides the Padres get a player on base, steal second, then score on a single, that counts as a manufactured run.

So, knowing that manufactured runs sound like they'd be pretty fun to watch and would be effective ways of scoring runs, does it surprise you to know that the Padres were tied for third to last in all of baseball in manufactured runs (130 manufactured runs). That's a poorly written sentence, but basically, the Cubs and the Pirates were the only two teams who manufactured fewer runs (123 and 121 respectively).

Interestingly enough, the book also breaks down the number of times players participated in a manufactured run and despite the Padres only managing 130 manufactured, our own Everth Cabrera participated in 26 manufactured runs, which is among the top 10 in the NL. Anthony Keith Gwynn Jr and Chase Headley are second and third on the Padres with 19 and 15 contributions respectively.

So, what does that mean? What do we do with that?

If you're like me, you use the book to try to find stats to explain why you didn't find the Padres interesting this season and Manufactured Runs is a terrific one. Now, when people ask me why I got bored with the team, I have statistics to back me up.