Four days from today, pitchers and catchers will report to Maryvale to begin the 2011 season. Just like we've done each of the last two years, we'll count down these final days of the offseason with one giveaway each day.
Frequent BCB readers have most likely seen me link to Minor League Ball and have heard me mention John Sickels' Baseball Prospect Books before. If so, you know that Sickels is one of my favorite prospect evaluators and his book is the only one I buy every year.
As an example of Sickels' work, here's his note on Mark Rogers from this year's book:
It looked like Mark Rogers' career was over before it really began, after he missed the 2007 and 2008 seasons with a major shoulder injury. But the former first round pick came back healthy in 2009, then proved he could hold up under an actual workload without getting hurt again in '10. He still has plus stuff, including a 92-96 MPH fastball and a very good hard curveball. His K/IP and H/IP marks confirm that he can be overpowering. His command remains erratic, and a so-so changeup remains a weakness he must address if he wants to remain a starter. Because of his injury history, it might make sense to put Rogers in the bullpen, but as I write this it seems he'll go into spring training with a chance to be the fifth starter. His upside remains high, though command and remnant health issues keep him at Grade B-.
The 2011 book includes profiles like that, along with statistics and past grades, for over 1100 players and 34 Brewers. It's a great reference to keep around for minor league discussions, or take along to games to know more about the players you're watching.
To sum up: You really should buy the book. But you've also got a chance to win a copy.
All you have to do to enter is comment on this post before 6 pm Monday night. At that point, I'll select one winner to receive a personalized copy of the book from John Sickels himself.
Good luck, and thanks again to John for giving us a book to give away! Be sure to read John's stuff at Minor League Ball and pick up a copy of the 2011 Prospect Book.