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As noted on an earlier thread and as book devotees already know, the 2003 Baseball Prospectus features Blue Jays DH Josh Phelps on the cover. This is quite an honour -- unlike fantasy magazines and mainstream baseball preview editions, which choose the cover subject most likely to attract newsstand attention (e.g., Sammy Sosa graces the Sporting News fantasy issue cover) -- BP has traditionally chosen young sabrmetric heroes, players who deliver verifiable offensive value to their teams. Whether this is good for the players themselves might be a different story.

Last year, the cover featured Reds slugger Adam Dunn, who had a terrific start but slumped badly in the second half. In 2000, Astros outfielder Richard Hidalgo graced the front page before going on to a massively disappointing season. I don't have the editions before that, but judging from the blurry covers on the booklist, character guy Gary Sheffield seems to have led off in 2000, while the '99 and '98 covers obscured the faces of the players. It isn't quite the Sports Illustrated Cover Jinx, but I now get a touch of the queasies when I see a player I really like receive a high profile, in the Prospectus or elsewhere.

The ancient Greeks understood how hubris precedes a fall, or maybe they simply foresaw the nature of fads, how something is cool up until the moment when someone points out how cool it is. Either way, I think they'd appreciate how so many professional athletes, once given an up-close-and-personal, budding-superstar profile article, suddenly go into the tank. Want proof? Go back to your 2002 baseball preview issue of whatever magazine you bought and identify the players who got those in-depth profiles or were otherwise singled out for attention. I'll wager that well over half of them suffered through injuries or otherwise failed to reach expectations. Weird. Eerie. Disturbing.

Nonetheless, congratulations to Josh, and don't think too much about it.
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_Mick - Tuesday, January 21 2003 @ 10:40 AM EST (#98629) #
... or maybe they simply foresaw the nature of fads, how something is cool up until the moment when someone points out how cool it is.

You mean ... Josh Phelps has already "jumped the shark"? (Much like the phrase "jumped the shark" has been "voted off the island"?)
_R Billie - Tuesday, January 21 2003 @ 10:47 AM EST (#98630) #
Well I've placed my pre-order directly from the BP site. I hope I don't get hit up with some strange customs bill later on as sometimes happens when I order stuff from the US.

I don't put much stock into jinxes and the's all in your mind. All the same I'm avoiding Josh in my pools. Unless of course he's eligible for catcher.
Pistol - Tuesday, January 21 2003 @ 12:47 PM EST (#98631) #
I believe that's Adrian Beltre, and not Sheffield on the cover in 2000.

I find it odd that they chose a DH. Seems like Hinske would be a more likely candidate.

Unfortunately, he's only a DH in my league. I got a nice 2nd half with him at catcher last year (plus Damian Miller's hot first half).
Coach - Tuesday, January 21 2003 @ 01:38 PM EST (#98632) #
If Werth goes to Syracuse, Phelps is the third C by default. In most leagues, once he plays five games (extra innings, perhaps?) with the tools on, he'll become eligible. So I am keeping him in a couple of leagues, where he costs me virtually nothing to freeze. Many leagues allow you to use any hitter as DH, and fantasy owners love flexibility, but in Roto Junkies (AL-only) we have to meet the 20-game last year or 5-game current year positional eligibility. So Phelps is certainly as good a draft pick as Ellis Burks, Edgar Martinez, Frank Thomas, and the rest; probably better. You should get a minimum of .280-30-100, and if/when he does get the magic "C" beside his name, he'll instantly become one of the more valuable fantasy assets. (If you are in one of my leagues, please disregard that statement.)

Anyone who believes in a cover jinx at SI or BP is probably among those who blamed my song parody for Maurice Gibb's death. I'm not that superstitious, though I won't step on the foul lines during games. I do agree with Jordan that a look back at any published prognostications will always be amusing, if not disturbing. It's like OBP -- even Barry makes lots of outs -- so the accuracy percentage is what separates the brilliant forecasts from the not-so-good. BP gives you the best data, presented with intelligence, but all predictions are subject to injuries, slumps, role changes and other manifestations of dumb luck.
_Jordan - Tuesday, January 21 2003 @ 02:02 PM EST (#98633) #
Pistol, thanks for your sharper eye ... Beltre makes more sense than Sheffield, since they tend to choose up-and-comers rather than established stars.
Pistol - Tuesday, January 21 2003 @ 02:47 PM EST (#98634) #
Well, it's not so much a sharp eye as having seen that issue of the book before.

I believe that was the year that Beltre had his appendix removal issues and was the begginging of the BP 'jinx'. They also have a bad history with the #1 prospect listed in the book. I assume Texieria is #1 this year.

I'm not certain, but I believe the previous years books just had a generic picture/drawing on the cover. Now that BP is bigtime they can afford to pay for use of the photos.
_Jacko - Thursday, January 23 2003 @ 12:13 PM EST (#98635) # has no nasty customs charges.

I've gotten dinged on foreign orders before -- they assess GST (which is fine) but also slap on a $5.00 handling fee (not ok).

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