07/10 Blue Jays Library in a Box: Blue Jays Jazz

Tuesday, July 06 2010 @ 09:51 PM EDT

Contributed by: Matthew E

Now I'm no longer even pretending to keep to a monthly schedule. I feel liberated, I do.

Title: Blue Jays Jazz
Published: 1988, independently
Availability: I can't imagine how a book could be any less available
# Pages: 128

Written By: David Driscoll
Who Is: Same guy he was last time

What's It About: It's a look at the Blue Jays going into the 1988 season, using what were state-of-the-art sabremetrics for 1988. There's a recap of the '87 season, a page for Jimy Williams and sections for each individual player, and a bunch of splits.

How's the Writing: As before, Driscoll sometimes tries to get extravagant or cute with the prose, and it comes off as amateurish. The book would be much smoother if someone had told him "less is more". Still, that's not the value of the book; the value of it is the sheer amount of homework Driscoll did in putting the thing together.

Let me open to a random page and I'll illustrate that. Okay, page 60, Ernie Whitt. Driscoll argues here that Whitt should never have been hitting fifth in '87 (eighth would have been better) because the extra at bats and offensive responsibilities take their toll on him, and as a 36-year-old catcher, he needs to take it easy. I don't know about that, but at least it's a fully formed argument and surrounded by data.

Oh: Driscoll must have been proud of this prediction. After Dave Stieb's disastrous 1986 season (7-12, 4.74) and quite mediocre 1987 season (13-9, 4.09), Driscoll's guess for Stieb in '88 was, "Back to the All-Star Game. What keeps jumping in my head is a 17-6 record with a 2.62 ERA and a chance to prove to many how wrong they were in thinking Stieb's career was over." Stieb's actual numbers in '88 were 16-8, 3.04, which is kinda close, but the character of the prediction was entirely right.