When Games Are Over, BA Gets Busy




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It's the end of the minor league season, and the regular season in the major leagues, which means things are heating up at Baseball America.

It always seems counterintuitive to people that a baseball publication gets busy once baseball season is over, but that has always been the case here at BA.

Part of it certainly stands to reason because the offseason is when we start to make sense of the season that has just passed. Our Almanac and Super Register in particular are singular reference books that are built on the numbers of the season gone by.

And because our focus has always been more on the future than on the past, we love to take a season's worth of performance information—statistics and scouting reports from people both inside and outside a player's organization—and try to make sense of it as we look ahead.

So this issue officially kicks off prospect season, when we'll throw more player rankings at you than you'll know what to do with. No matter how many we do, though, it seems you always want more, so the onslaught will continue. You have 16 Top 20 Prospects list going online from the affiliated minor leagues.

And let's not forget the Independent League Top 20 Prospects list that follows the rankings from the affiliated leagues. The indy list is a product of the particular passion of J.J. Cooper, who follows indy ball with a fervor unmatched by anyone who doesn't actually work in one of these leagues.

Seven years ago, J.J. proposed ranking prospects in the indy leagues the same way we rank prospects in the affiliated leagues. We called him a nut and a crazy dreamer, but he pulled it off, and now his list is as definitive as any list we do. If a pro team wanted to scout indy ball without doing the actual legwork, our Top 20 provides a great starting point.

Winter Wonders

But the minor league lists are only the beginning. In fact, while we put a great deal of work into these lists, in some ways we just consider them the foundation of reporting for our organization prospect lists, which will begin rolling out at the end of October.

It starts with Top 10 Prospects lists in print and online, and of course for the last decade that has rolled into the Top 30 lists that go into our Prospect Handbook. That book has become our signature offseason publication, and we consider those lists the definitive word on the top talent in every organization.

Let's not give short shrift to two of the stalwarts of our offseason lineup, the Directory and the Great Parks Calendar, which remain essential elements of any baseball library. We have an exciting change to the calendar this year, as a matter of fact, as we're going to let you the fans and readers decide which ballparks make it into the calendar.

We solicited ballpark submissions from minor league teams and college baseball programs as usual, and we narrowed down the submissions to 24. But to get to the final 12 that will actually appear in the calendar, we're staging head-to-head matchups on our Facebook page and leaving it to a popular vote, with the winner getting the coveted calendar spot.

We have a variety of thematic matchups, with independent teams, college teams, teams from the same minor league, and teams with common affiliates all facing off. Two ballparks will enter; only one will leave. Head to Baseball America's Facebook page for all of the details.

And finally, an exciting addition to our offseason lineup is the new Baseball America Fantasy Guide. You'll be hearing more about this during the offseason, but the standalone magazine will hit newsstands in January and will feature BA's usual in-depth coverage applied specifically for the fantasy player.

We know that savvy fantasy players have always used BA to get the edge in their leagues, usually by finding out about future studs before everyone else. So sorry, we're letting everyone else in on the secret.