Each year, the Maple Street Press does an annual on various Major League Baseball teams. One of the editor will contact the Baseball Bloggers Alliance and send out review copies to members of the group. This year, I volunteered to get copies of the Cardinals and Twins annuals.
The magazine sized annual is a good way to get information from multiple sources. The Cardinals’ Annual features author Will Leitch, Fox Sports’ Dayn Perry, Larry Borowsky of Viva El Birdos, and Matt Philip, who runs the official blog of the Bob Broeg chapter of SABR, among others. You have a nice, broad range of writers and topics.
The articles are very in depth and give a good feel for the team. They deal with everything from typical out looks, to prospect profiles, to what will happen if/when Albert Pujols leaves.
The annual also includes profiles for most of the current roster. They include the basics, like stats and info. The annual also includes some more in depth information like hitting zone (batting averages for specific areas over the plate), leading indicators (stats like pitchers per plate appearance and swing percentage), and detailed scouting reports (with stuff like balls/strikes on fastballs) on hitters. The pitchers also have quite a bit to look at, like pitching zone (percentage of pitches to specific parts of the plate), leading indicators (first pitch strike percentage), and more detailed scouting reports (with average velocity of fastballs).
One aspect that sets this annual apart from others on the market is the Maple Street Annual looks at the team history; the annual has 5 stories on the history of the team and players. Everything from Ted Simmons and the Hall of Fame to Cardinal games returning to KMOX this season.
Overall, this annual is something that I’ll continue to purchase and is a welcome addition to my baseball library.