My old college chum Craig Batholomaus calls it “the best day of the year,” noting, “Baseball Prospectus has arrived.” I have higher hopes for the other 365 days of 2012, but I can’t deny that it feels great to finally have a new edition of the one, essential guide to the upcoming baseball season in my hands.

Many have tried to fill the vacuum left behind by Bill James’s old Baseball Abstracts of the 80s, but over time only BP has succeeded. It mixes mind-boggling stats-crunching with clever writing and a sassy attitude, and it cuts through the hype of the hot-stove league to determine just how optimistic fans should be about their teams.