Bill James is father to that new breed of baseball wonks for whom a walk is as exciting as a home run (we have him to blame for Steve Garvey and Jim Rice not being in the Hall of Fame). Regardless, he might be the smartest, most engaging baseball writer ever. Back in the '80s, he devised a method of forecasting an active batter's final career stats based on "similarity scores"—identifying physically similar former players who had comparable numbers at the same age, and extrapolating from there. As James would be the first to admit, the system isn't foolproof: Ruben Sierra was destined to be the next Roberto Clemente, as I recall. But it's fun to fool around with, and I've always wanted to... More >>>