Good morning HDWEB'ers, it's February 18th and baseball is better than the Olympics. Here are the very best baseball things to inspire, entertain, enlighten, and amuse.
If you have ideas or suggestions, send 'em my way at @justinbopp.
The regular season can't get here fast enough for this lil' guy
Brian Roberts will be Yankees' starting second baseman - This makes me more queasy than any mawkish Jeter send-off you might imagine happening all season long. And I actually like Roberts! Just thinking about the concussions, the injuries, that I can't remember his last game... If you're holding out hope, remember: Kelly Johnson is the backup. I wonder how Cano is doing right about now.
This is smart:
Craig Kimbrel at His Most Unfair -- FanGraphs Baseball -- Jeff Sullivan touches on signature significance with Kimbrel's first three seasons, suggesting that his remarkable success probably means something ... not that you shouldn't stop worrying about that kind of money for a closer.
Craig Kimbrel may never pull off another streak of 41 strikes without a ball in play. He may never pitch like he’s already pitched in his first 3+ seasons. The Braves, of course, hope that he will, but relievers are unreliable and arms like this can be tragically injury-prone.
Yet Kimbrel did do this, and it’s in the books, and it’s worthy of recognition. No matter what happens from here, try not to forget what Craig Kimbrel has been.
He’s been a closer who’s allowed an OPS a hundred points lower than Mariano Rivera. The primary thing working against the Braves here is there aren’t supposed to be pitchers like this.
Here's why Rick Porcello's numbers may have nothing to do with Rick Porcello - Bless You Boys -- Rob uses BABIP on grounders (and the Tigers' lackluster infield defense) as evidence that maybe Porcello might be better after the Fielder/Kinsler defensive dual upgrade. Then again, maybe if he didn't pitch so many ground balls his BABIP on grounders wouldn't suffer so much?
Hitting in deep counts - Beyond the Box Score -- Scott looks at how hitting performance changes by the number of pitches seen and finds a nice endpoint. As someone who scoreboard-watches for pitch counts (it's my secret tell-all metric!), this thing is an utter thrill to see:
The Royals over/under for 2014 is 85.5 Wins?
2014 MLB over/under odds: Picking the best bet - Royals at 85.5 seems about two games too high but you won't catch me making that bet. Grant finds a gem in there, though.
Definitive Padres uniform answer coming soon - Gaslamp Ball -- Our friends at GLB are all about pushing for a return to the classic brown uniforms and I completely support them. Can we just agree to scrap the camouflage unis?
Baseball history is fun
- That's a letter written to all-time baseball great Honus Wagner from admirer President Eisenhower. It's neat because I had no idea Honus Wagner lived into the 1950s, and now I'm imagining Derek Jeter living into the 2070s and Sasha Obama writing him something similar from her spot in the Oval Office. (h/t r/baseball)
Salary arbitration: A necessary evil - True Blue LA -- Eric takes an inside look at the salary arbitration process through those who have experienced it on both sides, with extensive quotes from Don Mattingly and GM Ned Colletti.
WE HAVE BASEBALL!
- It's college baseball, yes, but look! There it is! BASEBALL! This first web gem of 2014 comes to us from our LSU blog, And the Valley Shook.
Have suggestions or want to be featured in HDWEB? Send links to Justin at @justinbopp and hashtag #HDWEB.