Thanks to my family fun night at Disney on Ice – complete with Minnie ears – my throat’s awfully sore this morning, which I hope is the product of hooting and hollering with The Little Girl rather than starting the feel a touch of sickness. One byproduct of making healthier food and exercise choices over the past year (plus the kids getting a little older) has been a dramatic reduction in how frequently I’d get knocked back by some bug.
Oh, also semi-related to the Disney schedule/Brett failing, Michael’s weekly “Ask Away” will post later today instead of the usual Friday. Michael had it ready to go, I just suck.
Anyway … Bullets!
- The Cubs are projected to have one of the best offenses in baseball, led by a highly-ranked quartet at the top, and a huge part of that is simply how dang hard they hit the ball. Check this out from Statcast, ranking the hardest-hitting lineups in baseball from last year, with the Cubs at number two (90.9 mph average exit velocity). They’re behind only the Marlins, whose numbers are skewed because Giancarlo Stanton averaged 99.1 mph (which is comically high – number two was Miguel Cabrera, a full 4 mph lower). Having added Jason Heyward and Ben Zobrist, each of whom also have above average exit velocities, and getting more regular appearances from guys like Jorge Soler and Javy Baez should move things up even further. We looked at the Cubs’ exit velocity earlier this offseason, and, collectively, it’s freaking eye-popping.
- Of note, Craig Edwards has been studying exit velocity at FanGraphs over the past week, trying to put some hard and fast info to the general idea we already have (the harder you hit the ball, the better you tend to perform). That article, plus the two that precede it, are really interesting for those of you who want the nitty gritty on the importance of exit velocity.
- The Padres are saying publicly that they are not rebuilding right now, which, I mean, is probably just a matter of perspective and words. They sold off some pieces this offseason for prospects, but they didn’t completely strip down like some other NL clubs despite a very strong top of the NL West and despite projections that have the Padres being something between awful and merely poor.
- Details for the Race to Wrigley 5K on April 23. One of these years I’ll do that thing, and live stream portions of it. That sounds like fun.
- Former Cubs manager Lou Piniella is return to one of his other old stomping grounds, joining the Reds as a senior advisor (Mark Sheldon).
- If you missed it, by the way, the Cubs and Jake Arrieta avoided arbitration.
- Jon Morosi writes about the health issues wrapped up in the decision that young athletes face when specializing between, for example, baseball and football. We talked before about former Steelers wide receiver (and Cubs draft pick) Antwaan Randle El, and Morosi compares his path to that of former Cubs starter Jeff Samardzija, who gave up football after college to pursue his pitching career. It wouldn’t have been possible, Samardzija says, without a coach at Notre Dame who allowed him to do both sports. There’s definitely a lesson in there for athletes, coaches, and parents (not just for college, but high school and before). Morosi’s piece in an interesting read this Super Bowl weekend.
- Obviously there are a bunch of incredible diving catches in a given baseball season, but there was one game last year when A’s outfielder Billy Burns made two seriously incredible diving catches in the same game.
- Gotta say, these Cubs/City of Chicago socks are pretty sweet. I’m not really a “sock guy,” I don’t know in what circumstances I would actually wear them, though.
- Babe Ruth’s birthday is today, which made me think of just how good he was as a pitcher. You know he did it, and you think you know he was kinda good, but he was REALLY good.