Welcome to a new regular season, fellow World Series Champion fans! Before you ask, yes, there will be both a game preview and a Game Thread today. That will be the plan for as long as I’m running the ship during the regular season.
Jake Kaplan of The Athletic takes a (paywall, subscription required and highly recommended) look at the hottest new defensive shift in AJ Hinch’s toolbag.
Astros may use alignment vs. lefty pull hitters on the road
The Data Wonk Who Became a Coach (Wall Street Journal)
The data revolution in baseball has always maintained one barrier: the wonks stay in the front office, the “baseball people” stay in the dugout. Now that barrier is starting to break down, with the Astros deploying uber-quant guru sensei Sig Mejdal to be an actual on-field coach last season with the Tri-City Valley Cats. This piece is utterly wonderful, and a must-read for Astros fans.
Another look (this one from Jake Kaplan of The Athletic, paywall piece) at Sig Mejdal’s coaching gig.
Rangers beat writer TR Sullivan takes a look at the Opening Day game between the Astros and the Rangers.
Tags with his Astros preview.
James Yasko (“AstrosCounty” on Twitter, if you don’t know) takes another look at the Astros as contenders to repeat.
White, Kemp optioned to Triple-A Fresno
I mean, check out the picture. What more reason do you need to read up on this?
Jake Kaplan of The Athletic with a look at Justin Verlander and his influence, out of the mouths of his teammates.
Jerome Solomon of the Houston Chronicle is apparently extremely confident in the Astros. So he’d fit right in here.
Chris Cotillo of SB Nation takes a fun look at Fortnite (a popular new video game, if you aren’t all knowed up) in the Astros clubhouse.
Here’s a Rosenthal opinion about Jose Altuve, if you want to read Ken Rosenthal for some reason.
Around The League
Game on! Here’s your guide for Opening Day
The Ringer staff previews the 2018 season.
Joe Posnanski gives you one wish for each team this year.
Need to read this one further, but the premise is extremely interesting, to say the least.
A piece from Forbes about Beergate. In case you missed it, MLB was not at all pleased about pictures drawn in beer foam of Yankees stars. So naturally, here’s the picture that upset the MLB so:
David Laurila of FanGraphs speaks with three Major League pitchers about the process of learning a new pitch. Interesting read.
Travis Sawchik of FanGraphs has a really cool piece about spinning the baseball and aging.
Bob Nightengale of USA Today offers a piece worth reading about baseball finances and player contracts and such.
Stephanie Springer of the Hardball Times takes a look at this topic that isn’t oft-discussed by baseball pundits.
Here are the top six, according to BallparkDigest dot com.