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Links: Prospects, Francona, Kate Upton

2/15/2012

Take a break from Jeremy Lin. Here are some links worth checking out from outside the SweetSpot network. Check back later Wednesday for more links from our list of bloggers.

  • Keith Law released his list of top 100 prospects last week. Kevin Goldstein of Baseball Prospectus (and ESPN contributor) released his top 100 on Monday. Keith and Kevin have the same three at the top, although in different orders: Mike Trout, Bryce Harper and Matt Moore for Keith; Moore, Harper and Trout for Kevin. They match up on eight of the top 10: Keith has Blue Jays catcher Travis d'Arnaud at No. 6 (No. 16 for Kevin) and Reds catcher Devin Mesoraco at No. 8 (No. 24 for Kevin). Kevin has Braves right-hander Julio Teheran at No. 5 (No. 18 for Keith) and Orioles right-hander Dylan Bundy at No. 6 (No. 11 for Keith). One of the more interesting splits is Giants center fielder Gary Brown, a speed demon who hit .336 with 14 home runs at Class A San Jose. Keith has him ranked 68th, citing his defensive abilities but wondering about his second skills; Kevin ranked him 18th, believing a little more in Brown's power and contact skills. Two more interesting splits: Kevin ranked Red Sox outfielder Brandon Jacobs No. 46 while Keith didn't have him in the top 100; Keith liked Mariners shortstop Nick Franklin at No. 57 while Kevin had him unranked.

  • ESPNBoston's Joe McDonald talks with former Red Sox skipper Terry Francona, who will miss his first spring training in 31 years.

  • The Yankees blog at ESPNNewYork is continuing its countdown of 25 questions in 25 days. A lot of fun stuff there, including questions like "Is this now Alex Rodriguez's team?" and "How good will Michael Pineda be?"

  • Richard Durrett continues his in-depth position-by-position outlook for the Rangers. Check out his analysis at the Rangers blog at ESPNDallas.

  • Joe Posnanski with a fun post on aging and great seasons. He looks at hitters with seasons of 6.0 WAR or higher and breaks them down by age. The peak age for greatness: 26, with 115 seasons. The number of great seasons starts declining from there, but takes a big hit age 32, with only 68 such seasons. By age 34 we're down to 31 such seasons.

  • Kate Upton graces this year's Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue cover. She also has some helpful advice for David Price, Justin Verlander, C.J. Wilson and Jay Bruce. OK, cheap promo, but it does beg the question: Who invited the outfielder?

  • Geoff Baker the Seattle Times profiles new Mariners reliever Hong-Chih Kuo, who battled anxiety issues and the "yips" last season with the Dodgers. Kuo was one of the majors' most dominant relievers in 2010, so he could be one of the offseason's best sleeper pickups.

  • Jonah Keri asks: Whatever happened to the spitball? One of the highlights of my life as a baseball fan was being at the Kingdome in 1982 when Gaylord Perry got ejected for the only time in his career for throwing a spitball. Perry's young daughter, when once asked if her daddy threw a spitter, replied, "It's a hard slider."

  • Bill James (subscription only) has a piece on 1960s catchers. No catcher who played primarily in that decade has made the Hall of Fame, but what was most interesting was a sidebar to the piece detailing the 1963 AL MVP race, won by Yankees catcher Elston Howard. Basically, the AL had no clear MVP candidate that year. Bob Allison of the Twins had the highest WAR (7.5) and fared best in James' Win Shares system. He led the AL with 99 runs scored and a .911 OPS but hit just .155 and went homerless in 17 games against the pennant-winning Yankees. Allison finished 15th in the MVP voting, which Howard won in what was probably the third-best season of his career.

  • Matthew Carruth looks at relative strikeout rates for pitchers and unearths a gem of a season I was unfamiliar with: Ted Wingfield of the 1927 Red Sox struck out one batter in 74.2 innings. Yep, one batter. We know it happened in this game, although we don't have the play-by-play. I'm guessing it was pitcher Lefty Grove. And you won't be surprised to know that Wingfield didn't pitch in the majors again after 1927. Or that the Red Sox finished 51-103 that year.