TIME FOR BASEBALL! Keith Law’s Top 100 prospects — wanted to reblog, here:

HardballTalk

As yesterday’s top farm systems list, Keith Law’s annual Top 100 Prospects list also on ESPN’s Insider so, sorry, you gotta pay to see it all. But it’s also one of the annual must-reads in all of baseball, so not linking it would be bloggy malpractice.

The top: The Rangers’ Jurickson Profar. Number 100: The Orioles’ Eduardo Rodriguez. In between: 98 other dudes, all with Law’s assessment of them.

Nowhere on the list is Andy Marte. Which, frankly, is kind of a bummer. I think he’s about ready.

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History in the making

If you follow baseball at all, you are certainly aware of this freaky streak Josh Hamilton’s got goin’ on. I’m pleased to say that my lingering thoughts (nightmares) of him in a different jersey are gone. In fact, all I’ve been able to think about is how unexplainable his performance actually is. He is truly in his own world – and I really think we’re all speechless at this point.

As of tonight’s 4-1 win over the Astros, Hamilton’s hit streak increases to 16 games – obviously the best in the MLB. His average is at .402, with 18 HR and 45 RBI’s. He’s our Triple Crown threat right now, and it’s honestly chilling to know the Rangers are only 38 games into the season…

Attempting to predict his pace for the season is entertaining and alarming all at the same time! SportsDayDFW took a ‘look at what could be’, and it’s pretty eye opening. And as if the era couldn’t be any sweeter – you’ve now got the liberty to tell him how great he is – Josh has joined us on Twitter! (Don’t forget to wish him a happy birthday on May 21!)

Click below to watch Josh slam his 18th homer off CJ Wilson:

AL West Champions

My Boys - Ian Kinsler and Elvis Andrus

What do you see when you look at these two? Or, what do you see when you look at the Texas Rangers’ lineup?
Depth. Intensity. Variety. Character. Personality. Players on the Rangers’ roster have these qualities, and this year they’ve constantly been out on display. I’ve gone to a dozen or so games this season at the Ballpark in Arlington and there’s just something about this team – this year – that feels so alive. Being division champions for the first time in 11 years doesn’t mean they’re just ‘good’. They’ve thundered through series after series demanding respect through their pitching (Neftali Feliz for rookie of the year, please) and hitting (currently ranked first in batting averages).

Ron Washington believes and has communicated to the Rangers that teamwork wins championships. Here’s the current (Sept. 30) lineup and my thoughts on their contribution:

Elvis Andrus – What I love about Elvis is his aggression and agility. He takes baserunning to a whole new level with a no-regret outlook on stealing. He is 22 years old, knows he has so much to learn, yet still solidly leads off the batting lineup for a MLB team. Doesn’t draw attention to himself for anything but skill. I could honestly talk about Elv forever…
Michael Young – Deserves the championship after his continual work he’s put into this team. He’s that man used in every ‘consistent player’ analogy. If players ran through every bag, fielded every ball and hustled like Young does, the game would change.
Nelson Cruz – One word: walkoff…
Vladimir Guerrero – Vlad is the contributor who said, “Uh uh, I’m not finished yet.” He absolutely rakes. Not only does he understand his designated place – he executes it so well.
Ian Kinsler – Ian’s a regular who consistently contributes through his defense. There aren’t many times when we see him make errors on the field, and him and Elvis work so comfortably together. (See picture above)
Bengie Molina – I smiled for an hour straight after his cycle this year. He joined the team and immediately began to produce, despite some fan controversy over his mid-season arrival. He’s a wall behind the plate, and a slugger at the plate.
Esteban German – We’re all happy to have you!
Mitch Moreland – Although his spot on the playoff roster isn’t secure yet, we’ve seen offensive contribution from him. He’s done well hitting wise since he joined the Rangers this summer, and needs to continue being a hitting threat.
Julio Borbon – He already made it around the bases before I could type anything…

Be sure to stay tuned as Ron Washington begins making his playoff roster decisions. Josh Hamilton returns from rib injury tomorrow while David Murphy (sic ’em) starts healing from a groin injury.

The Rangers will kick off the month of October with a matchup against the Angels at home in Arlington at 8:05 ET.

*Impossible without Nos. 1-4

We’ve all faced one, well, many, of those times where we find ourselves thinking, “Man, I messed up. It’s been a tough day.” It’s no secret that life likes to take swings at us. For all the actors, athletes and other stars out there, living in a spotlight can seem like life’s problems are magnified…or glorified.

When Josh Hamilton makes a move – whether it’s through center field, out of a champagne-filled locker room or across the nation on a jet plane, his every action is on high-alert watch.

My heart is tender toward this man after reading his book, Beyond Belief. It is a must-MUST-read. I always tell people, if you think you like Josh Hamilton, wait until you read his book.

His ESPN first-ever-LIST-edition-pictured fake tattoo reads:
Priorities
1. God
2. Humility
3. Family
4. Sobriety
5. Baseball *
* Impossible without Nos. 1-4

The world hears “Josh Hamilton” and their minds are immediately fixed upon the sweet sound of a base hit off his wooden bat, his freakish athletic ability and his shot at the Triple Crown. But take a look at his left arm, and we are all quickly reminded that baseball is a tangible in Josh’s life, and he proudly keeps it in it’s place for the world to see.

The words – or batting average – or drug testimony – aren’t even what separate him from the rest of the MLB athletes. It’s his undying motivation to live his life according to a higher standard by keeping his priorities in order. When the spotlight beams down to the Ballpark in Arlington and the attention is on Josh, he naturally stands out – because he gives that simple smile, slips the batting gloves off, and turns the attention to something greater than himself.