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Four of the top five best-selling jerseys belong to Cubs players

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Major League Baseball and the Major League Baseball Players Association just released their list of the most popular jerseys. Since the end of the 2016 season, more Kris Bryant jerseys have been sold than that of any other player. He has the most since the end of 2015 as well.

Second on the list is his teammate, Anthony Rizzo. Then Clayton Kershaw of the Dodgers, at number three. Another Cub, Javier Baez, is fourth. Fifth is yet another Cub, Kyle Schwarber. That’s right: four of the five best-selling jerseys belong to Cubs players.

Here’s the entire top 20:

Major League Baseball’s press release makes a big deal of the fact that the average age of players on this list is 26-and-a-half, which is more than 1.5 years younger than any previous list’s average age. I suppose David Ortiz retiring drops that average age quite a bit.

Baez and Schwarber are two of six new faces cracking the top 20. Also new to the list: Corey Seager, Gary Sánchez, Mookie Betts and Francisco Lindor.

Bartolo Colon was robbed.

How Yu Darvish tipped his pitches during the World Series

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You hear a lot about pitchers tipping pitches. It’s often offered up post-facto as an excuse for poor performance by the pitcher himself or his own team. It’s sort of like the “best shape of my life” thing being offered in the offseason to talk about why the player got injured or played badly the previous year. “Smitty’s stuff is still great, he was just tipping his pitches,” said a source close to the player whose stuff is not really great anymore.

Which isn’t to say that pitchers don’t tip pitches. Of course they do. Opposing teams look for it, pick up on it and take advantage of it whenever they can. It’s just that (a) the opposing team has an interest in not talking about it, lest the pitcher STOP tipping its pitches; and (b) the guy actually tipping his pitches doesn’t want to talk specifically about it lest he starts doing it again.

Which is what makes this article at Sports Illustrated so interesting. In it Tom Verducci talks to an anonymous Houston Astros player who explains how Dodgers starter Yu Darvish was tipping his pitches during the World Series, leading to him getting absolutely shellacked in Games 3 and 7. The upshot: the Astros knew when a slider or a cutter was coming, they waited for it and they teed off.

Darvish is a free agent now. I’m guessing, whoever signs him, knows exactly what they’ll gave him work on the first day of spring training.