As everyone fixates on Stephen Strasburg, let us not forget that there’s another young phenom making his debut today.
His name is Mike Stanton, he plays for the Marlins and he has simply abused Double-A hitting so far this year. How badly has he abused it? To the tune of .311/.411/.726 with 21 home runs and 52 RBI in 52 games. Stanton is only 20 and, unlike Strasburg, has shown that he has some things he needs to work on (i.e. chasing bad pitches), but he’s no less special a talent and no less important to the future of his organization than the fellow with the curly W cap.
Stanton should be patrolling right field against the Phillies this evening. He’ll likely be facing Stephen Strasburg right after the All-Star break and several times a year after that for the next five or six years or so.
ESPN’s Keith Law has released his annual top-100 prospects list. According to Law, Braves outfielder Ronald Acuna is the number one prospect in baseball.
After blazing through High-A and Double-A ball last season, Acuna was the youngest player in Triple-A in 2017. He was 19 years-old all season long and put up a fantastic line of .335/.384/.534 in 486 plate appearances at Double and Triple-A. He then went on to star in the Arizona Fall League, leading that circuit in homers. Law, who is not one to throw hyperbolic comps around, says, “if Acuna stays in center and maxes out his power, he’s going to be among the best players in baseball, with a Mike Trout-ish profile.”
Acuna, who is 20 now, is likely play the bulk of the season in Atlanta, even if he’s kept down at Triple-A for the first couple of weeks of the season to manipulate his service time, er, I mean to allow him to develop his skills more fully. Or something. Given the presence of reigning Gold Glove center fielder Ender Inciarte, Acuna is not likely to man center for the Braves this year, but Law says he’d be a plus right field defender, which could make the Braves outfield Death to Flying Things in 2018. At least when Nick Markakis is not playing.
Number two on the list: Blue Jays third base prospect Vladimir Guerrero Jr. As law notes, the name may be familiar but he’s not very much like his old man. Mostly because young Vlad can take a walk. Which is better, even if it’s nowhere near as fun as swinging at balls that bounce in the dirt first.
For the other 98, you’ll have to click through.