Padres' Kyle Blanks slated for Tommy John surgery

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Kyle Blanks, who has been on the DL since May 17 with what the Padres called a strained throwing elbow, will undergo Tommy John surgery Friday and miss the rest of the season.
A pitcher undergoing a similar surgery would face the likelihood of missing at least half of 2011. Blanks might be able to return sooner, but it’d be easier for him to do so as a first baseman than as an outfielder.
Of course, Blanks should have been playing first base all along. The 6-foot-6, 270-pound behemoth has started 62 games in the outfield for the Padres the last two years because of Adrian Gonzalez’s precense on the roster. Playing out of position caused him to develop plantar fasciitis last year, ending his season in August.
Whether or not making throws from the outfield caused his torn elbow ligament is unclear, but it could well have played a role.
The injury puts his future within the organization in doubt. The Padres would have to be especially nervous about trading Gonzalez this winter with their replacement iffy for Opening Day. And if Gonzalez stays and Blanks is unable to come back and make throws from the outfield next year, then the young slugger may well be a non-factor until 2012.

Ronald Acuna tops Keith Law’s top-100 prospect list

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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.