Brad Hawpe will go to Single-A for now after signing minor league deal with Rays

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Brad Hawpe’s deal with the Rays is official. He signs a minor-league contract after being released by the Rockies earlier this month and will report to Single-A for now.
Hawpe hasn’t played since August 18, so the Rays will give him some at-bats in the minors and then likely call him up before rosters expand Wednesday, making him eligible for the postseason roster.
Hawpe’s performance in Colorado was sub par for his standards this year, but .255/.343/.432 is still reasonable production and he posted an OPS above .875 in each of the previous four seasons. He’s also a career .274/.369/.470 hitter with an average of 24 homers per 550 at-bats away from Coors Field, so as a part-time designated hitter who can give the Rays another solid left-handed bat against right-handed pitching Hawpe is a very worthwhile pickup
Plus, because the Rockies are footing the bill for his $7.5 million salary and $500,000 buyout for 2011 the Rays are on the hook for merely a prorated share of the minimum salary.

Braves’ prospect Ronald Acuna wins AFL MVP, helps clinch AFL Championship Game

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The Arizona Fall League competition came to a close on Saturday, concluding with the Peoria Javelinas’ 8-2 win over the Mesa Solar Sox for the championship title. No one stood out more than Braves’ no. 1 prospect Ronald Acuna, who took home honors as the AFL MVP after slashing .325/.414/.639 with a league-leading seven home runs and second-best 1.053 OPS in 83 at-bats.

At just 19 years old, Acuna is the youngest prospect to receive the award. He made his presence felt even before he suited up for the AFL, earning promotions to the Braves’ Double-A Mississippi and Triple-A Gwinnett and batting a remarkable .325/.374/.522 with 21 home runs across three levels in 2017.

Acuna was also a major factor in the Javelinas’ win on Saturday, but he wasn’t the first to make some noise. The Solar Sox got to right-hander T.J. Zeuch in the first inning, leading off with three singles and a run-scoring sac fly to get a 2-0 edge over the Javelinas. It was the only lead they’d get all afternoon and it lasted just two innings. Luis Urias snapped the shutout with a sac fly in the bottom of the second inning, and the Javelinas took the lead with a game-tying RBI single from Acuna and two-run base hit from Braves’ no. 16 prospect Alex Jackson in the third.

From then on, it was smooth sailing for Peoria. Andrew Case, Andres Munoz and Art Warren combined for 3 1/3 scoreless innings in relief, while the offense tacked on another handful of runs with Acuna’s fourth-inning two-RBI single and Michael Chavis’ eighth-inning triple. With runners at the corners and one out, the Solar Sox lifted right-hander Dakota Bacus for fellow righty Nolan Blackwood. Even he was flummoxed by Acuna, however, who grabbed hold of the first pitch he saw and returned another sac fly to center field for the Javelinas’ eighth and final run of the game.

Only 131 days left until Opening Day, folks.