Bryce Harper No. 1, nine Royals on BA’s Top 100 Prospects

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Baseball America put out its annual top 100 prospects list Wednesday, leading off with 2010 first overall pick Bryce Harper as the top prospect in the land. Here’s the top 10:

1. Bryce Harper (OF Nationals)
2. Mike Trout (OF Angels)
3. Jesus Montero (C Yankees)
4. Domonic Brown (OF Phillies)
5. Jeremy Hellickson (RHP Rays)
6. Julio Teheran (RHP Braves)
7. Aroldis Chapman (LHP Reds)
8. Eric Hosmer (1B Royals)
9. Mike Moustakas (3B Royals)
10. Wil Myers (OF Royals)

Six other Royals made the list, including left-handed pitchers John Lamb and Mike Montgomery back-to-back at Nos. 18 and 19. The Rays placed second with seven prospects, while the Braves and Yankees had six apiece.

At the other end of the spectrum, the Brewers placed no players on the list after trading No. 40 prospect Brett Lawrie for Shaun Marcum and No. 69 prospect Jake Odorizzi for Zack Greinke over the winter. The Marlins’ only representitive was Matt Dominguez at No. 81.

Given BA’s reputation for valuing upside, Hellickson as the top pitcher in the rankings is something of a surprise. While there’s a good case for him, he lacks the flash of Teheran or Chapman. That said, he probably is the best bet of the group to win 200 games as a major leaguer.

And as long as I’m throwing opinions around, I’d say BA was too low on the Giants’ Brandon Belt (No. 23), the Orioles’ Zach Britton (No. 28) and the Athletics’ Grant Green (No. 63). Placing too high were the White Sox’s Chris Sale (No. 20), new Ray Chris Archer (No. 27) and Jays catcher Travis d’Arnaud (No. 36).

Report: MLB likely to unilaterally implement pace of play changes

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ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick reports that talks between Major League Baseball and the MLB Players’ Association concerning pace of play changes have stalled, which makes it more likely that commissioner Rob Manfred unilaterally implements the changes he seeks. Those changes include a pitch clock and a restriction on catcher mound visits.

Manfred said, “My preferred path is a negotiated agreement with the players. But if we can’t get an agreement, we are going to have rule changes in 2018, one way or the other.”

The players have made several suggestions aimed at reducing the length of games, such as amending replay review rules, strictly monitoring down time between innings, and bringing back bullpen carts.

It is believed that MLB is proposing a pitch clock of 20 seconds. If a pitcher takes too long between pitches, he will have a ball added to the count. If the hitter takes too long, then he will have a strike added to the count.