Top prospect Kyle Drabek secures spot in Blue Jays’ rotation

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Brandon Morrow beginning on the season on the disabled list ends whatever competition there was for rotation spots in Blue Jays camp, so 23-year-old top prospect Kyle Drabek has won a starting job.

In fact, Richard Griffin of the Toronto Star reports that Drabek will take Morrow’s place in the rotation and pitch Game 2 behind Opening Day starter Ricky Romero. Brett Cecil, Jesse Litsch, and Jo-Jo Reyes will fill out the rest of the rotation.

Morrow is hoping to miss just one start, but slotting Drabek into the No. 2 spot indicates that the Blue Jays have no plans to send him back to the minors.

Acquired from the Phillies in the Roy Halladay trade and ranked by Baseball America as 29th-best prospect in the game this year, Drabek had a 2.94 ERA and 132/68 K/BB ratio in 162 innings at Double-A last season before going 0-3 with a 4.76 ERA in three September starts for the Blue Jays.

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.