Jeff Schultz of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports that Major League Baseball has suspended Braves pitching coach Roger McDowell for two weeks without pay following his actions toward a group of fans last weekend in San Francisco.
He has also been fined an undisclosed — but probably quite hefty — sum of money.
According to reports, McDowell made homophobic slurs, crude gestures and even threatened to knock out a fan’s teeth with a baseball bat. No matter what sparked those reactions, the longtime player and coach was completely in the wrong and is now facing one of the biggest punishments baseball has levied on a coach in a long while.
Dave Wallace has been filling in at McDowell’s post for the Braves on an interim basis. The two-week suspension is retroactive to April 29, when the Braves initially put McDowell on administrative leave.
McDowell will also be required by Major League Baseball to take part in a sensitivity training program.
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.