Mike Trout

Keith Law releases his annual top 100 prospects list

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I look forward to this every year: Keith Law has released his annual 100 top prospects list.  Yes, it’s only for those with an Insider subscription, but at the risk of promoting the business of a competing sports network/conglomerate, I would submit to you that Law’s work is worth the price of a subscription itself, assuming you have the means.

I shan’t give away his list — you really should read it — but know that for the second year in a row he has the Angels’ Mike Trout first and Bryce Harper second. He also has a pretty good quote about Jesus Montero that I intend to steal and adapt for use of other defensively-challenged players (“As a catcher, Montero is not a catcher”).  He also depresses me by noting that Braves prospect Arodys Vizaino is a great prospect as a starter when I suspect that Atlanta is gonna keep him in the pen.

Clear your calendar, folks. This is an annual must-read.  And something that, if you care at all about prospects, which you should, you will go back and reference dozens of times throughout the season.

Braves ink Blaine Boyer to a minor league deal

DENVER, CO - OCTOBER 2:  Relief pitcher Blaine Boyer #48 of the Milwaukee Brewers delivers to home plate during the seventh inning against the Colorado Rockies at Coors Field on October 2, 2016 in Denver, Colorado. (Photo by Justin Edmonds/Getty Images)
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The Braves have signed reliever Blaine Boyer to a minor league contract with an invitation to spring training, MLB.com’s Mark Bowman reports. Bowman adds that the right-hander has a “good chance” to make the Braves’ bullpen out of spring training.

Boyer, 35, spent the past season with the Brewers, finishing with a 3.95 ERA and a 26/17 K/BB ratio in 66 innings.

Boyer, of course, started his professional baseball career with the Braves as they selected him in the third round of the 2000 draft. Since the Braves traded him in 2009, Boyer has pitched for the Cardinals, Diamondbacks, Mets, Padres, and Twins along with the Brewers.

Report: Rays nearing a deal with Shawn Tolleson

ST. LOUIS, MO - JUNE 18: Reliever Shawn Tolleson #37 of the Texas Rangers pitches against the St. Louis Cardinals in the eighth inning at Busch Stadium on June 18, 2016 in St. Louis, Missouri.  (Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images)
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Update (6:48 PM EST): Topkin reports the contract will be of the major league variety.

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Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times reports that the Rays and free agent reliever Shawn Tolleson are close to finalizing a contract.

Tolleson, who turns 29 years old on Thursday, had an ugly 2016 season, finishing with a 7.68 ERA and a 29/10 K/BB ratio in 36 1/3 innings. He was one of the Rangers’ best relievers in the two seasons prior to that, however, which included saving 35 games in 2015.