Despite shaky outing in minor league game, Roy Halladay expects to be ready for season

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Roy Halladay was back on the mound this afternoon for the first time since he was pulled from his start last Sunday after one inning due to a stomach virus. And the results weren’t all that encouraging.

In a minor league game against the Blue Jays, Halladay retired just seven out of the 18 batters he faced while allowing three runs (two earned) on seven hits, two walks and a hit batsman. Another batter reached on an error. Of the 82 pitches he threw, he got just three swings and misses. He reached 90 mph just once and mostly sat in the 87-89 mph range. Still, Halladay brushed it off by saying that he was happy with how his arm felt and that he wasn’t all that concerned with the results.

While Halladay isn’t going to overreact to a start against minor league competition, he did acknowledge that he’s in the process of making some adjustments since he isn’t throwing as hard as he once did. This includes making some changes to the grip on his trademark cutter. Via Jim Salisbury of CSNPhilly.com:

“I don’t know of any guys who were throwing harder as they got older,” Halladay said after making a less than impressive minor-league start Saturday. “You’re always trying to evolve with the game and your body.

“To me, it’s a competition, not a boxing match. It’s not a strength-vs.-strength. It’s a chess match. It’s competition of the mind, and execution, and being smarter, and being more prepared. To me, that’s what I’ve enjoyed. That’s what I’ve liked about baseball.

“You look at a Jamie Moyer. He could compete with the best of them. He would’ve gotten knocked out in the first round if he was a boxer. It’s just a different mentality. It’s not about the strength and throwing harder and overpowering guys. It’s about outsmarting and being more prepared and being more consistent. That to me is a challenge.”

Halladay’s final spring tuneup will be next Thursday. While questions about his diminished stuff figure to linger well into the regular season, he expects to be ready to go against the Braves on April 3.

Ronald Acuna tops Keith Law’s top-100 prospect list

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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.