Nolan Ryan used to be the Texas Rangers’ “control person.” Now it’s Ray Davis, who was ratified as such by the owners and Bud Selig today down at the owners’ meetings in Orlando.
Not that that means he really controls the Rangers the way we normally think of that term. It just means that he is the person who is accountable to Major League Baseball for the operation of the Club and for the Club’s compliance with the rules of Baseball. The guy Bud calls on the carpet if things are bad and the guy who gets to appear at celebratory press conferences if things are good.
Sometimes the control person actually runs the team. Sometimes he’s just the face while more anonymous monied interests retain control a la a board of directors or something. The Rangers are like that. The Giants are too. So don’t necessarily get used to stories about “Ray Davis calling the shots in Texas.”
And that’s the case even if people liked to pretend that Nolan Ryan did that when he was the control person before Davis.
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.