The Cardinals got most of their offseason shopping done early this year, but the club still wants to add a right-handed-hitting infielder to provide insurance behind young second baseman Kolten Wong.
And there may be a specific target in mind.
According to Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle, the Cards spoke to the agent for Mark Ellis on Tuesday at the Winter Meetings. Slusser notes that Ellis’ agent has “met with a number of clubs,” but St. Louis has money to spend and is typically an attractive landing spot for free agents.
Ellis batted just .270/.323/.351 in 480 plate appearances this past season for the Dodgers, but the 36-year-old is a strong defensive second baseman and can serve as a kind of mentor to the 23-year-old Wong, who was the No. 22 overall pick in 2011.
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.