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Major League Baseball reorganizes its front office

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Major League Baseball announced this morning that it has reorganized the senior staff of the league office. It’ll break down like this:

  • Dan Halem will assume the title of Deputy Commissioner, Baseball Administration and will continue in his capacity as Chief Legal Officer. Halem will oversee MLB’s labor relations, baseball operations, all legal functions, human resources, diversity efforts and the Department of Investigations, among other areas;
  • Tony Petitti, who had been Chief Operating Officer, will assume the title of Deputy Commissioner, Business & Media and will manage all content and revenue-related operations. Petitti will oversee MLB’s marketing, broadcasting and media rights, MLB Network (MLBN), digital content, product development, youth programming and special events, among other areas;
  • Chris Park will assume the title of Executive Vice President, Product & Marketing, working closely with Petitti and managing all MLB digital consumer products, including the At Bat app and MLB.TV, among other areas;
  • Noah Garden will be Executive Vice President, Commerce, overseeing all domestic and international sales, licensing and sponsorship activities across MLB, MLB Advanced Media (MLBAM) and MLBN, as well as ticketing through Tickets.com, and working closely with Petitti;
  • Chris Marinak will assume the title of Executive Vice President, Strategy, Technology & Innovation and will manage the technology organization, including all on-field technology (e.g., Replay and Statcast), strategic baseball initiatives and work with the Competition Committee;
  • Jason Gaedtke will continue as MLB’s Chief Technology Officer responsible for all technology initiatives, including software and data engineering, mobile app development and technology infrastructure;
  • Joe Torre will remain MLB’s Chief Baseball Officer;
  • Bob Starkey will remain MLB’s Chief Financial Officer & Senior Advisor and will now have direct oversight of all finance functions, including MLB, MLBAM and MLBN; and
  • Pat Courtney will remain MLB’s Chief Communications Officer and his responsibilities will include public relations, social responsibility, community affairs and charities (including the Baseball Assistance Team).

The big takeaway here is that Halem and Petitti — legal and business guys — are now deputy commissioners and that marketing, sales, and technology guys are all listed ahead of substantive baseball guys. Which makes perfect sense when you understand what the work of the league office actually entials.

Baseball is a business, folks. To the men who run it, it’s a business first, as is evidenced by their org chart.

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.