The Braves announced on Wednesday that the club acquired outfielder Preston Tucker from the Astros for a player to be named later or cash considerations. To make room on the 40-man roster, the Braves designated pitcher Luke Jackson for assignment.
Tucker, 27, spent all of last season at Triple-A Fresno. He hit .250/.333/.465 with 24 home runs and 96 RBI in 568 plate appearances. He hasn’t played in the majors since 2016, when he compiled a .551 OPS in 48 games. The Braves could certainly use the outfield depth and Tucker could even wind up as a starting outfielder if he performs well in spring training. Tucker is also under team control through 2022.
Tucker was designated for assignment by the Astros last Friday to make room on the 40-man roster for reliever Hector Rondon.
Jackson, 26, is a hard-throwing right-handed reliever who has struggled over parts of three seasons in the majors. He owns a career 5.64 ERA with a 42/29 K/BB ratio in 68 2/3 innings. He’ll almost certainly have to take a minor league deal if he wants to show up at spring training.
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.