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Diamondbacks sign reliever Yoshihisa Hirano

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The Arizona Diamondbacks have signed rigthanded Japanese reliever Yoshihisa Hirano. It’s a two-year, $6 million deal.

Hirano, 33, pitched for the Orix Buffaloes for the 11 season, with an ERA of 3.10 and a K/BB ratio of 884/228 over 974.2 innings pitched. He came up as a starter but has been used exclusively in relief since 2010, closing for the Buffaloes since 2013.

Hirano will likely be a setup man for the Dbacks, as Archie Bradley is likely going to move into the closing role with the departure of Fernando Rodney. There has, however, been some discussion of the Snakes stretching Bradley out and returning him to starting duties, which is what he did before 2017. Either way — as closer or as Bradley’s setup man — Hirano will give the Dbacks a lot of flexibility and will be filling a key role in their pen in 2018.

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.