The Twins are “hoping to get a meeting” with free agent right-hander Yu Darvish in the near future, Darren Wolfson of KSTP reported Friday. Darvish is one of the biggest free agents still on the market this winter, and the Twins have made no attempts to conceal their interest in him, though Wolfson says there’s no reason to believe the club has presented a formal offer just yet.
Darvish, 31, split from the Rangers last July in a deadline trade to the Dodgers. His second-half resurgence in Los Angeles lifted him to a combined 10-12 record in 31 starts for the two teams, augmented by his fourth career All-Star nomination and a 3.86 ERA, 2.8 BB/9 and 10.1 SO/9 in 186 2/3 innings. Despite his brief and disappointing performance in the 2017 World Series, he still fits the bill as a front-end starter and is expected to command a long-term deal in excess of $100 million.
Competition for the righty is fierce, but Darvish doesn’t appear to have entered serious negotiations with any of the suitors named so far. He met with the Cubs and Astros early in the week and took a meeting with the Rangers as well, though Jeff Wilson of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram reports the latter was an informal meeting between friends and not anything resembling contract discussions. Not only are the Twins positioned to contend again in 2018, but they have the financial flexibility to make a lucrative offer (not to mention plenty of space for an ace in their rotation) and may very well end up being a frontrunner for Darvish’s services.
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.