Earlier this month, it was reported that the Reds and Giants were involved in “serious” trade talks involving center fielder Billy Hamilton. The two sides haven’t yet been able to agree on a deal, but talks remain ongoing as of today, MLB Network’s Jon Morosi reports.
Hamilton, 27, is entering his second of three years of arbitration eligibility. As such, he can become a free agent after the 2019 season, giving an acquiring team two years of control. Last season, the speedy outfielder hit .247/.299/.335 with 59 stolen bases and 85 runs scored in 633 plate appearances while also playing terrific defense.
The Giants sent center fielder Denard Span to the Rays in the Evan Longoria deal, so as of right now, Gorkys Hernandez would be the club’s starting center fielder if the season started today. Even if the Giants don’t end up acquiring Hamilton, they should still be expected to add another outfielder before the start of 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.