Twins second baseman Brian Dozier has another year left on his four-year, $20 million contract with the club, but extension talks have yet to surface again this offseason. “There has been none whatsoever, zero conversations about [staying in Minnesota] after next year,” he told Sid Hartman of the Minneapolis Star Tribune. That doesn’t necessarily indicate a reticence on the Twins’ part, however; there’s still plenty of time left for the two sides to work something out, and the team’s recent resurgence suggests that they won’t be looking to shed any of their core players via trade.
Dozier, 30, was one of the Twins’ top performers in 2017. He put up his second-best career numbers to date, slashing .271/.359/.498 with 34 home runs and 5.0 fWAR in 705 plate appearances. While he saw a slight regression from his 40+ homer, 5.9-fWAR performance in 2016, he finished the year with his first career Gold Glove and placed 11th among AL MVP candidates.
With the Twins looking to contend again in 2018, club owner Jim Pohlad told reporters that any deal involving someone of Dozier’s caliber would have to include “a future core player […] or players.” Given the fact that Dozier is currently positioned to enter a mammoth free agent pool next fall (one that will include Bryce Harper, Manny Machado and Clayton Kershaw, among a plethora of other standouts), it might be in the club’s best interest to hammer out an extension sooner rather than later — especially if he continues to be the durable, proven power hitter the Twins have enjoyed in seasons past.
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.