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Shohei Ohtani is still the best prospect in baseball

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MLB Pipeline revealed their top 100 prospects for 2018 on Saturday night, and Angels’ wunderkind Shohei Ohtani still tops the list. MLB.com’s Jonathan Mayo explained the parameters for determining prospect status: a player has to have rookie eligibility and must be under the age-25 threshold if they’ve played in professional leagues in Japan, Korea, Taiwan or Cuba. As Ohtani is entering his age-23 season, he retains his prospect status despite the five years of experience he accumulated in Nippon Professional Baseball.

The rest of MLB Pipeline’s top 10 prospects include many of the same names that made the 2017 preseason list: Ronald Acuna, Vladimir Guerrero Jr., Eloy Jimenez, Gleyber Torres, Victor Robles, Nick Senzel and Michael Kopech have shifted around a little in the rankings, but all managed to retain their top-1o status.

Two newcomers were added to the top 10 this year: Padres shortstop Fernando Tatis Jr., who jumped from no. 52 to no. 8, and Astros right-hander Forrest Whitley, who was promoted from no. 36 to no. 9. Tatis destroyed Single-A pitching in 2017, raking in an unprecedented 21 home runs and 29 stolen bases, and was promoted to Double-A San Antonio by the end of his age-18 season. Whitley was similarly impressive in his first Double-A stint; the 19-year-old right-hander polished off a 1.84 ERA in 14 2/3 innings and currently projects as the no. 2 right-handed pitching prospect behind Ohtani.

The full list of top 100 prospects can be found over on MLB.com. Here’s a fun breakdown of the number of prospects by affiliation:

Rays acquire C.J. Cron from Angels

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The Rays have acquired first baseman C.J. Cron from the Angels for a player to be named later, the teams announced Saturday. In a corresponding move, the Rays cleared a roster spot for Cron by designating outfielder Corey Dickerson for assignment.

Cron wasn’t expected to factor prominently in the Angels’ plans for 2018, especially given the recent addition of pitcher/hitter Shohei Ohtani and the projected Luis Valbuena/Albert Pujols combo at first base. The 28-year-old infielder wasn’t overly impressive during his fourth season in Anaheim, either, slashing .248/.305/.437 with 16 home runs and 0.5 fWAR through 373 plate appearances in 2017. He’ll give the Rays a platoon option with fellow first baseman Brad Miller, though neither Cron nor Miller have looked particularly adept against left-handed pitching lately.

Dickerson, meanwhile, is coming off of a banner season with the Rays. The 29-year-old outfielder enjoyed his first All-Star nomination in 2017, rounding out the year with a .282/.325/.490 batting line and career-best 27 home runs and 2.6 fWAR in 629 PA. Some have already speculated that a trade is in the works; barring that, it’s a head-scratching move to make considering his clear offensive value to the team.