Braves' Ronald Acuna claims top spot on Baseball America's top 100 prospects list
Acuna edged out Shohei Ohtani and Vladimir Guerrero Jr.
Spring training is less than a month away, which means we are in the middle of prospect season. In the coming days and weeks the various scouting publications will release all their relevant prospect rankings. It's a fun time of year.
Baseball America, the foremost authority in all things prospects, published their annual top 100 prospects list on Monday. Braves outfielder Ronald Acuna sits in the top spot. Here are the top 10 and how they were acquired:
- OF Ronald Acuna, Braves (international free agent signed July 2014)
- RHP/DH Shohei Ohtani, Angels (international free agent signed December 2017)
- 3B Vladimir Guerrero Jr., Blue Jays (international free agent signed July 2015)
- OF Eloy Jimenez, White Sox (Jose Quintana trade with Cubs)
- OF Victor Robles, Nationals (international free agent signed July 2013)
- SS Gleyber Torres, Yankees (Aroldis Chapman trade with Cubs)
- 3B Nick Senzel, Reds (2nd overall pick in 2016 draft)
- SS Bo Bichette, Blue Jays (66th overall pick in 2016 draft)
- SS Fernando Tatis Jr., Padres (James Shields trade with White Sox)
- RHP Forrest Whitley, Astros (17th overall pick in 2016)
Lots of sons of former ballplayers! There's Vlad Jr. and Tatis Jr., and Bichette is Dante Bichette's son. Also, Ohtani is rookie-eligible (and therefore prospect-eligible) in 2018 despite all his experience in Japan. That has always been the case. Ichiro Suzuki was named Rookie of the Year back in 2001, remember. Ohtani is eligible for the award this coming season.
Acuna, Matt Kemp earlier this offseason in part to open an outfield spot for Acuna. He is expected to join their lineup at some point his season., hit a robust .325/.374/.522 with 31 doubles, 21 home runs, and 44 steals in 139 games at three different levels last season. He spent the entire season at age 19 -- Acuna turned 20 in December -- and reached Triple-A. The Braves traded
According to Baseball America's rankings, Acuna is the first Braves prospect to rank as the No. 1 prospect in the game since Andruw Jones ranked first in both 1996 and 1997. Chipper Jones (1993) and Steve Avery (1990) also claimed the top spot in the past. Here are the last few No. 1 prospects according to Baseball America:
- 2018: Ronald Acuna, Braves
- 2017: Andrew Benintendi, Red Sox
- 2016: Corey Seager, Dodgers
- 2015: Kris Bryant, Cubs
- 2014: Byron Buxton, Twins
Prospects are suspects until proven otherwise, but generally speaking, claiming the top spot on Baseball America's annual top 100 list bodes very well long-term. Acuna has a chance to be special.
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