Throughout this week, our minor league crew is going to release their preseason prospect list, so you can go ahead and get excited about discussing/arguing that particular list. Meanwhile, Baseball America released their top 10 list for 2017, and it includes many familiar names — Dansby Swanson being the foremost name on that list.
Just seeing this now. Bill Ballew of BA did a Braves prospects chat https://t.co/IkDvJv8AVP— Scott Coleman (@scottcoleman55) December 11, 2016
Spoiler alert: Dansby Swanson won’t be topping the prospect list over here. He’s still a rookie, but it’s clear that he’s moved on from “prospect” status and is expected to be a contributor to any level of success that the Braves hope to achieve this season and beyond. Terence Moore of MLB.com recently did a bit of a profile on the rookie shortstop and he’s bullish on the future of the team.
"I think a lot of what makes you successful is focusing on the now, and not getting too far ahead of yourself about next year, and also by not living in the past," Swanson said. "You want to focus on each day, and when the time comes, you prepare for the game, and then you try to put your best ball out there on the field. So I wouldn't say it's a conscious thought that we have to build off what we did [last season], but we know we're going in the right direction, and now it's just a matter of building that chemistry with one other."
One player who will definitely be somewhere on the prospect list is Ronald Acuna. Acuna had a solid season playing for the Rome Braves in 2016, and he’s doing a decent job of getting a leg up on 2017 by playing well in the Australian Baseball League. The AJC has the details:
The MLB Pipeline at MLB.com ranks Acuna the Braves’ No. 17 overall prospect. Overall at Melbourne, he is 20-for-57, with two homers, 12 RBIs, 11 runs scored, three doubles and a triple. He had stolen 10 bases in 11 attempts and had a slugging percentage of .544 and an OPS of .937.
He has hit safely in his past seven games, in which he is 12-for-26 with two homers and 10 RBIs. He had a four-RBI game Dec. 2.
The low point among his stats are his 10 strikeouts.
Brian Snitker is no longer the interim manager — he’s got the permanent tag now, and he’s well aware of the fact that this is a huge opportunity for him after spending 40 years with the Braves. He’s hoping that the way the Braves ended 2016 is a trend that will continue into 2017, instead of being an isolated run of good baseball.
Emilio Bonifacio only made 24 appearances at the major league level for the Braves last season as he spent most of the year tearing up the basepaths for the G-Braves. His performance at that level was apparently enough to convince the Braves to bring him back into the fold on a minor league deal.
Over the weekend, Danny Espinosa decided to skip the Washington Nationals’ WinterFest event since he wasn’t happy with his role on the Nationals. Shortly after the event ended, Espinosa got the news that he’d been traded to the Angels in exchange for a couple of prospects.
The White Sox were did their level best to drive up the price for Chris Sale (before they eventually traded him to Boston), but apparently the Rays have decided that they’re going to try to one-up Chicago when it comes to the return from trading a star pitcher. According to Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times, Chris Archer could cost a team plenty of assets if they want to acquire him this offseason.
With a handful of controllable and inexpensive starters, the Rays are in a strong position, given the barren free agent market and limited trade options, and they know it. The word from several interested teams is the Rays are seeking massive returns on just about everybody asked about. Even heard chatter they wanted more for RHP Chris Archer than the haul the White Sox got for more accomplished — though less controlled (three years vs. five) — LHP Chris Sale.