Imagine an outfield where Ronald Acuna is the worst defensive player. That could be a reality in the near future if both he and Cristian Pache become regulars at the major league level, joining two-time Gold Glove winner Ender Inciarte to form what could be the most dynamic defensive outfield ever. The Braves will have to be patient, but Pache is impressing a lot of scouts and is a popular pick to break out with the bat as well.
Braves überprospect Ronald Acuna can do almost anything on the diamond, including play quality defense in center field, but he’ll eventually have to cede the position. That’s because Pache’s blazing speed and fine instincts allow him to cover more ground in the outfield than perhaps any other prospect. He also has plus arm strength, unusual for his position, and used it to top the low Class A South Atlantic League with 17 assists last summer.
Braves beat writer Mark Bowman answers fan questions this week, with the first being an inquiry as to whether or not Mike Foltynewicz would benefit from a move to the bullpen. Naturally, Bowman indicates that this line of thinking is a bit premature, but the possibility does exist for Folty to become the Atlanta closer is subsequent seasons. Another question is in regards to Alex Anthopoulos and his unwillingness to part with any Braves pitching prospects thus far.
Actually, I think Anthopoulos would be wise to stick with the plan for him and his scouts to make their own evaluations of these young pitchers before making a significant trade. Yeah, there are existing reports and even some holdover scouts who are quite familiar with what the likes of Kolby Allard, Mike Soroka and the others can bring both on and off the field. But it would be much more comfortable to make one of these potentially franchise-altering decisions after having gained the chance to make evaluations with your own eyes and ears.
David O’Brien checks in with soon-to-be Hall of Famer Chipper Jones, delving into what he does now and how he is handling the probability that he will be in Cooperstown this summer. DOB also asked if Chipper had made any contact with the Braves’ new GM, Alex Anthopoulos:
We’ve texted a couple of times. He reached out just before the holidays, and then I got busy; I took all the kids out snowboarding at Steamboat (Springs, Colarado) for Christmas, and then with hunting season just wrapping up and arbitration season for him, he’s been real busy so I didn’t want to bother him. I’m probably going to wait until this Hall of Fame stuff kind of dies down and then call him and discuss spring training and go from there.
The Giants are taking an odd approach to the offseason, somehow bypassing the “win now” strategy in favor of the “win five years ago” strategy, which would be a great explanation for their infatuation with acquiring aging stars that have seen their production fall off considerably in recent years. The acquisitions of Andrew McCutchen and Evan Longoria should make them better, but they still look like the fourth-best team in that division.
Okay, I get that there are a lot of talented right-handed pitching prospects around baseball, and the Braves’ contingent of top-notch pitchers consists of mostly left-handers, but how can Mike Soroka not make the cut?