Every few years a farm system develops to the point that it’s busting at the seams with talent. An organization builds  and before you know it they’ve cultivated more talent than they can possibly use, and therefore have reached what I call the “embarrassment of riches” phase. This time is now for the Atlanta Braves farm system, long thought to be propped up by the organizations pitching depth, that is no longer the case. So far early in the 2017 campaign the Braves have produced two of the breakout stars of the young season in Ronald Acuna, and newly (re)converted catcher Alex Jackson. To call Acuna a breakout star is probably a bit disingenuous, as he was well within my Top 100 in the pre-season, ranking 42nd overall. This is how I described him then, “Could be this season’s Victor Robles. Five tool player, that tore up Australia this winter, poised for a big jump in the mid-season list. Trade for him now.” I hope you listened to my advice and traded for him then, because after his entrance to AA on Tuesday he might be tough to wrangle from his owners. What exactly has the 19 year old outfielder done since his promotion on Tuesday? How about going 6/8 with 2 homers, 2 steals, 4 runs, and 4 RBIs. It’s funny how Acuna has exploded the last few weeks after initially struggling to start the season. After slashing .209/.261/.349 in the season’s first 11 games, Acuna is hitting .355/.398/.605 with 4 homers and 10 steals in the 18 matches since. As I said calling him a breakout is disingenuous, but he looks to be rising into another tier of prospects. As for his former and future teammate Alex Jackson the story is quite different. As the former 6th overall pick in the 2014 draft struggled for 2 1/2 years in the Mariners organization, before being traded to the Braves this offseason for a pair of fringe major league starters. Jackson at one point in time was one of the more decorated high school players in recent memory. Having been named a three time Baseball America All-American, a two time Under Armor All-American, and even winning Baseball Prospectus Prospect of the Year before even being drafted. A catcher in high school, the Mariners decided to move him to the outfield, where Jackson struggled. Slowly his body and skill set deteriorated, and many minor league experts, myself included had written him off. Bad move on our part. Since joining the Braves organization and being moved back to catcher, all Jackson has done is take siege of the notoriously pitching friendly Florida State League, hitting .296/.348/.592 with 10 homers and 27 RBIs in 31 contests. He seems to have abandoned some patience in lieu of power, but when the results are good I’d take it every time. It’s getting to the point with Jackson, that if this continues into the summer he could easily rank within the top 5 fantasy catchers in the minors. Here’s the other happenings in the MiLB over the last few days.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Many, many years ago the old west was littered with once horse towns. This made travel problematic. With one horse you were destined to stand in endless lines waiting to get where you were going. Then again what’s the point of living in a one horse town? You might as well just walk to a town with multiple horses. Or maybe you could take the horse to a town with more horses and trade that horse for some magic beans….I think I just smoked my self stupid. This is just a really long and confusing way to say the Miami Marlins are a one prospect system. Seriously, I’d like to own Braxton Garrett in leagues that are 16 teams and shallower and that’s it. If you want to pick nits and tell me there’s another horse in this town have at it. I’ll be too busy walking to the next town over that has multiple horses. I suppose it should be noted that the Marlins have graduated a solid number of prospects over the past 5 years (Yelich, Ozuna, Realmuto, Jose Fernandez RIP) but have also given away a number as well. Players like Francis Martes, Josh Naylor, and Chris Paddack come to mind, and all they have to show for it is Jarrod Cosart. That’s bad business. While this will be my shortest system review of the year it’s for good reason, there’s not a lot to write about. It’s the Top Miami Marlins Prospects, hey at least it’s over. Oh wait, yeah you’re just starting it. Sorry…

Please, blog, may I have some more?

I don’t know where you’re from, by where I’m at everyone is getting High-A. I have no idea why I find this funny, it’s not. Then again they don’t pay me to be funny, actually they don’t pay me for anything. If I was paid for anything though it would probably be this, writing about prospects. Particularly those in the low minors and a few years away. Today, we’ll take a long look at the breakout players in two of the three High-A level leagues, the California League and the Florida State League. Though they share the distinction of being even in terms of level, the two circuits couldn’t boast more divergent offensive profiles. As the California League is known for its hitting and power friendly environment, the Florida State League is known for the opposite; low scoring games, and pitching friendly statistics. On Sunday we’ll dig into the numerous breakouts and players of note in the third High-A syndicate, the Carolina league. We’ll also touch on some of the top performers in the A level Midwest League. If there’s anyone else you feel I neglected to include that’s on your radar in the Cali or FSL, post it, I’d love to discuss them. You know what the old timers say, Prospecting takes a village.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Welcome to the second edition of the Lineup Maximizer! If you’re here as a result of my Reddit AMA, glad to know that that day wasn’t all for naught. Kidding! My motivations for dispensing fantasy advice are purely altruistic.

Before we get under with this week’s streaming picks, let’s recap how we did last week in honor of commenter Simply Fred. Record-keeping and accountability are taken seriously around these parts.

Last Week & Season Results

16 AB, 2 R, 0 HR, 1 RBI, 0 SB, .188 AVG.

My first edition’s picks did perform as well as hoped, but if you agree with the process, results should follow over a larger sample. The question should be raised though, what should we expect from these players? Sure, most of them have favorable matchups, that’s why I highlight them in the article. But they are still available in the vast majority of leagues for a reason, that reason being they aren’t good enough to be owned in the vast majority of leagues.

I could try to compute a baseline scientifically, something like the rate at which replacement level hitters score runs, homers, etc. on a per game basis, but let’s instead just do something that feels nice. A .250 average, that feels nice. If the hitters I suggest here end up getting one hit for every four at-bats, I think everyone would agree it was worth our time to do this. Also arbitrary, I’ll aim for .5 runs per game, .5 RBI, .2 HR, and .2 SB. If one of every five players hits a home run (one per article), I think we all go home happy.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

A Spanish woman, dressed in black, just pedaled past my house, chanting, “Luis Castillo no es Manny Trillo…Luis Castillo no es Manny Trillo…Luis Castillo… Oh shoot, I ripped my stockings!”  It was totally sad.  Kinda like when your best buddy, let’s call him Chase Utley, gets old man knee and the Phillies replace him with Luis Castillo.  Please, blog, may I have some more?

Please, blog, may I have some more?