With the rapid speed at which Ronald Acuna has ascended through the minors, I ought to take every opportunity to write about him while I still can. If you hadn’t heard, Acuna was promoted to AAA on Wednesday evening, and the Braves best position prospect since Jason Heyward is now just a call away. Exciting news for dynasty league owners all over. In my updated Mid-Season Top 100 I ranked Acuna 5th in all of baseball, and after seeing the confidence the Braves have in the precocious 19 year old, how could you not? He brings to the table hard contact with an all-fields approach, 30 steal speed, and a huge ceiling. The plate discipline could be better, but to put things in perspective, he’s 19 and playing at the highest levels of full season ball while many of his contemporaries are just beginning short season and rookie ball. So I expect plate approach to be an area where things should improve as Acuna matures as a hitter. What he does at Gwinnett will be telling, particularly if he really struggles for the first time in his career. How he deals with that, adjusts, and rebounds will be the true test of his metal. It’s tough to say if he will struggle or not, but if he hits the ground running, I could picture a world, maybe as soon as a month, where Acuna is considered the top prospect in the game. Trust me I’ve made bold proclamations about Acuna before. Here’s what I said when I ranked him #42 overall in the pre-season, “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 was right on both fronts, but was more conservative with his ETA setting it at 2019. That’s obviously no longer the case, outside of unforeseen circumstances of course. **KNOCK ON WOOD** Anyway, Acuna has a strong chance of seeing at least a few weeks of action in September, but I wouldn’t expect a call-up in the next few weeks. Though the possibility of Acuna breaking camp in 2018 is less remote than it was a few months ago, I’d be surprised by any promotion before mid-May next year. He’s a name to know for players in all formats, as this could be a stud in the making. Here’s what else I saw in the MiLB…

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There’s really no need for any introduction on this one, it’s the post upon which all prospectors are judged. It’s the Mid-Season Update to my Top 100 Prospects for 2017 Fantasy Baseball. Full disclosure, I was loosey-goosey with the eligibility rules this time around. So, while some players in the majors and under their limits might appear on this list (Clint Frazier, Franklin Barreto, Etc.), others don’t (Raimel Tapia). No rhyme or reason to it, what-so-ever. This list feels more upside heavy to me, but there was no slant or algorithm for my ranks. Just good old fashioned personal bias, of which I have plenty. Seriously, I’m an opinionated lad! But that’s why I do this in the first place. Please keep in mind, this list is 100% fantasy focused. Meaning it might differ quite a bit from other Top 100’s you may come across. Anyway, thanks for reading and enjoy! The next 100 (101-200) will be out on Thursday.

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Notoriously unpredictable, pitching prospects are amongst the most difficult of commodities to remain patient with. Our opinions and values, at least on a general consensus level, fluctuate frequently on pitchers, major leagues or minors, based on recent performance. So, what better way to celebrate our recency blinders than to discuss the top breakout hurlers of the first half in the minor leagues. Some of these guys have some pedigree, others came into the year a little more obscure, but all are worthy of our attention, and perhaps an add in the right format. The road to major league stardom is often not a straight line, and while I have no data behind this, it feels like a breakout by a pitcher is a little more telling of long term success. The reason I say this is, more often than not, these breakouts are derived from a tweak or change to mechanics, grips, or other small developments. No two players develop the same, and while Top 100 lists are great, they don’t do a very good job of projecting future value between Lucas Giolito and Jacob Faria. That’s not to say we don’t nail one every so often, but the majors these days are a different ball world. So sit back and enjoy it while I breakout heads, ribs, $100 bills…(3).

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I hear Jerry Dipoto kills the whistling solo from the Scorpions “Winds of Change“. Then again, it’s a whistling solo in a rock song. But that’s not the reason he kills it. Oh no, it’s because JDP, as I call him, loves change. I mean, JDP walks into a room and changes everything just because he can. He only leases cars, and never moves in with his girlfriends. He loves a good month to month contract, and has had 7 different hairstyles in the past 17 months. Suffice it to say things at his workplace are changing too. His work place just so happens to be the Seattle Mariners baseball club, and he just so happens to run the joint. He’s already made dozens of trades over the last couple of offseasons, and overhauled the organizational philosophy. Running a hitting summit for their minor leaguers focusing on cutting strikeouts and improving contact rates. What followed were career years from some of their top power bats with contact woes, players like Tyler O’Neill, and DJ Peterson gained the most. All across the organization winning became a priority. In fact, all six of the Mariners minor league affiliates qualified for some sort of post season baseball, with Jackson their AA affiliate, and their rookie level Arizona League affiliate taking home titles. The changes are evident in the upside of their recent draft class too, spearheaded by 2016 Golden Spikes winner Kyle Lewis, and talented prep bat Joe Rizzo. Add that to trades for MLB ready talents, and the aforementioned break outs across the organization last year, and you have recipe for success. Big shouts to Tehol Beddict, Sky, and the rest of the Mariners fans here on Razzball. It’s the Top Seattle Mariners Prospects for 2017 Fantasy Baseball.

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Seattle’s farm produced two interesting players for the 2016 fantasy baseball season. I like Ketel Marte as a late-round flyer at a shallow middle infield position. He can hit and steal, and should be a good source of runs if he bats in front of Robinson Cano and Nelson Cruz as he’s currently projected. Then there’s Carson Smith, who I imagine a lot of fantasy owners will be drafting as the closer in waiting if he hasn’t already taken the reins by opening day. The first thing I noticed when putting together this preview is the plethora of outfield prospects in the Mariners’ system, as well as the lack of impact talent from the 2015 draft (they didn’t pick in the first round). It’s a bit dicey gambling on hitters that may call Seattle their home one day, so this has never been my go-to system for fantasy prospects. Of course the flip side of that is that their pitching prospects have a little more room to breathe.

Please, blog, may I have some more?