Globe iconLogin iconRecap iconSearch iconTickets icon

news

MLB News

Winter Leagues roundup: Braves' Acuna thrives Down Under

MLB.com

The Australian Baseball League All-Star Game came to a dramatic finish on Thursday as Stefan Welch delivered a walk-off single to power Team Australia past the World All-Stars, 2-1.

The game also served as a showcase for a trio of rising prospects, with Ronald Acuna, Stone Garrett and Kevin Padlo all showing well for the World squad in the loss.

The Australian Baseball League All-Star Game came to a dramatic finish on Thursday as Stefan Welch delivered a walk-off single to power Team Australia past the World All-Stars, 2-1.

The game also served as a showcase for a trio of rising prospects, with Ronald Acuna, Stone Garrett and Kevin Padlo all showing well for the World squad in the loss.

Acuna, the Braves' No. 17 prospect, opened the game with a ringing double into the right-center-field gap, and, later, he picked up a stolen base after drawing a walk. His .375 average through 20 games for the Melbourne Aces ranks third in the league and his 1.001 OPS fifth. He also sits atop the leaderboard with 27 hits and 13 steals (tied with LeDarious Clark). In 2016, the 18-year-old Acuna posted a .311/.387/.432 slash line over 40 games at Class A Rome in an injury-plagued campaign.

Garrett, meanwhile, was the only player on the World All-Stars to collect multiple hits, finishing 2-for-4 with a stolen base. The Marlins' No. 7 prospect entered the contest having collected hits in nine straight games for the Sydney Blue Sox -- a stretch that has lifted Garrett's overall slash line to .324/.370/.473, with six extra-base hits and four stolen bases in 20 games.

Complete coverage of the Australian Baseball League

Padlo, the Rays' No. 20 prospect, failed to collect a hit in the All-Star Game but reached base once via a walk, stole a base and plated the World's only run with a sacrifice fly. He sits atop the ABL leaderboard in extra-base hits (tied at 11) and triples (three) and ranks second in RBIs (tied at 16). During the regular season, the 20-year-old third baseman posted a .771 OPS thanks in part to a Midwest League-leading 79 walks. He also finished tied for third with 16 home runs at Class A Bowling Green.

Here's a look at some of the top prospects currently making waves in the offseason Winter Leagues.

Dominican Republic

Chesny Young, 2B/3B, Cubs -- Young, the Cubs' No. 28 prospect, went 3-for-4 with an RBI on Thursday to help power Leones del Escogido past Estrellas Orientales, 6-4. After winning the Carolina League batting title (.321 average) in 2015 and then hitting .303 last season in his first taste of Double-A, Young has continued to rake this winter, producing a .351 average in 22 games.

Complete coverage of the Caribbean Leagues

Ramon Torres, SS/2B, Royals -- The Royals' No. 30 prospect has swung the bat well for Gigantes del Cibao so far, hitting .306/.351/.452 with 14 extra-base hits and 26 runs scored in 41 games. Torres, 23, split his time between both middle-infield positions in 2016, when he hit .262/.311/.328 in 114 games between the Double- and Triple-A levels.

Puerto Rico

Jorge Lopez, RHP, Brewers -- The Brewers' No. 14 prospect was touched up for the first time in nearly a month this week, as he allowed three earned runs on two hits and two walks in three innings in his Dec. 20 start for Indios de Mayaguez. Despite the shaky outing, Lopez still ranks first in WHIP (0.78) and fourth in ERA (1.76) among qualified hurlers, and he's limited opposing hitters to just 14 hits (.136 BAA) while posting a 26-10 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 30 2/3 innings.

Venezuela

Yandy Diaz, 3B/OF, Indians -- The Indians' No. 10 prospect turned in another strong campaign in the high Minors in 2016, hitting .318/.408/.446 with 35 extra-base hits and a 71-86 walk-to-strikeout rate in 121 games between the Double- and Triple-A levels. The 25-year-old third baseman/outfielder has been one of the top hitters this offseason while playing for Leones del Caracas in Venezuela, where his .375 average paces all hitters with at least 35 games played. Much of that has to do with his performance in the past 10 games, during which he's hit a robust .429/.512/.543.

Video: Top Prospects: Yandy Diaz, 3B, Indians

Carlos Tocci, OF, Phillies -- The Venezuela native received his first taste of winter ball last offseason, when he hit .333 in 11 games for Tigres de Aragua, and then posted a .284/.331/.362 batting line over a full season in the Class A Advanced Florida State League. The Phillies' No. 22 prospect is now continuing to produce in Venezuela, hitting .317/.398/.381 with nine extra-base hits and 23 RBIs through 55 games for Tigres.

Raudel Lazo, LHP, Marlins -- Lazo allowed his first earned run of the offseason Thursday in his 23rd appearance for Tigres de Aragua. Overall, the Marlins' No. 28 prospect has pitched to a 0.44 ERA and a 0.93 WHIP in 20 1/3 innings, all the while holding hitters to a .178 average.

Tomas Telis, C, Marlins -- Telis had another strong season at the plate in 2016 as he hit .310/.362/.429 over 91 games at Triple-A New Orleans. The Marlins' No. 12 prospect continued to hit in the big leagues following a September callup (.308 average in 13 at-bats), and he now owns a .324/.387/.405 slash line -- thanks in part to hits in five straight games -- in 33 games for Caribes de Anzoategui.

Video: MIA@WSH: Telis scores two with first career home run

Mike Rosenbaum is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @GoldenSombrero.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.