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Inbox: Prospect Showdown edition

Ohtani vs. Darvish, Quantrill vs. Soroka, Robert vs. Maitan, Tucker vs. Senzel
MLB.com @JimCallisMLB

I led my past two MLBPipeline Inboxes with breakdowns comparing Braves outfielder Ronald Acuna to other elite prospects, first to White Sox outfielder Eloy Jimenez and then to Blue Jays third baseman Vladimir Guerrero Jr.. I love those sorts of questions, so we'll have an all-Prospect Showdown edition of Inbox this week.

Though we'll avoid Acuna this time around, there still are plenty of interesting comparisons to dive into. Let's start with one about a player who's dominating baseball headlines and will continue to do so until he chooses a team ... 

I led my past two MLBPipeline Inboxes with breakdowns comparing Braves outfielder Ronald Acuna to other elite prospects, first to White Sox outfielder Eloy Jimenez and then to Blue Jays third baseman Vladimir Guerrero Jr.. I love those sorts of questions, so we'll have an all-Prospect Showdown edition of Inbox this week.

Though we'll avoid Acuna this time around, there still are plenty of interesting comparisons to dive into. Let's start with one about a player who's dominating baseball headlines and will continue to do so until he chooses a team ... 

:: Submit a question to the Pipeline Inbox ::

Tweet from @Jaypers413: Ohtani vs. Darvish?

I'll tackle this one based on where Shohei Ohtani and Yu Darvish stood when they headed from Japan to the United States. For my answer, check out the video at the top of this article.

Tweet from @bryguy1881: Battle of the Canadian pitching prospects Cal Quantrill vs Mike Soroka

This question made me think for a while, because the two Canadian right-handers are quite similar, albeit with a clear if slight advantage when you break down each of their pitches and their ability to locate them. Quantrill (Padres) has more fastball at 92-97 mph with some sink and one of the best changeups in the Minors. Soroka (Braves) has a superior breaking ball, a hard hybrid of a curve and a slider, and better control and command.

I give Soroka, whose fastball and changeup are solid offerings, the slight edge. He also has the bigger and stronger body and has had significantly more success at the Double-A level despite being 2 1/2 years younger than Quantrill. Both project as No. 3 starters.

Video: Top Prospects: Mike Soroka, RHP, Braves

Tweet from @dannyphilpott42: Luis Robert or Kevin maitan

The last big-ticket Cuban signing before the rules in the new Collective Bargaining Agreement kicked in, Robert cost the White Sox a $26 million bonus and a matching amount in overage tax in May. Maitan was the premier prospect on the 2016-17 international amateur market, signing with the Braves for a Venezuelan-record $4.25 million in July 2016 before getting declared a free agent Nov. 21 as part of the fallout from the rule-breaking scandal that got former Atlanta GM John Coppolella banned for life from MLB.

There's not much performance to judge these guys on yet, because Robert played in the Rookie-level Dominican Summer League, the lowest rung of organized ball, and Maitan had a disappointing debut in the Rookie-level Appalachian League (albeit as its lone 17-year-old regular). Though I wouldn't read too much into Maitan's .220/.273/.323 Appy line, I'd still take Robert.

They profile as similar offensive performers, with their raw power standing out more than their hitting ability, with Robert offering significantly more speed (he's a well-above-average runner, while Maitan could wind up well below average) and potentially more defensive value. Robert has a chance to remain in center field while Maitan almost certainly will move from shortstop to third base and could have limited range if he continues to gain weight like he did in his first year in the United States. The switch-hitting Maitan is 2 1/2 years younger than Robert and earned comparisons to Miguel Cabrera and Chipper Jones in the past, so I may be selling him a bit short.

Video: Maitan, former Braves prospects become free agents

Tweet from @anythingreds: kyle tucker vs nick senzel

Kyle Tucker (Astros) was the No. 5 overall pick in 2015, while Nick Senzel (Reds) went No. 2 overall a year later. Though Senzel is 18 months older, they both spent the second half of 2017 in Double-A, where Senzel hit .340/.413/.560 and Tucker batted .265/.325/.512.

Senzel is a better pure hitter than Tucker and their power potential is similar. They're both average runners and Senzel has more defensive value as a solid third baseman compared to an average corner outfielder. So while I like them both a lot and they rank next to each other on the MLBPipeline.com Top 100 Prospects list we assembled in July, it's a fairly easy choice to take Senzel.

Jim Callis is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow @jimcallisMLB on Twitter. Listen to him on the weekly Pipeline Podcast.