Inbox: Toronto's Vlad Jr. vs. Atlanta's Acuna

Jim Callis answers fans' questions about baseball's future stars

November 16th, 2017

The Arizona Fall League championship game (Saturday at 3 p.m. ET, broadcast live on MLB Network and will feature the developmental circuit's two most prospecty lineups in the Peoria Javelinas and Mesa Solar Sox. Outfielders (Mesa/Nationals), Ronald Acuna (Peoria/Braves) and Kyle Tucker (Mesa/Astros) are the AFL's three highest-ranking players on's Top 100 Prospects list, and the talent extends well beyond them.

Middle infielder Luis Urias (Peoria/Padres) might be the best pure hitter in the Minor Leagues. Corner infielder Michael Chavis (Peoria/Red Sox) is one of the top power prospects in the Minors. Counting Tucker and Chavis, as many as five former first-round picks could be in the lineups on Saturday, and a sixth (Blue Jays right-hander T.J. Zeuch) should take the mound for Peoria.

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Joey is following up on a comment I made during last Saturday's AFL Military Appreciation Game broadcast. I said that Acuna is the best prospect in the league and could rank No. 1 on MLBPipeline's next Top 100 (due in January) -- though Blue Jays third baseman Vladimir Guerrero Jr. would battle him for that distinction in my mind.

There's no question that the 19-year-old Acuna has more well-rounded tools. He has a chance to be plus or better across the board, and he was one of just two Minor Leaguers to reach 20 homers and 40 steals this season.

But Guerrero has seemingly unlimited offensive potential. At age 18 this year, he batted .323/.425/.485 with 43 extra-base hits and more walks (76) than strikeouts (62) between two Class A stops. Guerrero is a better hitter than Acuna and has more power as well.

I go back and forth on which player I'd prefer if I could have just one. At this moment, I'm leaning ever so slightly to Guerrero.

I got to see Munoz for a second time last night when Peoria clinched the AFL's West Division, and he looked great again, hitting 100 mph. For my answer to this question, check out the video at the top of this story.

The Yankees have such a deep system that some of their prospects can't help be underrated. I've seen three guys in the Arizona Fall League who deserve more attention than they get.

Right-hander isn't on our Top 100 Prospects list, but he showed that kind of stuff when I saw him in October. Thairo Estrada gets lost among some more flashy Yanks middle-infield prospects, but he's a potential starting shortstop in the big leagues. Righty Cody Carroll pairs a 96-98 mph fastball with a hard slider and could contribute in New York's bullpen next year.

To add someone outside the AFL, righty Jorge Guzman could make a huge splash when he jumps to full-season ball in 2018. He works at 97-103 mph as a starter, backs it up with a power slider and threw more strikes than expected in his first season in the organization after arriving in the trade with the Astros last November.

As a taxi-squad player on the Glendale Desert Dogs, Peters hasn't gotten the opportunity to show much in the AFL. He intrigues me, however, as a big-bodied outfielder who can launch balls out of the park to all fields. A fourth-round pick out of Western Nevada CC in 2016, Peters won high Class A California League MVP honors in his first full pro season after batting .276/.372/.514 with 27 homers in 132 games.

The 6-foot-6, 225-pound Peters fits the right-field profile with his huge raw power and strong arm. He'll need to make more consistent contact after striking out 189 times this season, though he did mitigate those whiffs with 64 walks.