Cubs prospect third baseman Kris Bryant was announced this afternoon as the winner of the “Joe Black Award” for the Most Valuable Player of the Arizona Fall League, per Bernie Pleskoff of MLB.com.
Bryant, who was selected No. 2 overall in this June’s draft, batted .364/.457/.727 with six home runs, eight doubles and 18 RBI over 20 games with the Mesa Solar Sox. The 21-year-old led the Arizona Fall League in home runs and OPS (1.184) while tying the Angels’ C.J. Cron for the lead in total bases with 56. Bryant and Cron were actually teammates this fall, so it’s no surprise that the Solar Sox are playing in the league’s title game on MLB Network right now.
Bryant mashed in his first taste of pro ball this season, batting .336/.390/.688 with nine home runs and 32 RBI over 36 games between rookie ball, Low-A Boise, and High-A Daytona. While he may end up in a corner outfielder spot in the long run, it looks like he’s on the fast track to contributing at the big league level.
The Braves have signed reliever Blaine Boyer to a minor league contract with an invitation to spring training, MLB.com’s Mark Bowman reports. Bowman adds that the right-hander has a “good chance” to make the Braves’ bullpen out of spring training.
Boyer, 35, spent the past season with the Brewers, finishing with a 3.95 ERA and a 26/17 K/BB ratio in 66 innings.
Boyer, of course, started his professional baseball career with the Braves as they selected him in the third round of the 2000 draft. Since the Braves traded him in 2009, Boyer has pitched for the Cardinals, Diamondbacks, Mets, Padres, and Twins along with the Brewers.
Update (6:48 PM EST): Topkin reports the contract will be of the major league variety.
Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times reports that the Rays and free agent reliever Shawn Tolleson are close to finalizing a contract.
Tolleson, who turns 29 years old on Thursday, had an ugly 2016 season, finishing with a 7.68 ERA and a 29/10 K/BB ratio in 36 1/3 innings. He was one of the Rangers’ best relievers in the two seasons prior to that, however, which included saving 35 games in 2015.