Kris Bryant put up monster numbers at the University of San Diego before being drafted No. 2 overall by the Cubs last June and now he’s destroying minor-league pitching while making a quick path to the big leagues.
Last season Bryant hit .354 with a 1.108 OPS at low Single-A and then .333 with a 1.106 OPS at high Single-A. He’s at Double-A right now as a 22-year-old and has hit .331 with 10 homers, nine doubles, and a 1.061 OPS in 36 games to lead the Southern League in homers, slugging percentage, and OPS.
Add it all up and Bryant has played 72 professional games while hitting .333 with 19 homers, 23 doubles, 31 walks, six steals, and a 1.070 OPS. It’s gonna be awfully tough for the Cubs to keep the slugging third baseman out of the majors this season and he hasn’t even been a pro for a full year yet.
Bob Nightengale of USA Today reports that the Orioles “are moving aggressively on Manny Machado trade talks and now believe they can trade him by the end of the week.” There are reportedly “strong offers” for Machado from both the White Sox, per Ken Rosenthal, and the Cardinals, per Nightengale. The Giants, Red Sox, Phillies, and Yankees are also reportedly involved in talks, though it does seem unlikely that the O’s would trade Machado to a division rival.
Machado, 25, is a guy around which a team could build a franchise. The Orioles, however, seem resigned to the notion that they will not be able to sign him to a long term contract once he hits free agency a year from now. If they do deal him, it would not be terribly shocking to see the O’s just go all-in with a full rebuild, putting relievers Brad Brach and Zach Britton and outfielder Adam Jones on the market, given that they too can become free agents following the 2018 season.
Machado had a down 2017, hitting .259/.310/.471, but still hit 33 homers and drove in 95 runs. In the two years prior he posted OPSs of .876 and .861. As such, the price for a team to acquire him will be high, even if he’s entering his walk year.