Tomorrow night the Cubs will pick fourth overall in this year’s draft, but last year’s No. 2 overall pick, third baseman Kris Bryant, is already banging down the door to the big leagues.
Or at least he could be, based on the damage he’s done against Double-A pitching with a .353 batting average, 19 homers, 15 doubles, and a 1.160 OPS in 57 games at age 22.
However, when asked about simply promoting Bryant from Double-A to Triple-A–and not even to the majors–in the near future Cubs general manager Jed Hoyer indicated that’s not in the plans, telling Patrick Mooney of CSNChicago.com:
Certainly, we tell every prospect to go dominate, and he’s obviously doing that. I think we probably want to see it for a little bit longer. It’s only been two months at that level. He’s been sort of skipping up through the system without really a lot of time at one level. But everything from defense to base-running to what he’s done offensively–I know he’s everything we had hoped for and hopefully he’ll keep it up.
It’s worth noting that most teams don’t really consider Triple-A a whole lot different than Double-A and in fact many teams prefer to keep prospects at Double-A before promoting them to the majors. However, it certainly doesn’t sound like the Cubs are close to letting Bryant make his big-league debut, which means he might put up some ridiculous numbers at Double-A this season.
Counting what he did at Single-A last season after signing Bryant has now hit .346 with 28 homers, 29 doubles, and 47 walks in 93 games as a professional, producing a .434 on-base percentage, .696 slugging percentage, and 1.130 OPS.
Last night Robinson Cano hit a solo homer in the ninth inning of the Mariners’ loss to the Texas Rangers. It was his 22nd on the season. Though it was insignificant to the outcome of that game, it was significant to Cano: it was his 300th career homer.
While we’ve become accustomed to not caring much about home run milestones south of, say, 500, 300 homers for Cano is a big deal, as he’s only the third second baseman to cross that threshold in baseball history. The other two: Jeff Kent, at 377, and Rogers Hornsby at 301.
Cano, who turns 35 next month, has a career line of .305/.354/.495 and 1,179 RBI, 512 doubles and 33 triples to go with those bombs. He’s in his 13th big league season and still has six more years left on his deal with the Mariners. He’s averaged 24 homers a year since coming to the Mariners. While he’ll obviously trail off at some point — and while great second baseman’s have this weird habit of just suddenly falling off a cliff — it’s highly likely that he’ll finish his career as the all-time home run leader among second baseman. If he remains healthy he should also get over 3,000 hits in his career.
Cooperstown, here he comes.
Mark Sheldon of MLB.com reports that the Reds have signed catcher Tucker Barnhart to a four-year contract extension. The terms: $16 million total, with a $7.5 million club option for the 2022 season that has a $500,000 buyout. He also received a $1.75 million signing bonus.
The deal buys out all three of his arbitration years — he was going to be eligible for the first time this offseason — and the first year of his potential free agency. The club option buys a second. Barnhart made $575,000 this season.
Barnhart, 26, is finishing his second season as the Reds primary catcher. This year he’s hitting .272/.349/.399 with six homers and 42 RBI in 113 games. For his career he has a line of .257/.328/.366 in 330 major league games. His real value is defensive, however. He leads the National League in caught stealing percentage and number of base stealers caught (31-for-70, 44%) and leads all players at any position in the league in defensive WAR according to Baseball-Reference.com.