Cubs top prospect Kris Bryant ended his Double-A career by winning the Home Run Derby at the All-Star game and last night he started his Triple-A career by homering in his first game.
Bryant went opposite field for a two-run homer, giving him 23 long balls in 69 total games this season between the two levels. And if you toss in his numbers in the low minors last year, plus his numbers at the University of San Diego before being drafted No. 2 overall last June, he’s got 63 homers in 167 games dating back to the start of 2013.
So far the Cubs’ front office has given every indication that Bryant will not be promoted to the big leagues this year, but it’s worth noting that as recently as two weeks ago they were also hinting pretty strongly that they had no plans to even promote him from Double-A to Triple-A. Hitting like he has–.353 with a 1.161 OPS overall–tends to change some plans.
Tim Tebow isn’t letting go of his major league dreams just yet. The former NFL quarterback is slated to appear with the Mets during spring training this year, extending what initially looked like an ill-fated career choice for at least one more season. Per the club’s official announcement on Friday, he’ll join a group of spring training invitees that includes top-30 prospects like Peter Alonso, P.J. Conlon, Patrick Mazeika and David Thompson.
Tebow, 30, hasn’t taken to professional baseball as gracefully as expected. He batted a cumulative .226/.309/.347 with eight home runs and a .656 OPS in 486 plate appearances for Single-A Columbia and High-A St. Lucie in 2017. While that wasn’t enough to compel the Mets to give the aging outfielder a big league tryout, there’s no denying that Tebow brought substantial benefit to their minor league affiliates — in the form of increased attendance figures and ticket sales, that is.
Even after the Mets were booted from the NL East race last September, they resisted the idea of promoting Tebow for a late-season attendance boost of their own. That’s not to say they’re planning on taking the same approach in 2018; Tebow will undoubtedly get his cup of coffee in the majors at some point, but for now, a Grapefruit League tryout is likely as close as he’ll ever get to playing with the team’s big league roster on an everyday basis.