Cubs third base prospect Kris Bryant hasn’t slowed down one bit since being promoted on June 18 from Double-A Tennessee to Triple-A Iowa and slugged his 38th home run of the season on Saturday night in Oklahoma City, home of the Astros’ Triple-A team.
Bryant is now in a deadlock with Rangers third base prospect Joey Gallo — a fellow native of Las Vegas, Nevada — for the minor league home run lead.
Since being selected second overall in the 2013 MLB Amateur Draft out of the University of San Diego, the 22-year-old Bryant has batted .340/.435/.691 with 47 homers and 129 RBI in 153 minor league games. He is not expected to join fellow Top 10 prospect Javier Baez in Chicago this year, but Bryant could very well be on the Cubs’ Opening Day roster in 2015. There’s been talk of moving the 6-foot-6 slugger to right field.
The Twins have reportedly signed free agent shortstop Erick Aybar to a minor-league deal, LaVelle E. Neal III of the Star Tribune reported Friday. FanRag Sports’ Jon Heyman adds that the deal comes with a potential $1.25 million if Aybar reaches the majors, with additional incentives based on plate appearances. He’ll be able to opt out on March 27. The team has yet to confirm the signing.
Aybar, 34, is now four years removed from his career year in 2014. He’s been in a state of steady decline since then, slashing just .234/.300/.348 with seven home runs and 11 stolen bases over 370 plate appearances for the Padres in 2017. His poor performance wasn’t helped by a fractured left foot, either, which cost him almost six weeks on the disabled list.
Still, the Twins see something promising in the veteran infielder, and reportedly intend to use him as another utility option this spring. Per Neal, Aybar will join fellow backup infielders Eduardo Escobar and Ehire Adrianza and may even (temporarily) take over for Miguel Sano at third base if Sano isn’t able to shape up for the role by Opening Day.