Kris Bryant’s incredible season continued last night, as the Cubs prospect hit his minors-leading 40th home run and it was a 12th-inning walk-off bomb on “Kris Bryant jersey t-shirt night” at Triple-A Iowa.
Bryant joins Rangers prospect Joey Gallo last season as the only minor leaguers to reach 40 homers during the past five seasons and between Double-A and Triple-A the 22-year-old third baseman is now hitting .336 with 40 homers, 33 doubles, 74 walks, 15 steals, and a 1.126 OPS in 122 games.
That includes .313 with 18 homers and 13 doubles in 54 games since a midseason promotion to Triple-A, which is good for a 1.083 OPS that would lead the entire Pacific Coast League if he had enough games to qualify.
And here’s the video of his walk-off homer, via MiLB.com:
Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reports that the Royals and first baseman Eric Hosmer have discussed a long-term contract extension. However, Hosmer also indicated that he will head into free agency if a deal is not consummated by Opening Day.
Hosmer, 27, avoided arbitration with the Royals last month, agreeing to a $12.25 million salary for the 2017 season. He is one of four key Royals players who can become a free agent after the season along with Mike Moustakas, Alcides Escobar, and Lorenzo Cain. If Hosmer does reach free agency, he would arguably be the top free agent first baseman.
Hosmer finished the past season hitting .266/.328/.433 with 25 home runs and 104 RBI while making his first All-Star team.
Joel Sherman of the New York Post reports that the Yankees have signed pitcher Jon Niese to a minor league contract, pending a physical. Assuming the deal is finalized, Sherman notes that the Yankees will have Niese work as both a starter and a reliever in big league camp this spring.
According to Sherman, the Yankees were interested in lefty relievers Jerry Blevins and Boone Logan, but didn’t want to commit at their asking prices. They are looking for a lefty set-up man along with Tommy Lane.
Niese, 30, pitched for the Pirates and Mets last season, finishing with a 5.50 ERA and an 88/47 K/BB ratio over 121 innings.