2013 No. 2 overall pick Kris Bryant has only been with the Cubs organization for a little over a month, but he’s already making some noise.
According to Carrie Muskat of MLB.com, the Cubs promoted Bryant to High-A Daytona today after he batted .351/.416/.692 with four home runs and 16 RBI through 77 plate appearances with Low-A Boise. The 21-year-old finished his stint in the Northwest League with a 15-game hitting streak.
After posting huge power numbers at the University of San Diego, Bryant received a $6,708,400 bonus from the Cubs last month. He’s playing third base right now, though some have speculated that he’ll end up in the outfield in the long run. Either way, he should move up the organizational ladder rather quickly.
Hunter Pence was thought to be on his way to retirement after a lackluster 2018 season with the Giants. As he entered his mid-30’s, Pence spent a considerable amount of time on the injured list, playing in 389 out of 648 possible regular season games with the Giants from 2015-18.
Pence, however, kept his career going, inking a minor league deal with the Rangers in February. He performed very well in spring training, earning a spot on the Opening Day roster. Pence hasn’t stopped hitting.
Entering Monday night’s game against the Mariners, Pence was batting .299/.358/.619 with eight home runs and 28 RBI in 109 plate appearances, mostly as a DH. Statcast agrees that Pence has been mashing the ball. He has an average exit velocity of 93.3 MPH this season, which would obliterate his marks in each of the previous four seasons since Statcast became a thing. His career average exit velocity is 89.8 MPH. He has “barreled” the ball 10.4 percent of the time, well above his 6.2 percent average.
What Pence did to a baseball in the seventh inning of Monday’s game, then, shouldn’t come as a surprise.
That’s No. 9 on the year for Pence. Statcast measured it at 449 feet and 108.3 MPH off the bat. Not only is Pence not retired, he may be a lucrative trade chip for the Rangers leading up to the trade deadline at the end of July.