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.
The White Sox have reportedly picked up first baseman Yonder Alonso from the Indians, according to Stadium. The return for Alonso is expected to be nothing more flashy than a “fringe prospect,” though the minutiae of the deal is still pending a formal announcement from both teams.
Alonso, 31, inked a two-year deal with the Indians during the 2017 offseason. His first campaign with the club yielded a modest .250/.317/.421 batting line, 23 home runs, .738 OPS and 0.7 fWAR in 574 PA. The real boon for the White Sox may not be a passable veteran bat, however, but something more intangible — like Alonso’s clout with his brother-in-law and highly-coveted free agent slugger, Manny Machado.
While Alonso’s 2018 output represented a significant decline from the career-best numbers he posted in 2017, he’s still a solid contributor at the plate and, more importantly, slated to remain under team control for the next two years with just $8 million owed in 2019 and a $9 million option in 2020. As MLB.com’s Anthony Castrovince notes, the $17 million the Indians just erased from their payroll should give them enough room to accommodate the contracts for right-handers Trevor Bauer and Corey Kluber — a bonus regardless of what they happen to get in the trade.