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:
First baseman/outfielder José Martínez agreed to a two-year contract extension with the Cardinals on Saturday, per a team announcement. MLB Network’s Jon Heyman reports that Martínez will receive $3.25 million in the deal plus incentives if he earns a more stable place within the starting lineup.
Martínez, 30, played 887 games in the minors before making his major-league debut with the Cardinals at the tail end of the 2016 season. The veteran first baseman has been nothing but productive in the three years since his debut, however, and turned in a career-best performance in 2018 after slashing .305/.364/.457 with 17 home runs, an .821 OPS, and 2.3 fWAR through 590 plate appearances. While he brings some positional flexibility to the table, he’ll be forced to compete against Dexter Fowler and Tyler O'Neill for a full-time gig in right field this year, as Paul Goldschmidt currently has a lock on first base.
According to Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, the extension wasn’t solely precipitated by Martínez’s productivity in the majors, but by a competing offer from an unnamed Japanese team over the offseason. Goold adds that Martínez would have earned “significantly more than he would in the majors” had the club sold his rights. In the end, they ultimately elected to ink him to a more lucrative deal themselves. He’ll be eligible for arbitration in 2020.