It wasn’t the major league debut he imagined. With his promotion Friday afternoon, Chicago Cubs top prospect, third baseman Kris Bryant made his first big league start, disappointing himself and nearly everyone else by going 0-4 with three strikeouts.
The Cubs brought him up from the minors on the first day they possibly could and still keep an extra year of control over Bryant. The slugging third baseman phenom was the focus of a national uproar because of the Cubs decision to keep him down to start the season; despite a fantastic spring training.
In exhibition play this spring, Bryant smacked 9 home runs, leading all players.
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The Cubs outrageous decision to keep Byant in the minors to start the season was strictly business. The Cubs are trying to keep Bryant from qualifying as “Super Two.”
If a player has more than two years and 171 days by the end of their third season of major league play, that player can get to arbitration faster. That delays his free agency and chance for big money by a year. So, therefore Bryant will not be eligible for free agency until 2022.
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With Bryant now up in the majors, here are a few other prospects whose debuts may have been postponed that should get the call soon to back their bags and head to the bigs.
Addison Russell is the next man up for the Cubs. The 21-year-old shortstop has been on fire so far in AAA Iowa. Russell has hit for a .300 average, has one home run, seven RBIs and two doubles in nine games.
According to ESPN’s baseball reporter Buster Olney, several veteran Cubs players said Russell was ready for the majors during spring training. Because star shortstop Starlin Castro blocks Russell from reaching the big leagues, the young phenom has been playing second base in the minors for the last week. If his defensive prowess carries over to the right side of the infield, he’ll be up before you know it.
Noah Syndergaard has been the talk of Mets fans since his arrival in the R.A. Dickey trade in December of 2012. Standing at 6’ 7” and 240 pounds, the big burly right-hander is considered to be one of the best pitching prospects in all of baseball.
Nicknamed Thor because of his last name and long blonde hair, Syndergaard has “struggled” in his year in AAA Las Vegas, pitching to a 4.60 ERA and 1.48 WHIP.
But the 21-year-old’s struggles are greatly exaggerated. Syndergaard lead the Pacific Coast League in strikeouts with 145, finished second in strikeout percentage fanning nearly a quarter of batter’s faced (24.9%), second in strikeouts to walks with 3.37, and second in Fielding Independent Pitching (which measures a pitcher’s ERA without defense) with 3.70 in the hitter’s haven of the PCL. Syndergaard did all this while being eight years younger than his average competition.
The right-hander appeared ready for the majors last year, but was not called up. This year Syndergaard should be up around mid-June if he performs like he has.
The Houston Astros are on the cusp of contending. One of the players they hope to be a part of their run is off to a hot start in the minors. So far in 10 games shortstop Carlos Correa has hit .341 in AA Corpus Christie, smacked one home run, driven in 12 RBIs, and scored eight runs.
Correra was promoted to Corpus Christie during Spring Training after missing half of last season in high A ball because of a broken leg. According to MLB.com, Baseball Prospectus, and Baseball America, Correa is one of the five best prospects in the game.
The 20-year-old does project more as a third baseman given his size, and more than makes up for average range with a cannon for an arm. The rebuild is almost over for the Astros, and Correa looks to be a main player for Houston going forward.
If he continues this torrid pace, Correa could see action for the Astros later in the season.