Cubs third baseman Kris Bryant is baseball’s best prospect, as per Baseball America’s newly-released list of the top 100 prospects in the game. Since being drafted second overall in 2013, Bryant has put up an extraordinary .331/.431/.673 slash line and 58 homers in 832 minor league plate appearances, which includes an 1.036 OPS in 297 PA at the Triple-A level last season. The Cubs placed six players on the top 100 list overall, including four in the top 19 (Kyle Schwarber at #19, Jorge Soler at #12) and two in the top three, as shortstop Addison Russell was ranked in the #3 spot.
Here’s the latest from around the NL Central…
- “There’s nothing new to report” about Johnny Cueto’s extension negotiations with the Reds, agent Bryce Dixon told John Fay of the Cincinnati Enquirer in a text message. Dixon said in a text message. “Johnny’s excited for camp and optimistic about the season and wants to be a Red, so nothing’s changed on our end.” Cueto reiterated to reporters today that he wants to stay in Cincinnati but is focusing on his Spring Training preparations rather than contract talks.
- If the Reds can’t extend Cueto before he hits free agency next winter, the question then becomes whether the team will be competitive enough to avoid having to trade Cueto before the July deadline, MLB.com’s Anthony Castrovince writes.
- A.J. Burnett made it clear to Pirates GM Neal Huntington that he only wanted to pitch for the Bucs next season, which almost made their negotiation “odd,” Huntington tells FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal. Burnett declined a $12.75MM player option with the Phillies to sign a one-year, $8.5MM deal to return to Pittsburgh, and finding the appropriate dollar figure was difficult. “The last thing we wanted to do was insult him,” Huntington said. “At the same time, every dollar we can save in every contract we can re-allocate to another player who can make us deeper, a better club. It was almost a little bit more challenging to approach that negotiation vs. a negotiation where you know you’re competing against prior comparable contracts or other players on the market.” Also in the piece, Burnett talks to Rosenthal about how he missed his Pirates teammates and how he decided that 2015 will be his last season.
- In other NL Central news from earlier today on MLBTR, Pedro Alvarez won his arbitration case against the Pirates, and the Cardinals and John Lackey haven’t made any headway on a new contract.