Here’s a look at the NL Central:
- Carrie Muskat of MLB.com ran down six Cubs prospects to keep an eye on this spring. Kris Bryant, Addison Russell, and Kyle Schwarber made their presence felt in 2015 and there are a handful of youngsters that could make an impact in 2016 for Chicago. That list includes outfielder Albert Almora, the Cubs’ first round selection in 2012. Almora has been held back by injuries, but the 21-year-old is now healthy and he’ll open the season at Triple-A Iowa.
- Daniel Bard believes that he’ll get the fresh start that he needs with the Pirates, as Adam Berry of MLB.com writes. “What I like about being here is I don’t know anybody. Basically, I’m going to get what I deserve here,” Bard said. “What I do on the field is going to dictate who I’m pitching for and where I’m going, and I’m fine with that.” Bard, Boston’s first-round pick in the 2006 Draft, dominated from 2009 through 2011. However, he hasn’t been the same pitcher since. In that three year stretch, Bard posted a 2.88 ERA in a considerably more hitter-friendly era than today’s game even a few short years later. That 2.88 ERA, when adjusted for the league and Bard’s home of Fenway Park, resulted in a 154 ERA+, indicating that he was 54 percent better than a league-average pitcher. He averaged 9.7 K/9 and 3.5 BB/9 in that time to go along with a well-above-average ground-ball rate and a fastball that averaged better than 97 mph. Bard and the Bucs agreed to a minor league deal back in January.
- Over the weekend, the A’s acquired outfielder Khris Davis from the Brewers in exchange for prospects Jacob Nottingham and Bubba Derby. Click here to check out some reactions to the deal and the impact it could have on Oakland and Milwaukee.