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Depending on who you ask, the Cubs' Kris Bryant is either the best or second-best prospect in baseball. The third baseman is just 23 and was selected second overall in the 2013 draft, and he terrorized minor league pitching in his first full season: Bryant started the year in Double-A even though he had just 36 games of pro experience behind him, and he batted .355/.458/.702 with 22 homers before pummeling Triple-A pitching to the tune of .295/.418/.619 with another 21 homers. Those 43 dingers were more than anyone else hit in 2014.
Despite this and Bryant's hot spring, in which he's already gone deep six times in eight games, it's unlikely he begins 2015 with the Cubs. Since Bryant isn't on the 40-man roster, if Chicago waits about two weeks of the season before calling up Bryant, it'll gain a seventh year of team control. You can't just say "We're manipulating a player's service time", though, so the Cubs are telling everyone Bryant needs to work on his defense. It's aggravating, because technically the Cubs aren't doing anything wrong -- they're exploiting a loophole in the system.
It should be noted that the level of competition Bryant is facing in the spring is nothing like what he'd find in the regular season, and he is not without performance questions. Bryant is going to strike out often, and likely won't stop doing so until he's had time to adjust to big-league pitching -- that could take weeks, it could take months, it could take seasons. He's likely to be great, but even Mike Trout struggled when he was first called to the bigs. All that being said, Bryant's future is a lot brighter than that of Mike Olt, and what he has left to learn needs to be learned in the majors. We all know why Bryant will start in Triple-A, and it's not because he'll miraculously know how to play third by mid-April.
- Former Dodgers general manager Ned Colletti doesn't seem to have a sense of humor when it comes to a harmless parody account that joked about overpaying relievers.
- Mariners shortstop Chris Taylor has lost the spring training battle for the position, as he broke a bone in his wrist and will be out 4-6 weeks. Brad Miller doesn't necessarily own the job forever, though.
- The weird spring training injuries continue, as a Blue Jays player sneezed too hard and is now out for 10 days.
- What would constitute a successful 2015 for the Yankees, who haven't made the playoffs the last two years?
- Joe Nathan was a problem in the Tigers' bullpen in 2014, and it doesn't seem like the closer has gotten any better with age.
- The Red Sox introduced Yoan Moncada on Friday, and laid out their position and assignment plans for the 19-year-old Cuban prospect.
- Baseball Prospectus has begun their season previews by trying to discover what every team's Moneyball" is. They kicked things off with last year's World Series participants, the Giants and the Royals.
- Yu Darvish will officially undergo Tommy John surgery, ending his 2015 season after one spring training appearance. The Rangers need to find out what deity they have wronged, and they need to do so before it endangers Adrian Beltre.
- Will Ferrell played in five spring training games, so now he has his own Baseball-Reference page. You made it, kid!