Chicago Cubs prospect Kris Bryant is one of those truly rare and special talents. Recognized by ESPN’s Keith Law and Baseball America at the No. 1 prospect in baseball , Bryant is a major-league ready hitter with at least All-Star upside. Nothing he’s done during his time in the minor leagues has cast any doubt over those expectations either. In fact, he delivered a minor-league best 43 home runs between Double-A and Triple-A last season, which has actually raised the expectations. If it were up to Bryant, his agent Scott Boras, and especially fans of the Chicago Cubs, his prodigious power would have been on display as early as last September. Unfortunately, the decision lies with Cubs president Theo Epstein and general manager Jed Hoyer, and thanks to a quirk in the rules, it’s possible we won’t see him at Wrigley Field until there’s ivy on the outfield wall. [ Baseball is back! Check out Yahoo For Spring Training for great spring training pics. ] It’s the same scenario that played out with the Houston Astros and George Springer last season. Under the current system, players who are called up within the first 11 days of the regular season are under club control one year less than players called up afterward, so the Astros simply stashed Springer in the minors for two weeks to delay his free agency. It’s a legal maneuver, and it’s something the Cubs will likely use to their advantage .  As Patrick Mooney of Comcast SportsNet Chicago notes though , the Cubs could actually wait until late May or even June before promoting Bryant in an effort to also delay his arbitration. The significance of waiting that long would revolve around Bryant’s Super Two status. If Bryant ranks among the top 22 percent of eligible players in service time between his second and third seasons, he would become a Super Two player, meaning he’d eligible arbitration one year earlier, in addition to the three arbitration years that are guaranteed.  That can mean the difference of millions of dollars, which is why clubs often try to work around this rule by holding out top prospects until later in the season. It’s a business decision and once again it’s within the parameters, but it’s a strategy that’s also gaining more attention recently, in particular from MLBPA executive director Tony Clark. With that in mind, Clark made it clear again this week that he’s aware of what teams of doing, and that he’ll be paying particularly close attention to Bryant’s situation because of the obvious talent that’s involved. “We have always (believed) – and will continue to believe – that it’s in everyone’s best interests to have the best players playing at any particular time,” Clark said. “Any rules that are in place that some may be using against the spirit of how they may have been designed, we don’t believe (that’s) in anyone’s best interest – the fans, or anyone that loves our games, the players, or even the clubs for that matter. “We will continue – as we always have – to monitor those types of scenarios and situations in the hopes that everybody does what’s best for the game.” Of course, there’s nothing Clark can do right now to combat these tactics or appease agents like Boras, but it gives him a better idea of what changes he’ll need to seek out when the current collective bargaining agreement runs out following the 2016 season. [ Yahoo Sports Fantasy Baseball: Sign up and join a league today! ] As for the Cubs perspective. You can already sense the maneuvering, which should come as no surprise at all. “He’s certainly got a lot to work on,” Hoyer said. “He’s only had one full (professional) season and that was five-months long. His defense is the biggest thing. We talk a lot about his progression defensively and certainly that’s the area of the game that needs the most work. He had a great offensive season. There are things that can improve.”

View full post on Yahoo Sports – MLB – Houston Astros News

Post info: By HoustonAstrosFan on March 1st, 2015
Comments: Be the First to Comment »
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Jed Lowrie was away from the Houston Astros for two seasons – not by choice. Houston traded him to Oakland in February 2013 as part of a five-player deal that brought Chris Carter to the Astros. … That was good for me, but I’m happy to be back.” Given the chance to pick a team as a free agent, Lowrie agreed in December to a $23 million, three-year deal with the Astros. ”He’s entering the stage of his career where presence matters, where his steadiness matters,” manager A.J. Hinch said.

View full post on Yahoo Sports – MLB – Houston Astros News

Post info: By HoustonAstrosFan on February 28th, 2015
Comments: Be the First to Comment »
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

He carries a gallon of kale juice around the Chicago Cubs’ spring training facility. So it’s no wonder that Arrieta has hit it off with new Cubs manager Joe Maddon, who is best known for his offbeat ways of managing a team. It was a breakout season for Arrieta, who turns 29 on March 6.

View full post on Yahoo Sports – MLB – Houston Astros News

Post info: By HoustonAstrosFan on February 28th, 2015
Comments: Be the First to Comment »
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

View full post on Yahoo Sports – MLB – Houston Astros News

Post info: By HoustonAstrosFan on February 26th, 2015
Comments: Be the First to Comment »
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

”The goal is to make the playoffs,” Crane said as the Astros took the field for the first day of full squad workouts on Wednesday. ”I think it’s a possible,” Crane said. ”There’s a lot of things that have to go right and we have to stay away from injuries, but the talent is in the room and in the system.” They made a 19-game improvement last season and Crane is looking for another big jump in 2015 which he thinks would put the Astros in the postseason hunt. ”We know how it works and we’re ready to go.” The Astros return a solid nucleus led by 2014 major league batting champion Jose Altuve, slugger Chris Carter and up-and-coming star George Springer, and feature a rotation led by left-hander Dallas Keuchel, who posted a 2.93 ERA in a breakout season.

View full post on Yahoo Sports – MLB – Houston Astros News

Post info: By HoustonAstrosFan on February 26th, 2015
Comments: Be the First to Comment »
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

The Detroit Tigers had mild expectations for J.D. Martinez when they called him up from the minors early last season. ”We knew he had power,” manager Brad Ausmus said. After being signed by Detroit to a minor league deal in March, he eventually earned a spot on the big league roster and hit .315 with 23 home runs and 76 RBIs. The Astros released him last March, and after the Tigers picked him up, he began the year at Triple-A Toledo.

View full post on Yahoo Sports – MLB – Houston Astros News

Post info: By HoustonAstrosFan on February 25th, 2015
Comments: Be the First to Comment »
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Although he’ll turn 28 this June, Jason Castro has really only played two full seasons in the major leagues. The Houston catcher is still learning how to outsmart opposing pitchers. ”With the way baseball is at this point, there’s so much information and video and ways that the opponents can try to gain a competitive advantage by studying you as a player basically, breaking you down,” Castro said. Being able to adjust to what your opponent is trying to do to you is really your best offense.” Castro was an All-Star in 2013, when the Astros lost 111 games.

View full post on Yahoo Sports – MLB – Houston Astros News

Post info: By HoustonAstrosFan on February 24th, 2015
Comments: Be the First to Comment »
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

It’s been more than two decades since very few baseball experts gave the Atlanta Braves a legitimate shot to win the NL East. The problem for the Braves this season is that all of them are either enshrined in Cooperstown or just awaiting eligibility. Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez opened up spring training on Saturday looking at a very revamped group of pitchers and catchers. ”People think we are rebuilding, but I don’t really think about where people are pick us to finish this year.” A year after going 79-83 – following a run in which they made the playoffs in three of four seasons – the Braves seem to be retooling for the 2017 season when they will move into their new Cobb County stadium.

View full post on Yahoo Sports – MLB – Houston Astros News

Post info: By HoustonAstrosFan on February 22nd, 2015
Comments: Be the First to Comment »
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Somewhere in Houston’s training camp is another Collin McHugh, or at least the Astros hope so. ”Something unexpected is going to happen,” new manager A.J. Hinch said Saturday after the Astros’ first spring workout for pitchers and catchers. ”You don’t know who that’s going to be, but that’s the fun part of spring.” McHugh came to camp a year ago as just another face, having been claimed off waivers from the Colorado Rockies, who had acquired him from the New York Mets. McHugh was a long shot to make the Houston roster and, in fact, he didn’t, beginning the season with three starts at Triple-A Oklahoma City.

View full post on Yahoo Sports – MLB – Houston Astros News

Post info: By HoustonAstrosFan on February 22nd, 2015
Comments: Be the First to Comment »
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

”It’s a long process building a team and building a coaching staff … for me it’s: ‘Can we finally get to the baseball?”’ Houston’s pitchers and catchers report to camp on Friday and the full squad will join them on Tuesday. Hinch was hired in October to take over for Bo Porter, who was fired late last season in his second year in Houston. The Astros are confident they’ll be better this season, but Hinch isn’t in the business of making predictions about wins and losses. They also return slugger Chris Carter, who tied for second in the majors with 37 homers and added another power hitter in Evan Gattis, who has 43 home runs combined in two major league seasons.

View full post on Yahoo Sports – MLB – Houston Astros News

Post info: By HoustonAstrosFan on February 19th, 2015
Comments: Be the First to Comment »
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Next Page »