Twins' Byron Buxton named No. 1 prospect by MLB.com
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(12:00 am ET) Twins outfielder Byron Buxton was named the top prospect in baseball by MLB.com Friday.

Buxton played just 31 games in 2014 due to wrist and concussion issues and finished with a .240/.313/.405 line along with four home runs, 16 RBI and six stolen bases in 121 at-bats with high Class A Fort Myers. He also went 0 for 3 at the Double-A level. Buxton is making his second straight appearance atop MLB.com's top prospect list.

The rest of MLB.com's top-five prospects (in order) are Cubs third baseman Kris Bryant, Astros shotstop Carlos Correa, Indians shortstop Francisco Lindor and Cubs shortstop Addison Russell. None of the quartet appeared in the top five of last year's MLB.com prospect list, though all four cracked the top 12.


Giants designate Chris Dominguez for assignment
by Chris Cwik | CBSSports.com
(1/29/2015) The Giants have designated Chris Dominguez for assignment, according to MLB.com.

The 28-year-old Dominguez received 17 at-bats in the majors last season. He spent most of the season in Triple-A, where he hit .274/.307/.460 over 496 at-bats. Dominguez had to be removed from the 40-man roster in order to make room for Ryan Vogelsong.


Cardinals' Carpenter hoping to build off postseason power surge
by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(1/26/2015) Cardinals infielder Matt Carpenter hit just eight home runs with a .375 slugging percentage during the 2014 regular season, but had a much better power swing in the postseason, belting four home runs and slugging .722 in nine games.

“I took a more of an aggressive approach in the postseason,” Carpenter said, per STLBaseballWeekly.com. “Part of that was from the experience that I had gathered the year before. After a long season, going into the playoffs I felt like I wasn’t as prepared as I felt like I could’ve been. It kind of snowballed and my approach and the way I took the regular season at-bat in the postseason it wasn’t playing out well.”

Carpenter said his postseason success could have a positive impact on his power numbers in 2015.

"Certainly, I’m always going to be a guy who’s patient at the plate, but that was a good learning experience for me -- being aggressive," he said. "I don’t remember the exact numbers but out of the four home runs I hit, I think three of them were on the first pitch. That’s something typically I don’t do a lot of, and it was a good learning experience.”


Mets' Cuddyer on Wright: 'I see that spark in him again this offseason'
by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(1/23/2015) New Mets outfielder Michael Cuddyer has spent some time this offseason working out with third baseman David Wright. Cuddyer said he has seen a much improved Wright from the last time he saw him during a series against the Rockies in September, when Wright was plagued by a shoulder injury.

"I see that spark in him again this offseason," Cuddyer said, per NJ.com. "I see that enthusiasm, that excitement and the strength. He looks strong right now, which is good to see."

Wright, whose injury was diagnosed as a rotator cuff contusion, failed to make the All-Star team last season for just the second time since 2006. He hit .269 with a career-low eight home runs in 134 games. Wright even had 14 home runs in 69 games as a rookie in 2004.


Cardinals will not try to overhaul Mark Reynolds' approach at plate
by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(1/21/2015) Cardinals slugger Mark Reynolds has carved out a niche in the majors as a power hitter. He has 224 home runs and a .457 slugging percentage over eight MLB seasons.

Unfortunately, Reynolds is also known as an all-or-nothing hitter and strikes out quite a lot. He has 1,398 strikeouts in 1,118 games.

Still, the Cardinals have no plans to dramatically overhaul Reynolds' swing, according to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

“We need to capitalize on what his strengths are and not to focus on the weaknesses,” Matheny said, “and realize that he’s got a power component that is very rare. There are going to be some swings and misses.

“But we’re not necessarily going to go up and ask him to completely overhaul that. Make some subtle changes to maybe improve, but not be afraid to drive the ball. That’s why we did bring him in, and also to give us some options against tough lefthanded pitching.”


Trade of Valbuena doesn't mean Cubs are rushing Bryant to the majors
by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(1/19/2015) Cubs general manager Jed Hoyer said Monday the trade of third baseman Luis Valbuena to Houston and third-base prospect Kris Bryant's roster situation are "totally independent" of each other.

Hoyer added Mike Olt, Tommy La Stella and Arismendy Alcantara could play at third base until Chicago feels Bryant is ready for the majors.

"We are not going to speed up that clock," Hoyer said, per ESPN.

Bryant, who was selected with the No. 2 pick in the 2013 MLB draft, has developed into one of the top prospects in baseball. He hit .325 with 43 home runs and 110 RBI in 138 games in the minors in 2014.


Phillies GM: 'In a perfect world,' Franco would begin season in minors
by Igor Mello | CBSSports.com
(1/17/2015) Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. told the Philadelphia Inquirer on Friday that "in a perfect world," infielder Maikel Franco would begin the season in Lehigh Valley.

Amaro indicated that Franco will "be bounced around a little bit, and we'll see if he's ready to help us at the big-league level,"

"He may not be. I think in a perfect world he starts in Triple-A and continues to progress there and then we bring him when he's ready. But we'll see. Hopefully he creates some competition for (Cody) Asche and pushes him a little bit."

With an eye on the future, Philadelphia would get an extra year before Franco eventually hit free agency, if he spends the first month and a half of the season in the minors.

"This will be an interesting spring training for him," Amaro said. "He had a great year coming into last year's spring training, and I think he pressed a little bit. I think it was a new experience for him, to be in big-league camp, trying to hit a lot of home runs and trying to do a lot of things. But it will be interesting to see how he handles this experience. He's not a lock for our team, but he'll be competing."


Report: Reds' Todd Frazier files for $5.7 million
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(1/16/2015) Reds third baseman Todd Frazier has filed for $5.7 million in arbitration, while the team has offered $3.9 million, MLB.com reports.

Frazier is eligible for arbitration for the first time this offseason. He hit .273/.336/.459 with 29 home runs, 80 RBI and 20 stolen bases in 597 at-bats in 2014.


Report: Pirates swap arbitration figures with Walker, Alvarez
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(1/16/2015) Pirates second baseman Neil Walker has filed for $9 million in arbitration, while first baseman Pedro Alvarez has filed for $5.75 million, MLB.com reports.

Nine Pirates were able to avoid arbitration, but the team has yet to settle on deals with Walker, Alvarez and Vance Worley. Walker was offered $8 million, while Alvarez was offered $5.25 million.


Giants, Casey McGehee exchange arbitration figures
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(1/16/2015) Giants third baseman Casey McGehee has filed for $5.4 million in arbitration, while the team has offfered $4 million, CBSSports.com baseball insider Jon Heyman reports.

McGehee, who came over from the Marlins in a December trade, is eligible for arbitration for the final time this offseason. He hit .287/.355/.357 with four home runs and 76 RBI in 616 at-bats in 2014.


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