Shortly after Kris Bryant hit a three-run homer in New Orleans on Thursday night, the news broke he was headed to Wrigley and will make his major league debut on Friday against the Padres. 3B Mike Olt has a hairline fracture of the right wrist after getting hit by a pitch and will be placed on the DL to make room for Bryant. No word on the 40-man roster move.
After hitting nine homers in spring training and educating every Cub fan regarding MLB service time, Bryant started the season in AAA, biding his time until the deadline passed. In seven games, he hit .321 with three homers and 10 RBI, and capped off his minor league career with a homer in his final at-bat on Thursday night in New Orleans.
The wait is over, Kris Bryant is headed to Wrigley, after dominating the minors.
He’s never struggled at any level unless you count the two games he played in the Arizona Rookie League after signing—he went 1-for-6 in two games including a three-error game in his pro debut.
After being promoted to Boise, he started 1-for-12 with five strikeouts in his NWL debut, but promptly ran off a 15-game hitting streak with a .415/.469/.811 slash line, 4 HR and 16 RBI. After going to Daytona, he collected base hits in 13 of the 16 games he played, including a homer in his debut.
After starting 2014 in AA, Bryant had back-to-back hitless games only once, was named Southern League Player of the Week three times, and pretty much crushed everything, including an opening day homer off Reds rehabbing pitcher Mat Latos.
You could try to say he started his AAA career only 5-for-21 but all five of those hits were homers and despite a .238 batting average, had a .951 slugging percentage. And after the “slow” start, never made back-to-back starts without a hit the rest of the season.
Now if this continues to be the case in the majors, Kris Bryant will be the one of best players to ever put on a uniform. That statement may become the truth but its not going to come without some trials and tribulations at the major league level.
I’m sure the Cubs front office was hoping they would pick up the daily stat sheet and see Bryant was in the midst of a 0-for-16 skid, but it never happened. During the last three years, the Cubs brass has constantly preached about learning those lessons in the minors, how much easier it is to handle, and how it helps the player’s development. It also shows the front office the player’s ability to handle adversity.
Now, you can point out the national hysteria that surrounded Bryant this spring and his ability to go out and perform, but the publicity was primarily out of his hands. He really had no control. What he does control is the strike zone and swatting baseballs from opposing pitches. What happens the first time in his pro career, he struggles? When NL pitchers find his weaknesses and a way to get him out.
What happens when the relentless Chicago media asks Bryant about his struggles everyday? Write stories about how the Cubs rushed Bryant to majors and question his ability? Its after this barrage of “hot takes” the Cubs will find out what type of player Kris Bryant is. And I’m pretty sure they are going to like what they already know.
Here’s Northsiders’s Report Profile Story on the Cubs Top Prospect.