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Cubs prospect and No. 2 pick Kris Bryant is already knocking on the door to the majors

May 12, 2014, 11:51 AM EDT

Kris Bryant Cubs Getty Images

Kris Bryant put up monster numbers at the University of San Diego before being drafted No. 2 overall by the Cubs last June and now he’s destroying minor-league pitching while making a quick path to the big leagues.

Last season Bryant hit .354 with a 1.108 OPS at low Single-A and then .333 with a 1.106 OPS at high Single-A. He’s at Double-A right now as a 22-year-old and has hit .331 with 10 homers, nine doubles, and a 1.061 OPS in 36 games to lead the Southern League in homers, slugging percentage, and OPS.

Add it all up and Bryant has played 72 professional games while hitting .333 with 19 homers, 23 doubles, 31 walks, six steals, and a 1.070 OPS. It’s gonna be awfully tough for the Cubs to keep the slugging third baseman out of the majors this season and he hasn’t even been a pro for a full year yet.

  1. bronco58lb - May 12, 2014 at 12:17 PM

    I have the utmost respect for Jeff Luhnow but Mark Appel over Bryant is looking like a bad move 11 months later.

    • stex52 - May 12, 2014 at 12:28 PM

      I thought so at the time. Appel isn’t up yet, and the Astros need hitting and pitching. But I wanted them to draft Bryant.

    • imnotyourbuddyguy - May 12, 2014 at 1:17 PM

      Appel over Grey looks like the wrong move as well

    • paperlions - May 12, 2014 at 1:34 PM

      True…but…coulda, shoulda, woulda….you can say this about multiple players/picks 11 months after every draft.

    • jsala02 - May 12, 2014 at 3:55 PM

      I understand Buxton went 2 and is clearly the better prospect, but Correa over Appel in that draft looks like the right move though. Also getting McCullers and Rio Ruiz with the money saved not taking Appel. That being said, I probably would’ve drafted Grey over Appel but you cant fault him for taking the guy labeled “most major league ready’ I am sure people were questioning taking Joe Mauer over Prior for a while.

  2. tcostant - May 12, 2014 at 1:15 PM

    May as well see if he can keep in up a few more weeks in the minors, then call him up after your pretty sure he won’t be a Super 2 pleayer.

    • derklempner - May 12, 2014 at 4:53 PM

      This, of course, is what the Cubs most likely will do, as evidenced by their handling of Rizzo two years ago. It makes perfect business sense for them, plus gives them another year of control over Bryant.

      As a Cubs fan, the future looks pretty bright. I just wish the present didn’t look so damned dismal.

  3. sfm073 - May 12, 2014 at 1:25 PM

    I can tell by that one picture he’ll have arm troubles in a couple of years.

    • illegalblues - May 12, 2014 at 4:28 PM

      you should start a blog

  4. bronco58lb - May 12, 2014 at 2:01 PM

    paper lions, You’re right. I understood the Astros’ reasoning. Appel was polished, had high aptitude, deep arsenal, safe pick, wouldn’t need a lot of developed. Even last June, Appel’s upside appeared limited though. It was a conservative selection for the first overall pick.

    • stex52 - May 12, 2014 at 3:07 PM

      Appel’s a local boy. He apparently was surprised to get passed on by setting too high a price the first time around, so told Boras to get him a deal at scale. If he wants to play in Houston and can be a solid #2/#3 it’s probably not a bad deal. The local connection will be popular.

      But to date Luhnow’s moves have been rather risk-averse. I would like to see them take some bigger chances for bigger rewards.

      • derklempner - May 12, 2014 at 4:56 PM

        Out of curiosity, do you think Luhnow is the type of executive do take those bigger risks, or do the Astros need to find somebody who has the vision of a complete rebuild for the future?

        For all the hate Epstein gets, he’s got the right people around him (i.e., Hoyer) and the right ideas for building a competitive team for the long haul in Chicago. I may be a Cubs fan, but it doesn’t mean I don’t like good baseball, and the Astros are in need of some even more than the Cubs.

  5. ja4ed - May 12, 2014 at 2:20 PM

    It won’t be that hard to keep Bryant in the minors. The Cubs have a good reason not to waste valuable Bryant service time for a terrible major league team. Then they can point to his k-rate, which is almost 30%, and say he needs more seasoning. Look for him to reach the majors in late April (to get an extra year of service time) or mid June (to avoid super-2 status) of 2015.

    • bolweevils2 - May 12, 2014 at 3:47 PM

      If the Cubs are only going to have Bryant for 6 years before he’s a free agent… (And we don’t know that that is the case, he might sign an extension. But for the sake of argument let’s pretend Scott Boras is is agent so we’re all but certain he’ll go to free agency first chance he gets)

      What years of his career would you most like to have at the major league level? If he’s 22 now, and they wait until June so this year doesn’t count, you’d get those 6+ seasons to be ages part of age 22 and 23 through 28. Isn’t that about optimal for capturing a player’s peak? If you wait wait a year, you’d get 23 through 29, which could arguably be better, but not clearly so.

      The ones where it might matter more are the ones who don’t go to college. The Nats were ready to compete so they wanted Harper up. But they brought him up at 19. And early in the season too, so 2012 will count as one of his 6 years. They’ll only get him for the 6 seasons ages 19 through 24 before he’s a free agent, and Boras is his agent. They’d have reduced their chance to win now, but wouldn’t they likely have gotten more bang for their Harper buck if they waited until he was 22 or so to call him up so they’d get him at his presumed peak?

      Or maybe peak is just peak because at 28 a guy typically has about 5 years experience, enough experience to know what they’re doing will still being young enough to do it. Maybe Harper just has that necessary experience of 5 years at 24 instead of 28, so he peaks then, who knows?

      • wjarvis - May 12, 2014 at 6:48 PM

        I’m a Cubs fan, but they aren’t going to do much winning this year or next, despite who comes up. While attendance is down, the Cubs are not struggling to get fans and bringing Bryant would give them a small spike for a little while but not much else. Boras is his agent, so there is a reasonable chance that he won’t sign an extension or resign with the Cubs when he hits free agency, so that extra year before free agency may not change much from a production standpoint, but the Cubs hopefully will playing meaningful games when he is 29 and probably won’t be when he’s 22 or 23.

        If he continues to hit, then at best he’ll be competing for a spot next year but think it will probably be mid jun next year.

  6. jbriggs81 - May 12, 2014 at 2:44 PM

    I would be very surprised, even with Bryant’s numbers, if he was called up at any point this season other than as a September call up. He needs to work on things, including his strikeouts. While numbers in the minor leagues may be helpful, they don’t tell the whole story and they don’t necessary show where a prospect may be struggling. He’s also only put up legitimate numbers in AA for about a month or month and a half right now.
    There is nothing wrong with keeping him in the minors all season to just simply play the game and let him compete for a job in spring training next year.

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