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Kris Bryant won the Home Run Derby at Double-A

Jun 17, 2014, 10:47 AM EDT

Kris Bryant Cubs Getty Images

Not only are Kris Bryant’s ridiculous numbers at Double-A leading to speculation about when the Cubs will call him up, the slugging third baseman won the Southern League’s annual Home Run Derby last night too.

Bryant hit .355 with 22 homers, 20 doubles, and a 1.160 OPS in 68 first-half games, posting a .458 on-base percentage and .702 slugging percentage. And then he smacked 16 more homers in the Derby to beat out Diamondbacks first base prospect Jon Griffin for the title.

It would be difficult for any prospect to dominate a league more thoroughly than Bryant did in the first half at Double-A, but general manager Jed Hoyer has insisted that the Cubs have no immediate plans to call him up to the majors or even to promote him to Triple-A. So last year’s No. 2 overall draft pick will continue making life miserable for Southern League pitchers.

  1. The Cub Den - Jun 17, 2014 at 11:03 AM

    I’m torn on this one. I want Kris to come up but is it too early? Do the Cubs need his help? With the gang seven games back of the Wild Card, I think after the break they should evaluate where they are and if they can make a run for the WC then call him up.

    —Mark

    http://mlblogscubden.wordpress.com/

    • thatsnuckinfuts - Jun 17, 2014 at 11:06 AM

      There was some question if he would stick and 3B, that maybe he would end up in RF, I wonder how that is looking atm.
      An Infield of Rizzo, Baez, Castro and Bryant with this years 4th overall Kyle Schwarber catching sounds like a pretty good start to a rebuild.

      • The Cub Den - Jun 17, 2014 at 11:19 AM

        That’s going to be an awesome infield. So far, Castro and Rizzo are two of the most underrated this season. The team has a long way to go but a Wild Card spot isn’t unattainable. I’d still keep Bryant and Baez out this year I think.

      • jdd428 - Jun 17, 2014 at 11:48 AM

        I hope Bryant can stay at 3B, but as you said there are concerns. But the bigger flaw in your scenario is Schwarber at catcher – virtually all scouts and experts agree that he does not have the ability to stick as a major-league catcher, and probably isn’t suited for an outfield spot either. For an NL team, the best hope for him is 1B (or MLB to institute the DH universally) – a spot that should occupied by Rizzo. Basically, I think the Schwarber choice was a mistake.

      • thatsnuckinfuts - Jun 17, 2014 at 12:03 PM

        “Schwarber has made considerable improvement defensively over the course of his Indiana career, carrying over some hard-learned lessons when he struggled handling velocity with USA Baseball’s Collegiate National Team last summer. He still stabs and boxes too many balls, and a long transfer can sabotage his solid-average arm strength, but he’s thrown out 33 percent of basestealers this season after nabbing just 19 percent in 2013. His leadership qualities have been evident with the Hoosiers and he has a strong, durable body for catching, but he’ll never be more than a fringe-average defender. Schwarber fits in the first round for his bat. He’s a smart hitter who studies pitchers and has tremendous strength to punish pitches to all fields. He’s thick and could be quicker on pitches inside with a trimmer physique. He’s a better athlete than he looks and is even a fringy runner with the aggressiveness to have stolen eight bases this spring, second on Indiana’s team. His athleticism gives him a chance to shift to left field if catching doesn’t work out.”

        Baseball America’s take on him

      • jdd428 - Jun 17, 2014 at 12:37 PM

        “… he’ll never be more than a fringe-average defender. … His athleticism gives him a chance to shift to left field if catching doesn’t work out.”

        Already pegged with a fringe-average ceiling behind the plate for a guy just drafted, I find that problematic for the No. 4 pick.

        If he can’t catch but could potentially “shift to LF” then you still have problems. If you keep Castro, then have to move Baez to 3B (because he can’t play SS anyway, look at his E total), which means Bryant has to move to a corner OF alongside Soler and Almora – and there’s no OF spot left, assuming Rizzo’s at 1B.

      • thatsnuckinfuts - Jun 17, 2014 at 1:15 PM

        Baez can play 2B
        22 year olds can be coached, learn and improve
        Nobody really cares if he’s only fringe-average at catcher if he can hit.

        He’s 7 for 11 with 2 HR and 8 RBI in his 1st 3 games in short season A ball

      • stlouis1baseball - Jun 17, 2014 at 1:51 PM

        I have had the opportunity of seeing Schwarber play quite a bit during his time at IU.
        The kid is solid. A true field general. Does a wonderful job of taking control…working his pitchers through jambs. And he can flat out it. If he progresses through the ranks like expected…you guys are gonna love him.

        Signed,
        Biased Indiana University Baseball Fan

      • matts8711ski8711 - Jun 17, 2014 at 2:05 PM

        What about Alcantara? Don’t they want him at second? I Think it should be 3B Olt SS Baez 2B Alcantara 1B Rizzo and in the OF LF Bryant CF Almora RF soler. Castro might have to be traded.

      • jdd428 - Jun 17, 2014 at 2:44 PM

        I don’t see Olt being the team’s third baseman when it’s go-time. It’ll be Baez or Bryant. Personally, I’d agree with putting Baez at 2B and Bryant at 3B while keeping Castro and Rizzo (BTW, full disclosure: Not a Cubs fan, prefer the other side of town). In this scenario, Schwarber could potentially go to LF with Almora and Soler rounding out the OF.

        However, I am concerned Baez may bust. As for the rest, you can trade away Olt, Alcantara, Vogelbach, Lake – get whatever you can, ie. PITCHING or a catcher.

  2. yahmule - Jun 17, 2014 at 11:04 AM

    I’ll bet he did.

  3. earpaniac - Jun 17, 2014 at 11:22 AM

    I think keeping him there is the right call. Why bring him up when even if he hits exactly the same as he is in AA won’t really make a difference in the Cub’s fortunes this year? I think he is the Cub’s 3b by May/June ’15 at the latest.

    • notsofast10 - Jun 17, 2014 at 11:40 AM

      You call him up because he is ready, you don’t call him up to save money. Cub’s suck anyways, always have. Maybe they should trade him for more prospects so they have more prospects in the minor leagues since this one is banging on the door very loudly and they don’t want to bring him up. If he were on the Marlins he would be the starting 3rd baseman.

      • jdd428 - Jun 17, 2014 at 11:51 AM

        He would probably be the starting 3B on a lot of teams right now, right or wrong. The problem is the Cubs don’t realistically have any hopes of contending now so bringing him up would only start his arb/fa clock early. Why do that when you hope to be a legit contender in 2-4 years with all the other “core four” members (who are struggling) and other prospects contributing? If the goal is to win a championship, the smart move is to keep Bryant in the minors – maybe give him some Triple-A time, but that’s it.

      • notsofast10 - Jun 18, 2014 at 12:08 AM

        So you’re ok with the Cubs not fielding the best team that they can? If so, you deserve the Cubs!!!!!!

  4. ud1951 - Jun 17, 2014 at 12:16 PM

    While it may be too soon to promote him to the big leagues, he is certainly not blocked from third base at AAA. The Iowa Cubs have Christian Villanueva with his .661 OPS holding down third. Villanueva was once a strong prospect but is not doing well at AAA, nor was he lights out at AA. He seems to be a good glove where Bryant is not, but still I see no advantage to keeping Bryant in AA unless you think the coaches there are better suited to shore up his defense than at AAA.

    It really begs the question, are another 200 ABs at AA as valuable as 200 ABs at AAA? We’ve seen a lot a guys club AA pitching, then flame out at AAA. I doubt this guy does, but the history says the pitching is better at AAA, and I would think Bryant would benefit from seeing better pitching.

  5. breesus09 - Jun 17, 2014 at 2:31 PM

    Cubs need to bring him to aaa ASAP. Let him & Baez develop some chemistry. Maybe it will give Baez motivation to improve his numbers as well. I’ve seen him play & he has nothing left to accomplish at AA. I’m actually worried he might become complacent bc he’s been so dominant. If he’s not called up after all star game I’ll be surprised. If they are waiting for him to struggle it’s not going to happen at current level & it will be wasted development time

    • slappymcknucklepunch - Jun 17, 2014 at 11:58 PM

      I just wanted to say you Cubs fans REALLY know your team top to bottom.

      Very informative and knowledgeable.

      If your team doesn’t do any ill advised move s I see you contending for the next 7 to 8 years.

      • notsofast10 - Jun 18, 2014 at 12:09 AM

        Nice

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