Kris Bryant Keeps on Hitting and Hitting and Hitting

Kris Bryant is dominating the Southern League at the plate and is pushing the front office for a promotion to Triple-A level without saying a single word. Bryant is not only hitting, but he’s putting up video game numbers.

Over his last ten games, Kris Bryant has put together a .484/.610/1.097 slash line with four doubles, five home runs, 10 walks, eight strikeouts and a 1.707 OPS … and has reached base safely in each of his last ten games. And after a slow start in April (.281/.407/.539/.947), Bryant is hitting .406/.492/.729 with six doubles, 11 home runs, 16 walks, 31 strikeouts and a 1.284 OPS in 27 games this month.

Kris Bryant leads the Southern League in the Triple Crown categories and in just about every offensive category. Bryant is first in batting average (.347), OBP (.451), SLG (.647), OPS (1.125), total bases (128) and home runs (16). Bryant is tied for the league lead in RBI (45), third in walks (31) and tied for third in doubles (14). And he’s in third in all of the minor leagues in home runs (16).

In 52 games this season, Bryant has put together a .347/.451/.674 line with 14 doubles, 16 home runs, 31 walks, 61 strikeouts and a 1.125 OPS.

Bryant’s splits are equally as impressive. Bryant is hitting .412/.512/.824 in 34 at bats against lefties with two doubles, four home runs, seven walks, nine strikeouts and a 1.336 OPS. Versus right handed pitching, Bryant is hitting .333/.438/.641 with 12 doubles, 12 home runs, 24 walks, 52 strikeouts and a 1.079 OPS.

Defensively, Kris Bryant has made improvements at third base while working on his defense every day. Bryant wants to stay at third base and while he could play a corner outfield spot, he would rather prove he can play third base.

David Kaplan asked Jed Hoyer about Kris Bryant during his weekly spot on the Kap & Haugh Show and his thoughts on the comments Todd Hollandsworth made about the Cubs calling up the prospects and giving them a chance to play in the majors. Hollandsworth, the 1996 National League Rookie of the Year, thinks Bryant could hit in the majors right now and he thinks learning in the majors “is very, very important.” Hollandsworth said he did not learn anything in the minors and if you know how to play, you know how to play.

“He’s [Bryant] had an unbelievable last month of the season. Seems like every night it is a couple of walks and a homer and a couple of hits,” Hoyer said. “I think a lot of the things you can learn is you’re going to have your ups and downs and you’re going to have to learn how to get through them. And right now he is riding, almost the same kind of hot streak that Javy had in the second half for Tennessee last year. You’ll have a cold stretch and he’ll have to learn how to get through it. I do believe that is the important thing. There is a reason guys don’t go straight from college into the big leagues. Part of that is the maturation process of the minor leagues, so I understand where Holly is coming from. I do think that at some level Major League pitching is so different from minor league pitching that you are going to have to learn how to hit it. But I do think playing every single day, going through the grind of the season, I do think there’s a lot you can learn in the minor leagues about how you handle that and your routine stays normal during that process.”

Jim Bowden asked Jason McLeod about Kris Bryant during McLeod’s interview on The Front Office (MLB Network Radio/SiriusXM Radio) last Sunday. Bowden called the selection of Bryant “an incredible pick.” Kris Bryant impressed Bowden when he met him. Bowden thinks Bryant has the makeup to be a star, and compared Bryant’s makeup to that of Chipper Jones after he was drafted. Bowden asked McLeod about his development, how far he is from the big leagues and if the Cubs would be calling Bryant up to the majors this season.

“First on the development side of things, his last 15 months, from the time he started his college season last year has just been pretty phenomenal. Like you were saying, certain guys, like you mentioned Chipper Jones, and I don’t want to put Kris up in that category yet, they just have a certain persona on the way they carry themselves, the way that their teammates respond to them. Just his day to day demeanor is so professional. Not someone who gets too high or too low and he just has a plan every single day when he comes to the ballpark. He’s really professionalized for someone who is in his first full season. Understands his swing, understands what he is trying to do. He’s still learning how the pitchers are trying to attack him. We knew getting him out of the draft there is going to be some swing and miss there and certainly strikeouts are high as well, but he doesn’t let that get him down. He’s still going to stay within his approach. Jim we talked about this last year, most of his home runs are to center and right and that’s been the case again this year. He really tries to stay up through the middle of the field. And he takes as much pride in his defense. He works hard on that every day. We all know he’s athletic enough that he could move to the outfield, if that’s the ultimate position, but it’s almost like he wants to prove to everybody, ‘No I can play third. I’m a really good athlete. I have a really good arm.’ And he really works hard at it. It’s been real exciting seeing what he’s done so far. As far as the timeframe, as exciting as it is, it’s not even two months yet that’s he’s been in Double-A. Certainly there are some things he’s still working on. Ultimately we’ll let Kris dictate that. I mean in a perfect world he’ll continue this trek that he’s on right now and dominate that league. Make it tough on Theo and Jed and Ricky to make a decision on him.”

Keith Law moved Kris Bryant ahead of Javier Baez in his latest prospects ranking that was released on Friday. Law ranked Bryant (8) just ahead of Baez (9) in his updated top 25 prospects list in the game.

With Double-A pitching providing little challenge for Kris Bryant, at least over the last month, the front office is going to have to make a decision, in the very near future, on moving him up to Triple-A Iowa and if they will leave him at third base or move him to the outfield in order to keep Christian Villanueva on his develop plan.

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"Never let the fear of striking out get in your way of playing the game." – Babe Ruth

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  • Theboardrider

    Do some teams still use AA as the jumping point to the MLB for their top prospects? I know it used to be that way. If I remember correctly Castro never played at AAA. Guess what I’m asking is with Bryant leading the Triple Crown down there is he doing so against other teams top hitting prospects?

    • mutantbeast

      Board, check out the Kris Bryant “facts” on ChicagoNow/CubsDen.. Youll have a good laugh.

    • mutantbeast

      BTW Board, remember Bryants 1st HR this year was off Mat Latos of the Reds, who happens to be a pretty good Major league pitcher. Latos plunked him with his 1st pitch the 2nd time-more likely was scared to pitch to him. The heck with AAA, Bryant should be in the bigs.

  • Steve Baier

    Bring him to Des Moines!

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  • John_CC

    I love this kid, how can you not?

    I know that the FO has their plan sets, checklists, and personal goals sheets on everyone, and I think it’s great. But it is almost silly at this point for Hoyer to keep saying he is there so he can learn to work through struggles when the kid just keeps getting better. He isn’t on a hot streak ala Javy Baez. Bryant’s “slow” start in April was a .947 OPS…yeah, it sure took him awhile to adjust. That slash line of his past 10 games is beyond video game silly…at first I thought Neil left off the BA at the beginning of the line – .484/.610/1.097 – because that would be an awesome OBP/SLG/OPS line, except the 1.097 is his slugging percentage! LOL.

    I understand the thought process that struggling makes one better, learning to work out of slumps, etc…fine, we see that with Baez. He struggled mightily and has come out of it. But Bryant is not being challenged, at all.

    I see a Paul Goldschmidt trajectory, except faster. Goldie played a season of rookie ball in 09, of which I caught a few games. One full season of A+, on season of AA. Bryant already has blown through rookie and A ball. He’ll finish his minor league career this year in Iowa.

    • Neil

      Thank you for catching by tongue-in check remark about the slow start. I am double checking his line to make use I have the decimal points in the right place. Those numbers are off the chart.

  • Roland Bowman

    Bryant’s strike outs are on the high side. Which means his babip must be incredible. I am sure it is not luck, just how well he is squaring things up when he does make contact. I wonder what is left on his check list before going to AAA. Cut down the strike outs? Defensive improvements?

    I agree with John_CC that comments like wanting him to work through struggles are silly. I am not insulting Hoyer, I am sure those are just canned statements given to the press.

    I think Christian Villanueva will keep Bryant at AA longer. I don’t think Bryant staying at AA longer is necessarily a bad thing. He can continue working on his defense. I expect his time at AAA to be pretty short because of this.

  • Denver Mike

    I sure hope Villanueva isn’t what’s keep Bryant in AA, but I suspect it is. Heck, if they are so worried about Villanueva’s development plan, and keeping his .226/.284/.375/.659 line at AAA then so be it, leapfrog Bryant to the majors like Hollandsworth suggested. But keeping Bryant in AA expecting him to struggle at some point is just plain absurd. He may strike out a lot similar to Baez, but his walk numbers, spray chart, and contact rates show that he is infinitely more disciplined and his swing is more refined that Javy’s.

    • Pat Kolp

      All they need to do is put Bryant in the OF and leave Villanueva at 3rd.

      • John_CC

        Why in the world you move a kid doing what Bryant is doing at a prime position for a scuffling prospect? No way. Put or move over.

        • Pat Kolp

          Well a lot of people think Bryant will eventually see time in the OF anyways.

    • Tony_H

      Villanueva has nothing to do with Bryant. Villanueva will swap places with him or Bryant will play RF to get him some OF time. Bryant is a very solid ballplayer and I could see him skipping AAA without any problem.

  • Denver Mike

    I know a lot is made of the “player plans” and “check all of the boxes” before moving to the next level, but it was either Theo or Hoyer that said at one point that certain players force your hand and are the exception. Kris Byant is the FO’s chance to put their money where their mouth is, and give the fans something to be excited about. That being said, I full expect him to stay in the minors until next June.

    • Tony_H

      Once we get by the draft you will see movement. All teams FO are in full draft mode right now.

  • BosephHeyden

    There really isn’t a whole lot else to say that every other post here hasn’t already said better (to the point where it may be better to say this post exists more as an ego boost to the posters of the other comments and Neil as far as the Bryant analysis goes).

    Bryant, right now, is an exception to every rule. I know they’re keen on the whole “100 games per level”, but all 100 games in Double A and Triple A are going to do are result in 200 games Bryant could have likely spent in the majors. He’s fast-tracking the system. He’s basically everything Starlin Castro was before he made his major league debut and, much like Castro, if he were to be called up tomorrow (he won’t, nor should anyone ever expect that), I would expect a huge first impression game from him, followed by a pretty good second impression game.

    And it isn’t even that he’s impressed in the minor leagues or impressed in college baseball. You know what happens when you Google Kris Bryant to get details about his college life or anything else? There’s nothing. At all. This kid, with first round baseball talent, made it through college without so much as a red flag. In San Diego. You know how easy it is to get in trouble as a talented college kid with an almost guaranteed multi-million dollar future in California? Very, very, very easy. That tells me he’s ready for Chicago and everything the city’s nightlife can possibly get you in trouble for.

    Bring him up. Get Olt comfortable doing something else or just send him back down to Triple A so he can take up another position (or, worst case, be used as a trade chip with a Samardzija or Hammel trade to up the prospect ante), and let Valbuena play second until whoever they’re molding for that is ready. The kid has beaten Double A, and chances are Triple A won’t be any harder.

    • triple

      Great points all around, especially about Bryant’s character and maturity. I truly don’t see what good AAA can do for the kid. Sure he’s gotta cut down on the strikeouts and field his position better, but he’s working on that now, and I’m sure he will improve on those points over the next couple months. I think the only hang-up that may prevent a September call-up for Bryant would be the roster spot on the 40-man roster, and the FO wanting the flexibility over the offseason without him taking up a space. But I certainly hope they will not let something like that get in the way of this kids ascension to the big leagues.

      • Denver Mike

        What if they just shocked the world, brought him up in June this year, and plugged him in the 3 hole? Haha, I can’t help but laugh as I type this!

        • GaryLeeT

          Although he played 3 games in AAA, the Cards did that with Pujols. That turned out sort of OK.

          • Denver Mike

            Although Bryant does strike out a lot, I think he’s skilled enough to hack it just fine. It’s too bad that saving money a few years down the road factors in, and why I can’t believe it would ever happen.

          • BosephHeyden

            The way I look at it: if you’re getting a hit one out of every three AB’s, and you’re NOT hitting into a double play the other two, swing away.

          • Tony_H

            Pujols skipped AA and came up for the playoffs to finish his one and only minor league season as he made the Cardinals out of ST the next year and never looked back.

            I think Bryant can do the same.

    • GaryLeeT

      I agree. His talent is only surpassed by his character, and I could easily see him as the clubhouse leader of the future.