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.