Baseball America made it official Tuesday morning and as expected, Kris Bryant was named Baseball America’s Minor League Player of the Year.
Kris Bryant finished his first full season of pro ball with a .325/.438/.661 slash line that included 34 doubles, one triple, 324 total bases and 43 home runs with 110 RBI for a 1.098 OPS in 138 games between Double-A Tennessee and Triple-A Iowa.
Kris Bryant led the minor leagues in home runs (43), extra basehits (78), total bases (324), slugging percentage (.661) and OPS (1.098). And Bryant posted the second best OBP (.438) in the minors.
In 68 games with Double-A Tennessee, Kris Bryant put together a .355/.458/.702 slash line with 20 doubles, 22 home runs, 58 RBI and a 1.160 WHIP. And in 70 games with Iowa, Bryant hit .295/.418/.619 with 14 doubles, one triple, 21 home runs and 52 RBI for a 1.036 OPS.
Kris Bryant is the first Cubs prospect to be named Baseball America’s Minor League Player of the Year.
Bryant joins the Royals’ Alex Gordon (2005, 2006) as the only two players to win Baseball America’s College Player of the Year and Minor League Player of the Year in consecutive seasons. And the 43 home runs Kris Bryant hit this season between Double-A Tennessee and Triple-A Iowa are the second most ever hit for a Minor League Player of the Year. Ron Kittle hit 50 longballs in 1983.
As Baseball America pointed out, Bryant not only hits for power but he hits for average while using the entire field. Bryant did not go hitless in three straight games this season and he did not reach base, either by a walk or a hit, in only 14 of the 138 games he played this year.
Defensively, Bryant made strides at third base this season, a position the Cubs and Bryant would like to see him be able to play in the majors. According to the report from Baseball America, opinions of scouts that saw him this year vary from Bryant being an “adequate third baseman with an excellent arm to potentially above-average one” and those same scouts noted “they expect he would make an above-average right fielder.”
Previous Baseball America Minor League Players of the Year include Wil Myers (2012), Jeremy Hellickson (2010), Jason Heyward (2009), Matt Wieters (2008), Jay Bruce (2007), Delmon Young (2005), Jeff Francis (2004), Joe Mauer (2003), Rocco Baldelli (2002), Josh Beckett (2001), Andruw Jones (1995, 1996), Derek Jeter (1994) and Manny Ramirez (1993).
Kris Bryant has been given the winter off to prepare for a full seven month season in 2015. Bryant will be in big league camp on a non-roster invitation and if all goes as planned, Bryant should make his Major League debut in late-April.