Kris Bryant was the best player in the minor leagues last season. And it might be easier to list the awards he did not receive than the ones he did after putting up, for lack of a better word, ridiculous numbers in 138 games between Double-A Tennessee and Triple-A Iowa.
For the season, Kris Bryant hit .325/.438/.661 with 34 doubles, one triple, 324 extra bases and 43 home runs with 110 RBI for a 1.098 OPS. Bryant ended up with a .355/.458/.702 slash line in 68 games for Double-A Tennessee that included 20 doubles, 22 home runs, 58 RBI and a 1.160 OPS. At the Triple-A level, Bryant hit .295/.418/.619 with 14 doubles, one triple, 21 home runs and 52 RBI for a 1.036 OPS.
Kris Bryant led the minor leagues in home runs (43), extra basehits (78), total bases (324), slugging percentage (.661) and OPS (1.098) and finished second in the minors with a .438 OBP. Bryant did not go without a hit for three straight games and he failed to reach base, either with a hit or a walk, in only 14 games all season.
Bryant was the Cubs Minor League Player of the Year and earned MiLB.com, ESPN.com, USA Today and Yahoo Sports top minor league honors. Bryant also took home a MiLBY for top offensive player and the Joe Bauman Award, plus several player of the week and player of the month awards in the Southern League and Pacific Coast League throughout the season. And Bryant was named the PCL’s best defensive third baseman.
Baseball America completed the editing process for the 2015 Prospect Handbook, which will ship and hit the stands in a couple of weeks. The book has a different look from the one that was tweeted at the end of November, but Kris Bryant remains on the cover.
Baseball America named Kris Bryant its Minor League Player of the Year in the fall. And the Cubs top prospect attended the Winter Meetings to accept post-season awards he earned.
Kris Bryant is the first Cubs’ prospect since Starlin Castro in 2010 to don the cover of the Prospect Handbook.
The Cubs could have as many as three of the top 10 prospects in the game when Baseball America’s list is released in Kris Bryant, Addison Russell and Jorge Soler. As John Manuel pointed out, the Cubs have a deep system with “30 legit prospects” that gives the organization “many, many options and trade pieces.”
Kris Bryant will be among the players in big league camp on non-roster invitations this spring. And the same questions will be asked that were answered during the convention, when will Bryant make his debut with the Cubs?
Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer have been consistent in the fact Bryant will report to Spring Training as a third baseman, but he will also see time in the outfield. A position Mick Gillispie, the Smokies’ play-by-play man, thinks Bryant could end up playing in the big leagues. Bryant should spend a majority of Spring Training with the big league team before he is reassigned to minor league camp.
Kris Bryant plans to make it hard on the Cubs to send him down to the minors at the beginning of the season. But in all likelihood, he will begin the 2015 season with Triple-A Iowa until the Cubs gain the extra year of control. One year of service time is defined as 172 days on a season that typically takes 183 days to complete. Bryant spending 21 days with Triple-A Iowa will guarantee an extra year of control, Super Two status is not believed to be an issue. Based on the front office’s history of bringing players up to make their big league debut, Bryant will not be called up during a homestand. The likely target dates for Kris Bryant’s call-up are April 24-26 in Cincinnati or May 4-10 when the Cubs are on the road in St. Louis and Milwaukee.