MLB Pipeline releases its pre-season ranking Friday (8:00pm CST) of the Top 100 Prospects in baseball. And in advance of the 2016 prospect list, MLB.com posted a video with highlights of Kris Bryant’s first two years with the Cubs.
From the second overall pick in the 2013 draft to the 2015 National League Rookie of the Year, it has really been one highlight after another for Kris Bryant.
Bryant played in 36 games over three levels in the system after the Cubs signed him in 2013. Bryant hit .336/.390/.688 with 14 doubles, two triples and nine home runs for a 1.078 OPS. Bryant helped the Daytona Cubs win the 2013 Florida State League Championship before spending the fall in Arizona.
Bryant lit up the Arizona Fall League as a 21-year old just out of college. Bryant hit .364/.457/.727 in 20 games for the Mesa Solar Sox with eight doubles, a triple and six home runs for a 1.184 OPS. And Bryant was named Arizona Fall League MVP.
The 2014 season started for Bryant at Double-A Tennessee. Bryant ripped up the Southern League. In 68 games for the Smokies, Bryant batted .355/.458/.702 with 20 doubles and 22 home runs for a 1.160 OPS. Bryant won the Home Run Derby at the Southern League All-Star Game, participated in the game itself and was promoted to Iowa.
Bryant finished his first full season in pro ball with the Iowa Cubs. Bryant played in 70 games and put together a .295/.418/.619 line with 14 doubles, a triple and 21 home runs for a 1.036 OPS.
Kris Bryant was named the Minor League Player of the Year after hitting a combined .325/.438/.661 in 138 games between Double-A Tennessee and Triple-A Iowa with 34 doubles, a triple and 43 home runs for a 1.098 OPS.
The Cubs called up Bryant last April and he made his debut on April 17 versus the Padres at Wrigley Field. Bryant dealt with the media and all of the hype then started hitting the baseball.
Bryant was named to the NL All-Star team and participated in the Home Run Derby with his father in Cincinnati. Bryant hit .269/.376/.472 in the first half with 14 doubles, four triples and 12 home runs for a .848 OPS. After a rough July, Bryant turned it on in the second half.
Over his last 73 games of the regular season, Bryant batted .282/.361/.505 with 17 doubles, a triple and 14 home runs for a .867 OPS. And Bryant provided two of the most memorable endings of the season with walk-off home runs versus the Rockies and Indians.
Kris Bryant’s final stats for the 2015 regular season: .275/.369/.488 with 31 doubles, five triples, 26 home runs, 99 RBI and a .858 OPS. Bryant hit the first home run into the new bleachers … and fittingly the last homer of the year at Wrigley for the Cubs in the NLCS.
Bryant started the 2015 season with the Iowa Cubs and ended the year playing the National League Championship Series. And along the way, Bryant broke Cubs’ rookie records for home runs (26) and RBI (99) that were set by Billy Williams in 1961.
Bryant has set the bar very high and will start working on the follow up to his Rookie of the Year campaign in a couple of weeks. The Steamer projections for the upcoming season have Bryant batting .273/.360/.507 with 29 doubles, three triples and 31 home runs for a .868 OPS, and a 5.5 WAR.
What will year three bring for Kris Bryant and the Cubs?