Power Hitter Kris Bryant
Kris Bryant, 2015 National League Rookie of the year, and Three True Outcomes
He stands six feet and five inches tall. He weighs in rather thin for that height, just 215 pounds, but he's a power hitting phenom in the Major Leagues at a young age. The predictions are that he'll win National League Rookie of the Year. So he does.
Do you happen to remember Ron Kittle? I remember Ron. He won a Rookie of the Year award, but he won it in the American League. He had two fine seasons of MLB play, then he slowly faded into obscurity. A footnote in power hitting Rookie of the Year award winning hitters. So we're all hoping Kris remembers Ron Kittle. Doesn't flash in the pan that way. We hope Kris sticks around for a long time. Hits lots of home runs. This is what we hope for.
How did Kris do in 2015? He hit a lot of home runs, 26, and he drove in a lot of runs, 99. He even stole 13 bases, and batted a respectable .275. The bad news is he led the National League in striking out. He struck out 199 times. He is a right handed Chris Davis. A 3 true outcomes player like his friend Joey Gallo. At least at this point he is. What are the 3 true outcomes? A walk, a strikeout, and a home run. Kris got 77 walks his rookie season. That is quite a lot, especially for a man who struck out as many times as he did. You can bet he learns to look for his pitch, the one he wants to swing at, and he'll get even more walks in 2016.
Kris Bryant is a big man with a big swing
Kris Bryant is predicted to join the 50 home run club
After just one season in MLB play, there are people already predicting Kris will win an MVP award at some point in the future. This is all based upon his offensive potential. As a defender, Bryant is kindly referred to as a work in progress.
Though he strikes out at a huge rate, he makes enough solid contact he may both lead the National League in strikeouts, and still hit above the .300 mark. It could happen in 2016. Or it could be the pitchers he hit last season make adjustments, and he suffers some growing pains this season.
Bryant isn't a dead pull hitter. He demonstrates loads of power to center field and even to the center-right power alley. Like Paul Goldschmidt does. He's that big and strong.
Kris is also getting compared to another tall and lanky power hitter, but this one is from days gone by. Dave Kingman was once a Chicago Cub too, but Dave Kingman was known not only for his big time Big League power, but also for being, well, an asshole. Kris is a nice guy though. He's also likely to do some Kingman like numbers. People predict 50 home runs from this guy. That is a tough load to carry, even when your shoulders are as broad as Kris Bryant's are.
Good guy Kris Bryant helps a fan get a date to the prom
Kris Bryant isn't just athletic, but book smart too
Kris Bryant became dedicated to baseball at an early age. But baseball never consumed his life to the point he slacked off in school Oh no, Bryant was his school's salutatorian, but gave it up for someone who's grades were slightly less awesome than his, because that person wanted it so dang much.
Nice guy, this Kris Bryant. Smart too. In college he was a biology major at first, but he switched to finance. Some sort of career ending injury happens to Kris, and he is going to be qualified for a good job. But we who love baseball are betting on such things not happening. Kris should have a long and terrific baseball career.
In this day and age where politicians come across so clearly as not being very nice people, and where most of the music celebrities clearly have no musical talent to speak of, and would likely be a horrible person to introduce to your family - American needs some good guys to provide the youth and others to admire. Kris Bryant, with his academic book smarts and willingness to actually care about random fans, he's that sort of guy. Someone you can look up to not just for his athleticism, but for his kindness.
Kris Bryant with the Daytona Cubs, the Chicago Cubs minor league team
Kris Bryant is from a good family, and he progressed quickly in college and the minor leagues
Kris Bryant won various and sundry awards for excellence in baseball before he became a professional baseball player. There was the Dick Howser Trophy. The Golden Spikes Award too. He grew up playing ball with Bryce Harper. Also like Bryce Harper, Bryant's father was closely involved with his development. His dad had saw early on his son had the chance to be the real thing, and he even sold a business so he could have the time to commit to his son's progress.
That's family values there. Bryant is a good guy from a good family. This is what America needs to see more and more of.
Kris went to high school in Las Vegas. He did as well as you can imagine. Amazing statistics, and you can find those sorts of details on his Wikipedia page, if you want to see them. USA Today named Kris to their All-USA baseball team. The Blue Jays attempted to sign Kris out of high school. He was drafted but he did not sign with the Blue Jays, he instead went to school and played college ball for the University of San Diego.
By his junior year in college Kris was leading all college ball players in the nation in home runs. Widely thought of as the best single college player available, the Houston Astros could have drafted Bryant, but instead chose someone else. The Chicago Cubs though, they chose Kris as the second pick in the first round of the 2013 MLB draft. He became a rich man right then and there, as he signed with the cubs for nearly seven million dollars.
He advanced through the minors quickly, winning all manner of honors and recognition along the way. The big controversy came in 2015. Bryant was invited to spring training with the Chicago Cubs, and he did very well, but wasn't selected to be with the club on the opening day roster. Everyone assumed the worst about the Cubs for this. They assumed they wanted to keep Kris under their control for the longest possible time without having to deal with things like salary arbitration and free agency. It was a big deal in the media. People were saying what the Cubs did was bad for baseball. But in any event, he'd be called up in 2015.
Kris Bryant connects with the baseball
Kris Bryant in 2015 and beyond
Usually 3rd basemen aren't six foot five inches tall. Usually your 3rd baseman is a guy who is from five foot ten to six foot two, like Adrian Beltre. Kris may have too high a center of gravity to be a long term 3rd baseman. Third basemen are also required to have a rifle for an arm, and Kris does have that, so it could be that in the future Kris is moved to right field, a place where men with firearms for throwing arms typically play. Like Jose Bautista.
But Kris Bryant's claim to fame is not his fielding. He could turn into a great fielder, but what he is most likely to forever be recalled for is his big bat. He hits balls a long ways.
Early on Kris wasn't hitting home runs as expected. He was playing good defense at 3rd though. The joke, from the mouth of the manager was he'd been brought up for his glove. He was still an early favorite to win NL Rookie of the Year. He won Rookie of the Month in May. Giancarlo Stanton got injured, and so Bryant replaced him in the All Star game. He got to participate in the home run derby. Then he got to be the last out in Cole Hamels no hitter. Not exactly a highlight, but a bit of a historical footnote.
Who hit the longest home run in 2015? Not Stanton, not Harper, not Chris Davis, not Prince Fielder or any of those established big dog players, it was Kris Bryant. He hit a ball 495 feet from home plate. But maybe the biggest charm for Bryant's 2015 Rookie of the Year season was playing for the Cubs in the playoffs. He went hitless in the wild card game, but hit a home run in the National League Division series.
What can we expect from Kris Bryant in 2016? Well, most people are predicting around 30 home runs and 100 runs batted in. You'd also be wise to expect around 200 strikeouts, and maybe 100 walks, some intentional. I hope nothing but the best for nice guy Kris Bryant, and you should too. Thanks for reading.