Yeah. Kristopher Lee Bryant has been great. Hell of an article right? Actually, you probably didn’t know his middle name was Lee. If you did, good for you. If not, don’t say I never taught you anything. Read on to see just how unprecedented his meteoric rise has been.
I will now quote articles about the 2013 College Player of the Year, 2014 Minor League Player of the Year, 2015 NL Rookie of the Year, and the 2016 NL MVP frontrunner. See if you notice a pattern.
“Baseball America’s 2013 College Player of the Year left a trail of gaping mouths and shaking heads in his wake this spring, on his way to 31 home runs—the most by a college player since 2003, and 10 more than any other player in 2013. So naturally, the most common story about the University of San Diego’s junior third baseman involves a massive display of power.
Longtime USD radio play-by-play man Jack Murray can’t stop talking about the ball Bryant hit over the light tower against Saint Louis on a cool night back in March. Murray swears the ball traveled 600 feet—or more." (Aaron Fit, Baseball America)
Now, about the 2014 Minor League POY.
“It started not long after Bryant, the 2013 College Player of the Year, signed last July for just more than $6.7 million. He went 0-for-3 with three errors in his pro debut, in the Rookie-level Arizona League, and had a brutal 0-for-5, five-strikeouts opener with short-season Boise two games later. He quickly took off thereafter, and the Cubs sent him to high Class A Daytona to try to help the club in a playoff push.
Chicago’s front office thought Daytona would be a steep test for a hitter just weeks into his pro career. Bryant hit .333 with five home runs and a .719 slugging percentage in 16 games, then went 7-for-20 in the Florida State League playoffs to help lead the team to a championship.
OK, so the Cubs decided to raise the bar. They sent him to the Arizona Fall League, a very aggressive assignment for a first-year pro, especially one who would likely be worn out by playing baseball in October and November after beginning his college season in February. Bryant hit .364/.457/.727 with an AFL-leading six homers and was the league MVP.
Not tough enough? The Cubs had debated sending Bryant back to Daytona to start the season this year, but ended up pushing him to Double-A Tennessee when spring training wrapped up.
It didn’t stretch Bryant. He was leading the Southern League in most offensive categories in June, forcing a mid-season promotion to Triple-A. Bryant has yet to find the level that challenges him; he’s been the best around wherever he’s played the last three years.
“He’s exceeded our expectations at every level,” Cubs general manager Jed Hoyer said. “At three different junctures we felt we were pushing him into struggles.”
There’s little doubt Bryant was the best player in the minors this year. In his first full pro season, Bryant led the minors with 43 home runs, 78 extra-base hits, a .661 slugging percentage and a 1.098 OPS. He wasn’t just a swing-for-the fences slugger, as Bryant posted his gaudy home run numbers while hitting a robust .325 and posting the minor’s second-best on-base percentage (.438).
Bryant’s exceptional season made him an easy choice as Baseball America’s 2014 Minor League Player of the Year.” (JJ Cooper, Baseball America)
Ok, and now for the 2015 NL ROY. Noticing a pattern yet?
“Third baseman Kris Bryant was one of the key components to a 97-win Chicago Cubs team that made their first postseason berth in seven years and made it to the National League Championship Series. On Monday, he was recognized as the 2015 NL Rookie of the Year by the Baseball Writers Association of America, winning the award unanimously.” (SBNation)
Now back to the present. I want to point out that those past articles all lead us up to this: Kris Bryant is the best player on the best team in baseball. The Lovable Losers are 89-49, and Bryant has been a 6.99 WAR player in the 2016 season, pacing all of the NL in that category. Nolan Arenado is second by a full 1.33 wins above replacement. He leads the Cubs in batting average (.302), home runs (36), runs scored (112), OBP (.398), slugging percentage (.575), OPS (.973), and hits (157). Did I mention that he has played left, right, center, shortstop, third base, and first?
Oh, and he’s only 24.
So anyways, I hope you noticed a pattern. If you haven't, let me spell it out for you. Kris Bryant isn't just good He's Cooperstown good. College POY, Minor League POY, NL ROY, and NL MVP frontrunner in consecutive years is purely unheard of. Sit back and enjoy the show, Northsiders.
Written by Luke Sclamberg
Comments? Questions? Share your thoughts in the comments section below! And don't forget to sign up for our newsletter!