After his performance in the Arizona Fall League so far, it looks like the Cubs might finally have a long-term answer at the hot corner in years to come.
Kris Bryant, the second overall pick in this June’s draft, drove in seven runs in his first week in the Arizona Fall League, en route to “sharing player of the week honors with Surprise outfielder Mitch Haniger of the Milwaukee Brewers‘ organization for week 1.”
The 21 year-old Bryant has turned heads around the league during his first season of professional baseball, as he hit .336 between rookie-level ball, Class A-Boise and Class A+ Daytona, adding nine home runs and 32 RBIs, as well. The 6-5 power hitter projects to be a major part of the organization’s future – although his position remains to be seen. Many scouts see him as a corner outfielder in the future due to his plus-athleticism and arm.
One of the major reasons scouts see Bryant as a corner outfielder is because many believe Chicago’s top prospect, Javier Baez, who has established a reputation as a defensive liability at shortstop, will make his big league debut at third base – likely late next season. Baez crushed 37 home runs and drove in 111 runs this season, tearing up minor league pitching at a torrid pace.
With franchise cornerstones Starlin Castro and Anthony Rizzo taking stutter-steps backwards in 2013, especially Castro, many have already abandoned hope until the likes of Bryant, Baez and company reach the big league roster in Chicago.
With the organization-wide rebuilding effort entering its third offseason, patience is running thin amongst Cubs’ fans. All we can say to those beleaguered souls is that the future is bright, and it’s not as far away as you may think.