Yesterday, we saw the Cubs’ scoreless streak hit 20 innings after the club was blanked by the San Francisco Giants for the second consecutive day, leaving many of us to wonder just what can be done to address this team’s woefully inconsistent offense.
The answer, unfortunately, is still sitting down in Double-A Tennessee: Kris Bryant.
Taken with the number two overall pick in last June’s draft, Bryant hasn’t missed a beat in his professional career, and has only gotten better with the Smokies, hitting .349/.452/.667 in 51 games this season – including a superhuman .484/.600/1.000 mark in the last ten games.
That being said, Bryant does strike out a fair amount. Entering play yesterday, he ranked second in the Southern League in terms of strikeouts.
But really, that’s about the extent of the criticism surrounding the Cubs’ prospect.
Tony Andracki of CSN Chicago talked about Bryant in a piece he penned yesterday, offering some perspective on the monstrous season the 22-year-old is having.
"Despite being more than two-and-a-half years younger than the average player in Double-A, Bryant entered play Wednesday leading the Southern League in homers, average, on-base percentage, slugging percentage, OPS, total bases, hits and runs while also ranking second in RBI and fourth in walks."
In the month of May, Bryant has only gotten better, hitting .387/.472/.731 in 25 games in which he’s amassed 31 RBIs and 26 runs. Oh, and did we mention that he’s over two years younger than the average Double-A player?
Now that’s not to say he won’t hit a wall at some point. Virtually every prospect, no matter how highly touted, does. We’ve seen that this season with the organization’s top prospect Javier Baez, who turned heads across the baseball world last season with his 37-home run, 111 RBI campaign. Of late, the Cubs shortstop has begun to heat up – a promising sign for the organization.
With a 4-for-4 night that included his 16th long ball of the season on Wednesday, Bryant shows no signs of slowing down. The only question now is how long until he gets the call to join Baez at Triple-A Iowa.