Iowa Cubs’ Kris Bryant named 2014 MiLB home run champion
In his first professional season, Chicago Cubs top prospect Kris Bryant turned some heads – and that’s putting it mildly.
The 22-year-old Bryant, who was taken with the second overall pick in the 2013 MLB Draft, split the 2014 campaign between Double-A Tennessee and Triple-A Iowa, where he posted a combined .325/.438/.661 batting line in 138 games. That’s not to mention the 110 runs batted in, 34 doubles or his 43 home runs – topping even the impressive performance Javier Baez put together a season ago when he blasted 37 long-balls.
Jake Seiner of MiLB.com delved into the history behind Bryant’s monster season in a recent article.
"The 22-year-old is the first Minor Leaguer to hit 43 since then-Angels prospect Brandon Wood clubbed that many between Class A Advanced Rancho Cucamonga and Triple-A Salt Lake in 2005."
Wood, who was ranked as the third-best prospect in all of baseball prior to the 2006 season by Baseball America, has not translated his Minor League success into big league production. His monster year in the Angels system came back in 2005, when he hit 43 home runs and drove in 116 runs while posting a batting line of ..321/.381/.667 between Advanced-A and Triple-A. However, in five big league seasons split between the Angels and Pirates, he’s struggled, batting just .186/.225/.285 with 18 home runs.
Since being drafted last June, the Cubs’ Bryant has pounded 52 home runs with 142 RBIs across 174 games, earning the organization’s top prospect designation. According to MLB.com, Bryant ranks as the third-best prospect in all of baseball, coming in behind only Byron Buxton of the Minnesota Twins and Carlos Correa of the Houston Astros.
Chicago general manager Jed Hoyer has said that Bryant will not be added to the Cubs roster in September, despite his outstanding season in the Minors. Patrick Mooney of CSN Chicago spoke with Hoyer recently about the decision.
"“We haven’t really wavered on (this decision). We feel like it’s the right thing for him in his first full season, not (being) on the roster. We’ll enjoy the guys we have up here right now.”"
With the home run crown in tow, Bryant’s attention will turn to Spring Training 2015. With the Cubs’ prospects beginning to make their debuts at Wrigley, the young infielder could be the next to join the ranks and lead Chicago back to contention.