Kris Bryant named Baseball America Player of the Year


Although he won’t see Wrigley Field in 2014, Chicago Cubs prospect Kris Bryant will definitely remember his first full professional season, which has been capped with numerous awards – most recently, the Baseball America Minor League Player of the Year designation from the prospect-focused publication.

"Bryant’s exceptional season made him an easy choice as Baseball America’s 2014 Minor League Player of the Year. He joins Alex Gordon as the second player ever to win the College and the Minor League POY awards in consecutive years."

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Bryant, who was selected by the Cubs with the second-overall pick in the June 2013 draft, put together one of the best minor league seasons in recent memory, blasting 43 long-balls, driving in 110 runs and batting .325/.438/.661 between Double-A Tennessee and Triple-A Iowa.

Although he quickly became known for his power stroke, given the fact he led all of Minor League Baseball in home runs, his approach at the plate is what has separated him from the pack – including former teammate Javier Baez. Most power hitters lose focus and chase pitches after creating bad habits – but Bryant always seemed to have his nose to the grindstone, as the Baseball America article points out, referencing this year’s Futures Game at Target Field.

"“It’s kind of tempting to launch some balls to the upper deck, but you can create some bad habits,” Bryant said. “I’m big on having a routine and sticking to it. Just because it’s an all-star game doesn’t mean I should go away from my routine. My routine has gotten me to that type of game.”"

The 22-year-old third baseman hasn’t missed a beat since being drafted, as he was also named the USA Today Minor League Player of the Year, another testament to the sheer dominance he showcased on a daily basis in 2014. However, dominance can come in streaks. Alas, this wasn’t the case with Bryant. As the article points out, Bryant never went hitless in three straight games and failed to reach base in just 14 of his 138 contests.

Bryant is near-big league ready. He could very well start 2015 as a member of the Chicago Cubs. What should we expect when he arrives in the Windy City?

"The only challenge left for Bryant is the toughest one. Major league pitchers likely will find weaknesses that college and minor league pitchers have failed to unearth. Just as likely, Bryant will continue to drive pitchers crazy by making the adjustments that are the mark of an advanced hitter."

A lineup with this young slugger at its heart will be deadly. His time is coming.