It was agonizing for Chicago Cubs fans to watch the prolific numbers Kris Bryant posted, and then to hear he wasn’t going to join the club with September call-ups. Now as we shift gears to the off-season, Bryant will be part of spring training, but there’s no guarantee he breaks camp with the Major League team.
But he plans to do everything in his power to force the front office to make a call sooner than later.
"“It’s up to the guys in charge,” Bryant said Wednesday night before accepting an award as the Cubs’ minor league player of the year. “I’ve always said my job is to make it hard on them. And I think I’ve done that this year. And that’s all I’m going to do for the rest of my career. So I’ll go out there in spring training and give it all I got.” h/t Mark Gonzalez, Chicago Tribune"
To some, it would seem like a no-brainer to start Bryant on the big league squad. But it’s not simply about his numbers. There are so many variables affecting the decision.
The first, his experience. It’s easy to forget with the staggering numbers he posted, this was his first full-season of professional baseball. The progress has been phenomenal, and while his overall game isn’t perfect, it’s hard to find many holes. There was never plan to rush Bryant, or any other of the highly touted prospects through. But you can’t leave them down just for the sake of following a timeline if the player appears ready.
Another factor is starting his major league service time clock. If the Cubs wait to bring Bryant for about a month, they keep him under team control for a bit longer. Everyone is very aware of this, but it’s not often listed as a reason. The Cubs have claimed it won’t be a reason.
More from Chicago Cubs Prospects
- Where’s the love for Cubs prospect Matt Mervis?
- Cubs: Where Luis Devers ranks among team’s pitching prospects
- Cubs Minors: Jordan Nwogu had himself a week to remember
- Cubs: Jeremiah Estrada has the makings of a big league closer
- Top Cubs prospect Pete Crow-Armstrong is swinging a hot stick
One of the final arguments is that Bryant doesn’t necessarily have a defensive home. The Cubs haven’t penciled him in as a third baseman yet. He’ll get work in the off-season in the outfield, and likely more of the same in the spring.
By all accounts, Bryant is the real deal. He’s succeeded at every level, and his promotion is not if, but when. As far as him ‘forcing the issue’, I do issue a cautionary tale.
Entering spring training in 2010, the Cubs had a young prospect they were high on–not of the talent of Bryant–but promising. That young man was Tyler Colvin.
At the time, the Cubs didn’t really have an open roster spot to be battled for in the spring, especially in the outfield. But Colvin put on a performance at camp, that in essence left them no choice but to give him a roster spot. While he did hit 20 home runs that season, it was often clear that he wasn’t ready for the show yet.
Now, Colvin wasn’t what Bryant is. But there’s no reason to assume he has to break camp with the Cubs. I’m excited to. I can’t stress that enough. But the thought of waiting a month for Bryant, I think it’s worth it.