Chicago Cubs: More upside – Kris Bryant or Bryce Harper?


Who would you rather build a franchise with – Bryant or Harper? 

Let’s just assume you’ve been given a large sum of money, but there were strings attached to the money. With that money, you had to buy a new baseball team and start it from the ground up.

Major League Baseball decided to put you in the National League and you’re allowed to take one player who is already in the N.L. to build your franchise with – who would you take?

More from Cubbies Crib

Let’s make this a little easier, you have your choices narrowed down to two players: Chicago Cubs’ third baseman Kris Bryant or the Washington Nationals’ Bryce Harper. Now, who would you choose?

Harper is 22 years old, and won’t turn 23 until mid-October. He’s currently in his fourth year as a major league player and is a former ‘Rookie of the Year’ award winner where he posted a stat line of .270/.340/.477, 22 home runs, 59 RBI, 18 stolen bases, and nine triples. He played in 139 games and was named to the NL All-Star team.

Career numbers for Harper look like this: .278 batting average, 72 homers, 191 RBI, and 33 stolen bases while making two All-Star appearances.

Bryce has played all three outfield positions with the Nationals. With all the pluses that Harper has in his short career, there are a few negatives that come with him like most young players.

For one, he’s a bit outspoken – which isn’t a bad thing, but it can rub some teammates and coaches the wrong way. He plays the game hard, again that’s not a bad thing, but it has caused him to miss some time over the years.

The injuries seem to be the biggest concern with Harper. In the 2013 season, Harper collided into the outfield wall on several occasions which resulted in knee problems throughout the season that limited him to 118 games.

During 2014’s season, a head slide into third base caused him to tear ligaments in his thumb – which caused him to miss roughly nine weeks of the season. Harper only appeared in 100 games last year.

There is playing hard and then there is playing reckless; over time as he gets older, Harper will have to learn to pick his spots and play a bit smarter.

With Kris Bryant, there are limited numbers to compare major league experience to Harper. Bryant making his major league debut at the age of 23, which he turned in January. At six-foot-five inches tall and roughly 220 pounds, Bryant has an intimidating presence on the field – especially at the plate.

With his size, you expect to see big power numbers. He showed that in the minor leagues with 55 career homers and a 155 runs batted in with only 181 games played. What has come to a surprise, is Bryant’s speed on the running up the line. He has run out several infield ground balls so far this season.

Defensively, Bryant has quickly proved that he can play third in the majors. He possesses a great arm and good footwork considering his size although some still feel that he’ll end up in left field at some point, the fact that he can play either position does add to his value.

Character wise with Bryant, there are no issues what so ever being as polite and easy-going as there is in baseball and is all about business while improving his game. Not only is he polite, but Kris is very smart as well; he figures out what he has done wrong and quickly finds a way to fix it.

The numbers right now point to Harper because of his experience he has with his young age, but I see a lot more upside with Bryant. Harper’s wild side on the field that has caused him to miss games could cost him more games as his career goes on.

Really there isn’t a bad choice with either one, but if I had to pick, I’d pick Bryant. It is a safer pick and I think a smarter one considering how much he’s done in so little time and he only seems to be getting better with each game.

Next: Cubs: No rest for the weary