The Chicago Cubs’ rookie phenom Kris Bryant has his ticket punched to a trip to the 2015 MLB All-Star game as a member of the National League squad to play for the right of home-field advantage in the World Series.
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The nomination may have caught some by surprise considering the impact that Bryant has made in such a short time with the Cubs, but what doesn’t come as a surprise is that Bryant will be participating in the home run derby.
The home run derby is really a showcase for the fans to celebrate the most popular moment in the game, the long ball. The format will be different from in years past. This year contestants are going head-to-head in a tournament-style format.
The Cubs rookie powerhouse has been matched up against a familiar face to Cubs fans – one who has haunted the Cubs and the fans more times than they care to remember – Albert Pujols.
While “King Albert” may not be the monster that he once was with the St. Louis Cardinals, he’s still a dangerous power hitter, but in my opinion, he will be outmatched in this format.
Bryant’s power numbers aren’t what many have expected with all the hype that surrounded him since he was drafted by the Chicago Cubs. Pitchers are not giving Bryant much of an opportunity to drive the ball over the wall, but when they do, he’s made those pitchers pay.
In this contest, he’ll have someone throwing batting practice over the plate for him to put on a show like no other.
Some players have in the past have put on some historic and memorable performances; this is Bryant’s turn on a national stage with all eyes on him to make a major impact in the game.
In 2008 Josh Hamilton jumped onto the national map with his record-setting 28 first round home runs, including 13 straight at one point in the round. In 2005, Bobby Abreu dominated the competition with at the time a record 24 first round homers and finished with a total of 41 in the competition; one more than Ivan Rodriguez and David Ortiz combined.
There is no doubt that Bryant can put on this kind of performance as well. If locked in and not feeling pressured to put on a showcase, he can get into a groove and just let his natural power do what it does best.
If he does this, Bryant will become not just a rookie anymore on the Chicago Cubs, he will become a household name and will go down in the archives of baseball history.