When the Chicago Cubs drafted Kris Bryant second overall in the 2013 MLB draft, he was fresh off of winning the Golden Spikes Award.
The Golden Spikes Award is given to the Most Outstanding College Player. The Cubs were drafting a key piece of their future. They knew the talent was there, but Bryant has exceeded everybody’s expectations so far.
Coming out of the University of San Diego, Bryant put up 32 home runs in that 2013 season. That power showed in his first full season in 2014, when he cracked 43 home runs. Bryant also has a keen eye at the plate, as he drew 86 walks in his first full pro season. His 2014 easily gave him the Minor League Player Of The Year award.
The 2015 season started off with controversy for Bryant. Some wondered whether sending him down to the minor leagues for the first week was the right move. The Cubs sent him down simply to get an extra year on his contract. Right now, it’s absolutely looking like the right move.
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Bryant had some flaws in his game last year. Mainly, his contact issues, as he was striking out at a very high clip, 30.6% last year. And, yet, he was still able to put up 26 home runs and 99 RBI, which are still fantastic numbers. In the offseason, Bryant tweaked his swing, trying to shorten it and take away some of the uppercut.
Boy has it paid off. Kris Bryant has elevated his game to MVP level this season. He currently has a .303/.395/.587 slash line. Oh, and don’t forget the .982 OPS.
His home run totals have increased, his strikeout rate is down by 10%, his overall numbers have increased all around the board. Bryant currently has 35 home runs with 89 RBI. He is certainly right in the thick of MVP talks, deservedly so.
Let’s not discount his defense, of course. Many questioned how good Bryant was defensively for his size, but he has played well above average defense. The remarkable thing is that he’s playing great defense at multiple positions! Third base, outfield, and
Third base, outfield, and occasionally he will play first base. Bryant is the total package, and can only get better from here. He will certainly be fun to watch for many years in Chicago.