Chicago Cubs: Projecting Kris Bryant’s 2018 Season
Looking ahead to 2018
At age 25 and entering his fourth year, he begins his journey into potential prime years. There is no reason not to think he will keep getting better. This time he has a full offseason to rest and not constantly be in the celebratory spotlight.
His three years in the majors have seen positive trends in his approach at the plate regarding getting on base and striking out less. Since 2015 he has cut his K% from 30.6 to 19.2% and increased his OBP from .369 to .409. His consistency in hitting singles, doubles and triples compliments the increased walks very nicely. The main hope for 2018 is to see the power surge again.
By no means is 29 home runs and a .537 slugging sub-par, but Bryant is capable of doing better. Last year his flyball percentage went slightly down by about 3.4% and his hard contact (defined by Baseball Info Solutions) was also down by roughly 7.5%. It was easy to see last year that he did not drive as many pitches as he did in 2016 despite all the other improvements at the plate. But he can fix that, and he will work to fix it.
Next: Who gets the ball on Opening Day?
There are a number of ways to project a player, many of them mathematically. Just looking at his numbers and knowing his capability, there is every reason to think he can slash another .295/.400/.540+ line next year. If he gets his power back to his 2016 self, he has the capability of hitting 40+ home runs and maybe get his OPS to the 1.000 marker.
There is no reason not to think he won’t in the MVP race again if he is fully healthy in 2018.