Chicago Cubs: Struggling to find consistency
If you ask Kris Bryant, he’ll undoubtedly acknowledge his major inconsistencies this past season. But it’s not all doom and gloom. The good news? It’s the first time in his young career he’s struggled like this, truly battling to keep his head above water.
Through May, Bryant was arguably en route to the best season of his career. But then, the script flipped and injuries took center stage.
Bryant was hit in the head in an early season matchup against the Colorado Rockies. Then, midway through the regular season, Bryant hit the disabled list with shoulder inflammation, causing him to miss the entirety of August. Finally, Bryant was hit on the hand by a pitch, causing him to miss another game.
Playing in only 102 games this season, Bryant could not find the consistency he hoped for, struggling on the power front mainly, finishing with just 13 home runs and a career-low .460 slugging percentage. His strikeouts increased too, as he reached his highest strikeout percentage since his rookie season in 2015.
Bryant saw an increase in his soft contact percentage as well, moving from 14.8 to 18.9 percent. His hard contact percentage dropped, albeit slightly, presenting a further challenge on that power front. The 2016 National League MVP did see an increase in the amount of split-fingered fastballs he was thrown, seeing a major decrease in his runs above average when seeing that pitch. He also struggled mightily seeing curveballs this past season, as his overall runs above average decreased in a big way.
Finally, Bryant saw a decrease in his overall contact percentage, both inside the strike zone as well as outside. His swinging strike rate? Yep, that was up, too. To say the least, it wasn’t the ideal season for Kris Bryant or Chicago Cubs fans.