Across the scope of this weekend, Kris Bryant has found himself in the spotlight. After having some fun at a division rivals expense, Bryant was at the helm of some comments surrounding the likes of free agent slugger Bryce Harper. All things considered, now is the time for Bryant to regain his leadership role for this franchise.
Last season, Kris Bryant dealt with adversity. It is a difficult thing to rehash because it was not the only thing which challenged the Cubs over the scope of the season. Thankfully, however, it was also the first time in Bryant’s young career where unintentional incidents created a void in his level of production.
First, let us be completely real and honest here. By statistical standards, Bryant did not have a bad season. It just was not the season Bryant nor Cubs fans envisioned. The glass half full optimist could argue Bryant still had a good season. He finished with a respectable 2.3 fWAR, a .359 wOBA, and a 125 wRC+, meaning he was above-average regardless of the lack in other areas.
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Many forget how midway through the first month of the season, Bryant took a nasty hit by pitch off the side of his helmet in a game in Colorado. It narrowly missed his left eye by a fraction, causing quite a scare. Then, Bryant missed a whopping 50 games after suffering a shoulder injury. Bryant finished with 102 games, the lowest mark in his career, slashing .272/.374/.460, a far cry of his former self.
The Cubs, as an organization, dealt with adversity last season. Outside as well as internal issues caused quite a challenging environment, marred by an early exit from the postseason. Now, moving into the new season, there is cautious optimism surrounding the team. For Bryant specifically, it is time for him to make his return and back those previous comments up with a mega season.