Chicago Cubs: Think twice before you trade Kris Bryant this offseason

(Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
(Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images) /
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Chicago Cubs
(Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images) /

Chicago Cubs: Bryant poised to put up big numbers this year

Since following up that Rookie of the Year showing in 2015 with a World Series ring and National League MVP honors in 2016, there’s been a perceived drop-off in Bryant’s numbers – at least with many fans.

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Fro 2015-2016, the former first-rounder averaged 32 home runs, 111 RBI, 33 doubles, 104 runs and a .284/.377/.522 slash line. That all equates to a 141 OPS+. From 2017-2019, where injuries played a huge role in his performance, he averaged 24 home runs, 67 RBI, 34 doubles, 93 runs and a 284/.390/.511 line. That’s still good for a 133 OPS+.

If you look at these admittedly high-level numbers, Bryant hasn’t been that bad – not even close. He’s getting on base nearly 40 percent of the time and he’s averaging more doubles than he did in his first two years. The biggest problem? He’s not driving in runs. Why? Because he’s been hitting in the two spot – and the Cubs have lacked any semblance of a leadoff hitter since, you guessed it, 2017.

Steamers projects Bryant to have another excellent campaign in 2020. Here’s how it looks:

  • 150 G / 12.1% BB rate/ 31 home runs / 108 runs / .377 OBP

Despite some around the game complaining about Bryant’s defensive limitations, we’re talking about a well above average offensive player, capable of playing multiple positions, including both corner infield and outfield spots. Wonder why the Cubs have a reportedly astronomical asking price in talks for Bryant? That’s why.

Next. Let's talk about these Arenado trade rumors. dark

If the Cubs move on from their slugging third baseman, it means they got an offer they couldn’t refuse. Otherwise, Epstein is intelligent enough to understand the type of talent he’s got on his hands and what it could mean for his club – regardless of whether or not they’re able to extend Bryant past 2021.