Chicago Cubs: MLB Network says Kris Bryant isn’t a Top 10 third baseman

(Photo by Quinn Harris/Getty Images)
(Photo by Quinn Harris/Getty Images) /
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Chicago Cubs
Kris Bryant / Chicago Cubs (Photo by Denis Poroy/Getty Images) /

Chicago Cubs: Bryant has a lot riding on the upcoming season

Kris Bryant knows that he’s far from the icon he was just a few short years ago. On the heels of winning Rookie of the Year and MVP while leading the Cubs to their first World Series in over a century, he was an icon – destined be enshrined with a flag of his own on a foul pole at Wrigley Field someday.

But after a lackluster, injury-plagued 2018 campaign and declining RBI totals since that illustrious 2016 season, he’s no longer viewed in the same light. Now let’s be clear. Evaluating a player’s offensive contributions using statistics like RBI is an antiquated way of thinking that we can all hope will soon die. That hasn’t stopped folks, though, from throwing around ‘overrated’ an awful lot when talking about Bryant.

He’s spent the majority of his at-bats in the number two hole in recent years. Why isn’t he driving in more runs? Well, probably because the Cubs have lacked a true leadoff hitter since, you guessed it – 2016.

Meanwhile, he’s averaged a .390 OBP over the last three years. He plays corner outfield spots when he’s not at third and when he’s been healthy, he’s one of the top run-scorers in the league. Would you like to see him putting up those stereotypical baseball numbers? Sure. But he’s done a lot of things right and the national media and Cubs fans alike aren’t seeing that.

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This is a huge season for Bryant. He’s just two years removed from free agency and Chicago needs to either A) see him raise his value as a trade chip or B) build a lineup around him worthy of competing for a division crown. Either way, everyone’s doubting him right now – and he’s got a chance to silence his critics in a big way this year.