Chicago Cubs: Was Mark Prior the most hyped prospect in team history?
Chicago Cubs: The hype was unprecedented when it came to KB
When Theo Epstein’s front office selected Kris Bryant with the second overall pick in 2013, immediately, those who followed the draft knew the Cubs had something special.
More from Cubbies Crib
- Cubs should keep close eye on non-tender candidate Cody Bellinger
- Cubs starting pitching has been thriving on the North Side
- Make no mistake: the Cubs are very much about power hitters
- Cubs are giving pitcher Javier Assad a deserved shot
- Cubs: It’s time to start thinking about potential September call-ups
Chicago had searched for decades for an answer at third base. With the exception of Aramis Ramirez, no one had been worthy of the role filled for years by Hall of Famer and fan favorite Ron Santo. Bryant looked like the guy to finally serve as the heir to Santo and his legacy at the Friendly Confines.
Coming out of the University of San Diego, where he put up a 1.314 OPS in his final season en route to the Golden Spikes Award, the Las Vegas native didn’t miss a beat. After Baseball America ranked him as the eighth-best prospect in the game heading into 2014, he not only met the hype – he exceeded it, winning Minor League Baseball Player of the Year honors from both USA Today and BA.
As 2015 neared, he climbed the prospect rankings, clocking in as the best talent in all MiLB. After joining the Cubs in late April, Bryant helped lead the team to a surprising postseason run, coming within four games of the World Series in his rookie campaign. His 26-homer, 99-RBI performance – to go along with a .369 OBP – helped net him National League Rookie of the Year honors.
Obviously, Bryant accomplished a great deal more than Prior in his still-ongoing career. But the hype was palpable and fans, knowing Epstein had his eyes on bringing a title to Wrigleyville, clamored for Bryant in a way that had never been seen before. There’s little doubt Sparkles is the most-hyped prospect in Chicago Cubs history – and with good reason.