Chicago Cubs History: Regaling the top five MVPs in franchise history
Chicago Cubs: Kris Bryant, 3B, 2016
Outside of maybe Javier Baez, there is no more exciting of a Cub than Kris Bryant. No slight on the captain, of course. Bryant slipped to the Cubs in the 2013 MLB Draft, following the Houston Astros selection of Mark Appel. Boy, was that a break!
Bryant was named the National League Rookie of the Year convincingly, in 2015, and followed it up by winning the MVP the following year. If it wasn’t already enough, Bryant was, of course, a significant contributor and catalyst to winning the World Series.
After hitting 26 bombs and posting a 6.1 WAR in his rookie season, Bryant followed it up with a 39 home run season, driving in a career-high 102 runs, while slashing .292/.385/.554 with a 148 wRC+ and a 7.9 WAR. Bryant improved the weakest part of his game in a single season, dropping his strikeout rate from 30.6 percent in his first year to 22 percent in his MVP winning year.
It ended up as an exciting first couple of years in the league for the former University of San Diego standout. The magic of the 2016 season all-encompassed by breaking the curse led Bryant down a special path. While he has not replicated those numbers since, mainly due to injury, that age-24 season will go down as one of the best in franchise history.