Nearing free agency, Cubs slugger Kris Bryant is ready to bounce back in 2021.
Like many of his other Cubs teammates, Kris Bryant had a down year in 2020. He did not look like the same guy that we have seen in years past. In just 34 games Bryant slashed .206/.293/.351 with only four home runs and 11 RBI. Those obviously aren’t the numbers we’ve seen the former MVP put up in the past.
Cubs manager David Ross gave Bryant the task of leading off, something he hadn’t done since college. It’s safe to say it did not work. Bryant struggled in the leadoff spot. In 16 games atop the order, he slashed just .177/.271/.323 with two home runs and four RBI. Just awful numbers out of the guy that you look to to set the table for the middle of the order hitters. Since 2016 and Dexter Fowler the Cubs haven’t had a true leadoff guy and it’s definitely hurt them.
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Bryant also battled injuries once again. The Chicago third baseman sustained a wrist injury in August that sent him to the 10-day IL. He also struggled with issues with his back, an elbow and his left oblique in 2020. It was just an all-around bad year for Bryant on the field.
The three-time All-Star saw his wRC+ nearly halved form the year prior. His walk rate dropped, strikeout rate climbed and he just never found any sort of rhythm at the dish.
Bryant has trade rumors swirling around it for what seems like nearly two years now. Heading into his final year of control and making a projected $18.6 million, he would be a prime trade candidate if not for the fact his trade value has never been lower. Of course, if he comes out swinging early next year, the team could definitely still move him ahead of the trade deadline, but that’s again totally contingent on him performing.
Heading into 2021 I fully expect Kris Bryant to get back to his old ways if he can stay healthy. An MVP-caliber player when he’s on the field at 100 percent, this is a player who has the ability to completely change the look and feel of this offense.