Cubs: Now is not the time to worry about Kris Bryant

(Photo by Rob Leiter/MLB Photos via Getty Images)
(Photo by Rob Leiter/MLB Photos via Getty Images) /

Kris Bryant has been bitten by the injury bug for a lot of his Chicago Cubs career and it’s affected his production at the plate in big ways. He got hit in the face by a pitch and was never the same, and recently revealed he played through a much worse injury than initially thought last season.

Bryant is struggling this spring, after struggling for much of 2020. You wouldn’t be alone if you’re sitting there wondering if Bryant’s elite days are behind him. Spring training stats should be taken with a grain of salt, certainly, but keep in mind his spring training numbers last year were pretty similar to what he’s getting this year.

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His numbers last year in the shortened season were .206/.293/.351. The slugging percentage is the most concerning number, as much of his game is predicated on driving the ball. If he can’t do that he becomes way less dangerous at the plate.

Javier Baez had a similar problem in 2020, with his production down and slugging both way down. However he has been very outspoken that he needs in-game video to make the necessary tweaks to his swing for future at-bats.

Baez’s baseball IQ is off the charts, and we’ve seen it out at shortstop multiple times, so it would be smart to reserve judgement on Baez until the season starts and he is able to watch video.

Cubs: Can Kris Bryant put it all together?

We recently published a piece on Bryant getting back to the MVP form Cubs fans have come to love. He knows it’s in there, fans know it’s in there, but it seems like something is missing from his game these days.

It could be all the distractions from the trade rumors, which he finally admitted he just doesn’t care about anymore and that could help him moving forward in blocking out distractions. He just made another All-Star team two years ago, so he’s not far removed from solid play. But that doesn’t mean it’s wrong to be concerned after watching him struggle this spring.

The Cubs have been looking to regain the magic of 2016 since then and if Bryant can become the MVP-level presence he once was, that makes the lineup so much more dangerous. In 2016 he hit 39 home runs and drove in 102, with a .939 OPS – leading the Cubs to that coveted title.

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Bryant is prone to injury. There’s no disputing that at this point. Those injuries always seem to linger and it impacts his game in a big way. The trade rumors aren’t going away either – but he’ll have to learn to shut it out for good. If he can stay on the field and block out the distractions, he’s got the tools to lead this offense once again in 2021.