Kris Bryant is entering Tuesday night’s game against the Cleveland Indians with a .277/.362/.512 slash with a 138 wRC+, 13 home runs and an .875 OPS. Hard to complain about those numbers, however, it was just a few weeks ago when he was slashing .324/.406/.611 with an OPS over 1.000. June has been brutal for the Chicago Cubs offense in general, but Bryant’s struggles really stick out.
Chicago Cubs: Kris Bryant’s June in detail and what has gone wrong
In his first 17 games this month, Bryant is hitting just .123/.219/.193 with a wRC+ of 22. To say that is horrific would be an understatement. He would be the first one to tell you as much. To look into more detail, that is seven hits (two XBH) in 57 at-bats, six walks, 17 strikeouts and just three RBI. He has only two hits since the beginning of the Cardinals series on June 11.
His walk rate is about the same as May, the strikeout rate is 4.8 points higher, but the groundball percentage is WAY up. In June he’s pounding the ball on the ground 55 percent of the time and only hitting it in the air a quarter of the time. In May his fly ball rate was 36.5 percent, ironically the same as his ground ball rate. His line drive percentage has also dipped seven percent from 27 to 20 percent.
It is no wonder his BABIP dropped from .391 in May to .154 in June. Harder to convert balls in play into hits at those rates.
Chicago Cubs: What is the cause of the slump?
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It is worth noting that Bryant had made adjustments to his swing coming into 2021. It worked very well obviously in the first two months, but it could be that pitchers have adjusted themselves on how to pitch to him. Bryant might have to counter-adjust again. That is just baseball, a game of constant adjustments. Before the past few weeks, he had not had a lengthy slump yet, and it almost seemed inevitable he would go through a rough patch eventually.
There is one more thing to at least consider. While the whole month has not been good, he was hit on the hand with a pitch last week against the Mets. Not saying that is the cause, his slump began before that, but a potential slump can be prolonged with having a hand/wrist bothering someone. Especially being a power hitter and needing to drive the ball.
His approach at the plate has not been all that horrific. He can still draw some walks and work deep counts, he is just not hitting the ball well enough. Other players when they go into slumps tend to expand the zone and attack pitches they shouldn’t, and at least Bryant can still put together some decent ABs.
It could take a nice slump-busting game, or a few days to get out of it, time will tell. Just hope he is healthy going forward with no more nagging injuries. Regardless the Chicago Cubs need him to start hitting… same goes with pretty much everyone.