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Kris Bryant / Chicago Cubs
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Chicago Cubs Greatest Rookie Seasons of All-Time – #1: Kris Bryant (2015)

A lot of Cubs fans are still bitter about all the star players being traded away earlier this season, including Kris Bryant to the San Francisco Giants, but let’s not forget all the great things he did in a Cubs uniform.

It started in 2015, when the Cubs controversially called up the star prospect 12 games into the season to avoid adding a year to his service time. From there, Bryant went to work right away, setting the gold standard for Cubs rookie seasons.

He was called up on April 17 against the San Diego Padres and had a disappointing 0-for-4 debut, but soon after he started hitting the cover off the ball. In the end, Bryant batted .275 with 26 home runs (a Cubs rookie record, for now) and 99 RBI. He struck out a ton (199 times) but posted an impressive OPS of .858.

Bryant helped lead the team to a playoff berth and all the way to the National League Championship Series, where the Cubs lost to the New York Mets. Bryant didn’t hit particularly well in the postseason, collecting just six hits in nine games, but with his Rookie of the Year campaign he cemented himself as a Cubs star and would win NL MVP as he led the team to a championship just a year later.

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Unfortunately, Bryant’s career with the Cubs ended earlier this year when he was traded to the Giants, while the service time controversy put a cloud over his time with the team. Still, it was a great career with the Cubs, and we wish him well as he plays for the Giants this year and then becomes a free agent.