Chicago Cubs legend Kris Bryant reflects on making history in 2016

Washington Nationals v Colorado Rockies
Washington Nationals v Colorado Rockies / Dustin Bradford/GettyImages

Former Chicago Cubs third baseman and 2016 National League MVP Kris Bryant is healthy with the Colorado Rockies to begin the 2023 season and is off to his standard start to the season. Bryant is slashing .300/.378/.375 through his first 45 plate appearances this season.

Bryant was limited to 42 games during his first season with the Rockies in 2022 and that has become a theme for the former Cubs' phenom since being traded at the 2021 Major League Baseball trade deadline to the San Francisco Giants. Bryant is looking to find the success that he had once achieved with the Cubs and in a conversation, the former National League Rookie of the Year told Kevin Henry of FanSided how success is evaluated differently now.

"“Now we’re kind of shifting to where you’re only successful if your sabermetrics say you are, which is absolutely insane to me,” Bryant told me when I asked him to define what success at the plate looked like in today’s game.""

Kris Bryant via FanSided

It is an interesting revelation for Bryant in his awareness that what defines success in Major League Baseball has changed. However, it is also worth noting that it is those sabermetrics that proves just how successful Bryant's run was with the Cubs. The only time that Bryant's wRC+ fell below 120 with the Cubs was during the pandemic-shortened 2020 season. Other than the 2020 season, Bryant has been a model of success for what modern offensive metrics value.

For Bryant, the greatest success of his professional baseball career may have already happened as he recorded the final out in Game 7 of the World Series for the Cubs against the then-Cleveland Indians.

"“I was just trying to concentrate as much as I can and thinking, ‘Don’t mess this up’ because those were some of the most stressful moments I’ve had in baseball,” Bryant recalled about that fateful throw. “But looking back on it, obviously I can totally smile on it. It’s a pretty iconic moment in my career, and probably the biggest championship in sports history, so it’s pretty cool to be a part of it.”"

Kris Bryant via FanSided

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Even though more than a full season has passed since Bryant last wore a Cubs uniform, there still is an incomplete feeling in regard to his Cubs' tenure. Bryant had the making of being the superstar that remained with the Cubs for the duration of his career but circumstances played out otherwise. Regardless of what the future holds for Bryant, there is no question that he is already a Cubs legend.