Kris Bryant won’t be here in a Cubs uniform this season. President of baseball operations Theo Epstein already ruled out that idea. Knowing this front office, it would be a big surprise if Bryant made the 2015 Opening Day roster. But that won’t stop Bryant from being one of the franchise’s most talked-about players.
Bryant now has four home runs in five games at Triple-A Iowa after Monday’s 4-3 victory over Albuquerque, showing why he got drafted No. 2 overall last year, became the Arizona Fall League MVP and entered this season as Baseball America’s No. 8 overall prospect.
That’s generated so much hype about Bryant, whose four hits have been homers in the Pacific Coast League, where’s he’s gone 4-for-18 with eight strikeouts and two walks.
“He did a good job of taking away the anxiety and slowing himself down, because when you get anxious, everything speeds up,” Iowa hitting coach Brian Harper told The Des Moines Register.
“A kid like him or (Javier Baez), every time they step in the box, everybody expects them to hit a home run every time up.
“You get into that kind of rhythm of expectation that ‘I’ve got to hit a home run’ or whatever, and you get out of your game.”
The Cubs need Bryant to be a feel-good story, because they’ve invested so much in the idea of their farm system, and several well-regarded prospects have dealt with injuries and/or struggled to make adjustments this season, which may simply be part of the natural learning curve.
Bryant led the nation with 31 home runs at the University of San Diego last season. The third baseman put up Triple Crown numbers at Double-A Tennessee – .355 average, 22 homers and 58 RBI – before last week’s promotion.
“As an organization, and probably as a city, everybody’s happy that the guys that have been touted…are coming through the system and doing well,” Cubs manager Rick Renteria said. “They’re performing well. There might be a hiccup here or there, but everybody continues to chip away at their development.
“They make us better as an organization, and someday will make us all better as Cubs.”