Many of the mock drafts had the Chicago Cubs picking a polished college arm with the second overall selection in the 2013 MLB First-Year Player Draft. With a pair of highly touted right handers in Stanford’s Mark Appel and Oklahoma’s Jonathan Gray, it was a safe assumption that the Cubs would be thrilled with either hurler. They might have even been expecting to have both on the board when they picked after Appel had been passed-over by the Astros a year ago.
Instead, Houston scooped up Appel and the Cubs caught many by surprise with the pick of University of San Diego third baseman Kris Bryant.
Bryant is an elite power bat, out-homering many entire NCAA Division I teams with his 31 long balls during the 2013 campaign. At 6’5″ and already 215 lbs, there are certainly concerns over whether or not Bryant will stick at third or will ultimately have to move off the position. That doesn’t necessarily mean he’ll have to shift across the diamond, however. Bryant has enough athleticism to handle a corner outfield position.
Bryant is regarded as having a strong throwing arm, but might project better as a left fielder than he would in right. Regardless, his quality approach at the plate should lead to an above-average hit tool to couple with potentially 80-grade power. Bryant will have to dedicate himself to his physique to give the Cubs options on where to play him going forward because his bat could get him to the big leagues in a hurry, but it won’t do him much good if he’s stuck at first base behind Anthony Rizzo.