Players from the 2013 draft class are not supposed to reach the majors in 2014. However, 22-year-old Kris Bryant looks like an exception to that rule. Yes, he was only in rookie ball one year ago, but that should not stop the power-hitting prospect from contributing to the Cubs this season. Kris Bryant’s time is now.
Aside from seven at-bats in the Arizona Fall League, Bryant has always been younger than the average player at each of his stops in the minor leagues. In fact, this year, where he’s had his most professional success, he’s been 3.4 years younger than the average ballplayer in Double and Triple-A. Bryant remains unfazed by the competition despite his relative youth. Over his two-year minor league career (162 games), Bryant has hit .334, with 49 home runs, 48 doubles, a .430 OBP, and an eye-popping 1.110 OPS. In the new power-starved MLB, who couldn’t use those monstrous numbers at the hot corner? Kris Bryant has nothing left to prove in the minors: it’s time to test his ability at the highest level.
Theoretically, It would make some sense leaving a young player like Bryant, Keith Law’s number one overall prospect in baseball, in Triple-A to get some more seasoning if the Cubs had a veteran handling the third base job adequately. After all, Bryant has played less than two full minor league seasons. However, that is not the case. Chicago Cubs’ third baseman have struggled in 2014, hitting only .208 and amassing 145 strikeouts, both the worst marks on the team by far. While they have slugged 20 home runs, Bryant’s season total of 49 bombs easily doubles that of the Cubs’ third sackers. Not to mention Bryant has never hit lower than .307 in his short professional career. Kris Bryant’s numbers and prospect ranking demonstrate that he is ready for the show.
When a player as high caliber as Bryant rakes at the minor league levels, it’s more than just a mirage. While the Cubs may have thought Bryant needed more time to develop when he was drafted, that clearly isn’t the case. Now is the time for the future star to obtain valuable big-league experience at a young age. A major league call-up gives Bryant a chance to learn what he needs to master in order to succeed in 2015 and beyond. He already understands how to handle minor league pitching; his numbers speak to that. Kris Bryant is ready for a challenge. Kris Bryant is ready for the major leagues.