Kris Bryant, the second overall prospect of 2015, has seen much success at the Major League level throughout his first eight games.
For over a half-century, beginning in 1961, the Cubs have had only two permanent third baseman to display a combination of skilled hitting and gold-glove caliber play in the field; those two players being hall of famer Ron Santo and Aramis Ramirez. Now that Kris Bryant seems to be the next fixture in the Cubs lineup, that measly number of two can increase to three. After producing astrological offensive numbers in the Minor Leagues over the past year, Bryant has not stunted his growth since his debut, in fact, he has been able to persevere and live up to the hype that has surrounded him. Speaking of those Minor League statistics, Bryant took advantage of weak Minor League pitching en route to forty-three home runs, divided amongst Double-A and Triple-A baseball. His overall batting average was at a splendid .325 and his OPS (On-Base plus Slugging) was over 1.000, which is a feat that most Major Leaguers struggle to accomplish. Due to these astounding stats, coupled with the fact that he was considered to be one of the top prospects in baseball, Bryant took home the Minor League player of the year award and single-handedly inserted himself on the short-list to receive that elusive call-up to the show. In February of 2015, he was invited to Major League Spring Training where he led all of baseball with nine official home runs, along with two that were clobbered in split-squad games. Unfortunately, the Cubs decided to hold off on his debut for about half of April due to a free agency dispute that would occur down the road, yet us fans knew that it was only a matter of time before we saw Bryant join the likes of Starlin Castro and Anthony Rizzo on the Chicago Cubs. After a mediocre debut in which Bryant did not even record a hit, his bat went ablaze, raising his overall batting average to .379 and raising his OPS to 1.044. As a cleanup hitter, Bryant’s job is to consistently drive in runs and hit the ball out of the park once in a while. Although he is yet to hit his first Major League home run, he has driven in seven runs over his first eight games, stabilizing the heart of the Cubs batting order. Bryant also possesses versatility, as he has started games both at third base and in center field. He is the definition of a five-tool player and has the potential to easily hit 500 home runs and put himself in some elite company. Again, I know it has only been eight games, but this highly touted prospect out of San Diego State should be considered special and a reason why the Cubs will make it back to the playoffs in the near-future.