Cubs select power-hitting Bryant with second pick in MLB Draft

The Chicago Cubs tonight selected right-handed hitting third baseman Kris Bryant out of the University of San Diego with the second overall pick in the 2013 Major League Baseball First-Year Player Draft.

Bryant was recommended by area scout Alex Lontayo.

“Kris had an incredible season at San Diego, hitting for both power and average,” said Jason McLeod, Cubs vice president of scouting and player development. “He is a big, strong, athletic player, and we feel he has the attributes of someone who could fit into the middle of a lineup at the major league level. He has the ability to hit for average along with power to all parts of the park.”

Bryant, 20, hit .329 (75-for-228) with 80 runs scored, 13 doubles, three triples, 31 home runs and 62 RBI in 62 games for the Toreros this season, his junior year. His 31 home runs led the nation and are a USD single-season record. Bryant also led the nation in runs scored, walks (66) and slugging percentage (.820). His 54 career home runs in three years at USD are a school record.

Named a finalist for the 2013 USA Baseball Golden Spikes Award, the 6-foot-5, 215-pound Bryant also led the Toreros in total bases (187), while striking out just 44 times in 302 plate appearances. In addition, Bryant was named the Collegiate Baseball National Player of the Year to go along with All-Tournament Team honors at the West Coast Conference Championships. The Louisville Slugger National Player of the Year sported a .946 fielding percentage at third base (9 E/166 TC).

Baseball America listed Bryant as the top position prospect available in the draft, and the third-best overall. The publication ranks him as the top college power hitter available and third-best with regards to strike zone judgment.

In 2012, Bryant reached base safely in 53 of his 57 games and logged a .366 batting average (78-for-213). He led the team in RBI (57), home runs (14), runs scored (59), hits (79), walks (39), on-base percentage (.483) and slugging percentage (.671). Bryant earned All-Conference honors for the second-straight year, and was named to the WCC All-Academic Team after posting a 3.34 GPA. He was named WCC Co-Player and Co-Freshman of the Year in his first year at USD in 2011.

Originally from Las Vegas, Nev., Bryant graduated from Bonanza High School in Las Vegas. As a senior, he hit .489 with 22 home runs and 51 RBI en route to being named an AFLAC All-American. He was drafted by Toronto in the 18th round of the 2010 MLB June draft, but did not sign, electing to attend USD.

The 2013 Major League Baseball First-Year Player Draft continues this evening with the second round, in which the Cubs have pick No. 41. The draft continues tomorrow with rounds three-through-10 and concludes Saturday with rounds 11-through-40.

The Houston Astros selected Stanford pitcher Mark Appel with the first overall pick.

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