Results tagged ‘ Kris Bryant ’

Cubs Bryant claims NL Rookie of the Year Award


(Photo by Stephen Green)

Chicago Cubs third baseman Kris Bryant was unanimously named the National League Rookie of the Year by the Baseball Writers Association of America on Monday. Bryant received all 30 of the possible first-place votes for a total of 150 points. San Francisco’s Matt Duffy placed second with 70 points.

Bryant is the first player in franchise history to earn unanimous Rookie of the Year honors and the sixth player in team history to win overall, the first since catcher Geovany Soto in 2008. Outfielder Billy Williams (1961), infielder Ken Hubbs (1962), outfielder Jerome Walton (1989) and right-handed pitcher Kerry Wood (1998) join Bryant and Soto as Rookies of the Year in club history.

The 23-year-old Bryant was a 2015 National League All-Star and led all major league rookies in several offensive categories, including 26 home runs (tied), 99 RBI, 31 doubles and 87 runs scored while placing second with 77 walks.  Bryant is only the second player in major league history to reach those totals in homers, RBI, doubles, runs and walks in his rookie campaign, joining Boston’s Ted Williams in 1939. Bryant this year also set rookie franchise records in home runs, RBI, total bases (273) and extra-base hits (62).

Bryant became only the sixth rookie in franchise history to make the NL All-Star team, the first since both Soto and outfielder Kosuke Fukudome in 2008.  Bryant was the club’s first rookie infielder to make the squad since second baseman Don Johnson in 1944 and the club’s first 23-year-old or younger third baseman to make the team since 23-year-old Ron Santo in 1963.

Overall, Bryant batted .275 (154-for-559) with a .369 on-base percentage and a .488 slugging percentage in 151 games with the Cubs this season. He earned National League Rookie of the Month honors in both May and August, only the second Cubs rookie to earn multiple honors in a season (Soto, twice in 2008).

Award Watch: Why Bryant is deserving of Rookie of the Year honors

(Photo by Stephen Green)

A constant topic of conversation throughout the 2015 baseball season was the quantity of quality rookies scattered among major league rosters. The baseball world has seen its fair share of hot-commodity prospects make a splash in their debut seasons, but what made this season so unique was the sheer number of young position players immediately thrust into pivotal roles within their club.

In the National League alone, there were seven players who finished with an fWAR of 2.8 or better. Los Angeles’ Joc Pederson tied for the NL rookie lead with 26 home runs; Cubs’ infielder Addison Russell saved 19 runs according to Fangraph’s defensive runs saved (DRS) statistic; and the Phillies’ Odubel Herrera hit .297, the highest batting average of any first-year player with 500 plate appearances. None of those players were listed as finalists for Monday’s award. Instead, it was Giants second baseman Matt Duffy, Pirates infielder Jung Ho Kang and Cubs slugger Kris Bryant.

The balanced Duffy did a lot of everything for his Giants club, hitting .297/.334/.428 with 12 homers, driving in 77 runs, swiping 12 bases and serving as a solid defensive player. Kang, who came over from South Korea prior to his age-28 season, provided a little more power and a little less speed, but was essentially the same player offensively, finishing the year at .287/.355/.461 with 15 homers. Both players should serve as key pieces of their respective clubs for the next few seasons. That said, both will likely finish runner-up to fellow nominee Bryant.

Fangraphs calculated the Cubs third baseman to be worth 6.5 wins above replacement, which was not only 1.6 higher than the next-best offensive rookie total (Duffy), but the fourth-best mark for a first-year NL hitter since 1900. It trails only perennial All-Star Dick Allen’s 1964 mark of 8.2 and a pair of eventual Hall of Famers in Mike Piazza (7.4 in 1993) and Albert Pujols (7.2 in 2001).

Bryant entered the 2015 season with more hype than any offensive player since Bryce Harper in 2012. Upon arrival, opposing pitchers approached the 23-year-old as if he’d been around the league for a decade, cautiously keeping balls away and in the dirt. As a result, it took 21 big league games for fans to finally see the prospect with an uncanny knack for driving the ball out of the park hit his first home run. But what took place in the 20 games prior demonstrated Bryant’s plate discipline, as he kicked off his pro career with an .411 on-base percentage, largely behind his 17 walks.

When the home runs started coming, however, they didn’t stop. Bryant wrapped up the season with 26 homers, a .378 on-base percentage, 99 RBI, 87 runs scored and 31 doubles; all best among NL rookies. His 77 bases on balls trailed only Pederson for the rookie lead.

The All-Star also demonstrated his ability push his way through personal slumps. After a tough July that saw him go .168/.270/.368 with four homers, he bounced back to hit .323/.400/.567 with 12 homers on the rest of the season.

Aside from his home run total, which tied him for 11th in the NL, the slugger thrust himself into the league’s elite group of power bats. His .488 slugging percentage and .213 isolated power percentage (ISO)—a statistic that indicates the number of extra bases a player averages per at-bat—were good for 12th.

Weighted runs created is a statistic designed to interpret an individual’s effort and quantify it into runs contributed to his team. Bryant managed to compile a wRC of 103, which ranked ninth in the NL and was a shade below Fangraphs’ estimated mark for excellence (105). His total is about 30 points better than the league-average mark.

There were other facets of Bryant’s game that quietly made him the Rookie of the Year favorite in 2015. Despite his 6-foot-5 frame, manager Joe Maddon regarded the young player as one of the best baserunners on the team. In addition to swiping 13 bases and only getting caught four times, Fangraphs’ ultimate base running (UBR)—a statistic that values base advancement and puts it into the value of runs—estimated Bryant’s heads-up approach was good for 3.5 runs, third among all NL players.

The big question mark entering the season (aside from when Bryant will come up) was where he’ll wind up playing defensively. Given his height, many believed it would be detrimental for Bryant to continue his career at third base. Balls get on defenders quicker there, and it can be more difficult for taller players to get down in time. But he managed to hold his own at the hot corner, finishing with an above-average 3 defensive runs saved despite 17 errors.

What was also exciting about his defense was his willingness and ability to play wherever he was needed. Seven games into his major league career, he was thrust into a start at center field, a spot he hadn’t played since college. In total, he had 98 errorless innings in the outfield, where he could see increased time moving forward.

The 2015 rookie class was one for the ages and one that will likely include All-Stars and award winners for years to come. But based on the 2015 season, nobody stands to receive more All-Star nods and award nominations moving forward than Bryant.

—Phil Barnes

Bryant named NL Rookie of the Month for May


Photo by Stephen Green

Major League Baseball announced on Wednesday that Cubs third baseman Kris Bryant has been named the National League Rookie of the Month for May.

Bryant, 23, led major league rookies with 22 RBI during the month, and his seven home runs ranked second. He is the first Cubs rookie to record at least 22 RBI in the month of May since Bob Speake had 29 RBI in 1955 and Ernie Banks had 27 RBI in 1954. All told, Bryant hit .265 (27-for-102) with two doubles, a triple, seven homers, 22 RBI, 20 runs scored, 16 walks, three stolen bases, a .369 on-base percentage and a .510 slugging percentage last month.

The Cubs first-round selection and second-overall pick in the 2013 draft, Bryant is batting .273 (42-for-154) with seven homers, seven doubles, one triple, 33 RBI, 28 runs scored and 27 walks in 42 games since making his big league debut on April 17. The right-handed batter recorded a 12-game hitting streak from May 11-23, in which he hit .349 with a 1.108 OPS. The 12-game streak tied fellow rookie Addison Russell for the longest by a Cub this season and is tied for the longest by a Cubs rookie since Jerome Walton’s 30-game hitting streak in 1989.

Bryant enters tonight tied for eighth in the NL in walks and ranks 13th in the NL in RBI. Additionally, he leads all rookies in RBI and on-base percentage (.387) and ranks among the top five NL rookies in batting average, home runs, runs scored, hits, total bases (72), walks, steals (5) and slugging (.468).

Cubs Minor League Recap: 4/15/15

Iowa captured a win in New Orleans, and Tennessee was victorious in its home opener Friday. South Bend was on the losing end of a one-run contest, while Myrtle Beach was rained out. Here are some notes from yesterday’s minor league action:

Iowa Cubs (4-3)
Third Place (-1.5)

Third baseman Kris Bryant (.321) crushed his third homer of the season and drove in his 10th RBI, helping the I-Cubs to a 10-7 victory at New Orleans. The second game of the doubleheader was rained out.

  • 2B Addison Russell (.355) went 3-for-4 with a double, three RBI and two runs scored. He has brought in a run in three of the last four games.
  • CF Junior Lake (.250) went 2-for-2 with a double and a run scored.
  • RF Rubi Silva (.263) went 2-for-4 with a sixth inning, run-scoring double.
  • 1B Jonathan Mota (.500) went 2-for-3, driving in a run and scoring twice. He is 7-for-12 with four runs in his last four games.

Tennessee Smokies (4-2)
Second Place (-1.0)

Tennessee topped Pensacola 5-4 in its home opener. Three Smokies players had multi-hit games.

  • C Willson Contreras (.500) went 2-for-4 with a double and scored once. This is his third consecutive multi-hit game.
  • 2B Stephen Bruno (.389) went 2-for-4 with an RBI, a stolen base and a run scored.
  • 1B Dan Vogelbach (.476) went 2-for-3, walked once and scored once. He is 7-for-11 with three runs
    in his last three appearances.
  • RHP Michael Jensen (0.00) earned the win, pitching 2.0 shutout innings, giving up two hits and
    fanning two batters.

South Bend Cubs (3-5)
Sixth Place (-4.0)

South Bend got out to an early lead with a two-run homer from 3B Jesse Hodges (.207) in the second inning, but Fort Wayne rallied in the eighth, topping the Cubs 7-6 in extras.

  • C Cael Brockmeyer (.423) had his third multi-hit game of the season, walked once and scored twice. He has a four-game hitting streak.
  • 2B Jason Vosler (.304) went 2-for-4, hit a double and scored once.
  • LF Charcer Burks (.296) went 3-for-4 and plated one.
  • CF Trey Martin (.290) had his third consecutive multi-hit game.
  • RHP Jeremy Null (1.64) tossed a quality start, giving up two earned runs off seven hits and fanning six batters.

Cubs bring up Kris Bryant; activate Chris Denorfia from DL

Bryant_Kris_Horiz.JPGThe Chicago Cubs today selected the contract of infielder Kris Bryant from Triple-A Iowa and activated outfielder Chris Denorfia off of the 15-day disabled list. Infielder Mike Olt was placed on the 15-day disabled list (retroactive to April 15) with a hairline fracture in his right wrist, and right-handed pitcher Neil Ramirez was placed on the 15-day disabled list (retroactive to April 16) with right shoulder inflammation.

Bryant, who will wear uniform number 17, and Denorfia will be available for the Cubs this afternoon when they begin a three-game series against the San Diego Padres at Wrigley Field.

Bryant, 23, joins the Cubs after hitting .321 (9-for-28) with three homers and 10 RBI in seven games with Iowa. He was Chicago’s first-round pick in the 2013 Draft (second overall) and entered 2015 ranked as the No. 1 prospect in all of baseball by Baseball America. He earned 2014 Minor League Player of the Year honors from Baseball America, USA Today and the Cubs after hitting .325 and leading the minors with 43 homers, 78 extra-base hits, 325 total bases, a .661 slugging mark and a 1.098 OPS, while ranking third with 110 RBI between Double-A Tennessee and Iowa.

After being selected by the Cubs out of the University of San Diego, Bryant combined to hit .336 with 14 doubles, two triples and nine homers in 36 games across three minor league levels that summer, culminating with a 2013 Florida State League Championship and 2013 Arizona Fall League Joe Black MVP honors after leading the league with six homers, a .457 slugging percentage and 56 total bases.

Bryant began the 2014 campaign with his first stop at Double-A and batted .355 with 22 homers and 58 RBI in 68 games with Tennessee to earn a spot on the Southern League All-Star team and a promotion to Triple-A on June 19, just a little more than a year after he was drafted. He batted .295 with 21 homers and 52 RBI in 70 games with Iowa. Bryant also started at third base for the U.S. Team at the All-Star Futures game in Minnesota. Overall, he has turned in a .327 batting average with 55 homers and 152 RBI in 181 minor league games.

As a junior at San Diego, the 6-foot-5, 215-pound Bryant won the 2013 USA Baseball Golden Spikes Award, was the Baseball America Player of the Year, the 2013 Collegiate Baseball National Player of the Year and the 2013 Louisville Slugger National Player of the Year. Bryant is a native of Las Vegas and a graduate of Bonanza High School.

Denorfia, 34, began the season on the 15-day disabled list due to a mild left hamstring strain. The 6-foot-1, 185-pounder split the 2014 campaign between San Diego and Seattle and combined to bat .230 with 12 doubles and three homers in 121 games. He played in two rehab games for Single-A Myrtle Beach, going 1-for-3 with a double.

Overall, Denorfia is a career .272 hitter in 705 games covering all or part of nine seasons with Cincinnati (2005-06), Oakland (2008-09), San Diego (2010-14) and Seattle (2014). He has averaged 21 doubles, four triples, nine homers and 13 stolen bases per 162 games played while turning in a career .331 on-base percentage and a .394 slugging mark.  Denorfia has played 352 big league games in right field, 248 games in left field and 164 games in center field.

Olt, 26, is hitting .133 (2-for-15) with one homer and one RBI in six games for the Cubs this season.

Cubscast Mesa: No Average Joe, Impressions of Joe Maddon

This spring, we talked to Cubs players and personnel about everything from their goals for the season to the best prank they’ve ever pulled. With the official Cactus League season wrapping up Wednesday, we round out our spring video series by looking at what the Cubs are getting in new leader Joe Maddon. The 61-year-old skipper has a unique way of relating to players and keeping the clubhouse loose, from having a DJ play on the practice field to wearing old-school coaching shorts during workouts.

And make sure you check out all the other videos from our Spring Training series:

Cubscast Mesa: Spring sit-down with manager Joe Maddon
Cubscast Mesa: The Lighter Side, If I weren’t a ballplayer …
Cubscast Mesa: Checking in with the 2015 Cubs coaching staff
Cubscast Mesa: The Lighter Side, If I could have one talent or superpower
Cubscast Mesa: The Cubs are setting a positive tone in camp
Cubscast Mesa: The Lighter Side, What the Cubs are watching on TV
Cubscast Mesa: The next wave of Cubs talent
Cubscast Mesa: The Lighter Side, The best thing I did this offseason
Cubscast Mesa: Goals for the 2015 season
Cubscast Mesa: The Lighter Side, The best clubhouse prank I’ve ever seen

Cubs reduce spring roster; assign Baez, Bryant, Russell to minors

The Cubs have assigned three high-profile players to minor league camp, reducing their spring roster from 38 to 35 players.

Infielder Javier Baez has been optioned to Triple-A Iowa.

Two nonroster invitees have been assigned to minor league camp: infielders Kris Bryant and Addison Russell.

Chicago’s spring roster of 35 players consists of 18 pitchers (one nonroster invitee), four catchers (one nonroster invitee), six infielders (one nonroster invitee) and seven outfielders.

Cubscast Mesa: The Lighter Side, The best clubhouse prank I’ve ever seen

One of the best things about hanging around the Cubs is you get to know the players off the field. While the team is serious and focused about 2015, there are also some great personalities, and they like to cut loose. During Spring Training, we asked the guys to recall the best prank they have ever pulled—or seen—during their careers.

We’ll be posting videos and stories from Sloan Park all spring, so make sure you’re watching the blog and our Twitter account, @cubsvineline.

Check out the other videos from our Spring Training series:

Cubscast Mesa: Spring sit-down with manager Joe Maddon
Cubscast Mesa: The Lighter Side, If I weren’t a ballplayer …
Cubscast Mesa: Checking in with the 2015 Cubs coaching staff
Cubscast Mesa: The Lighter Side, If I could have one talent or superpower
Cubscast Mesa: The Cubs are setting a positive tone in camp
Cubscast Mesa: The Lighter Side, What the Cubs are watching on TV
Cubscast Mesa: The next wave of Cubs talent
Cubscast Mesa: The Lighter Side, The best thing I did this offseason
Cubscast Mesa: Goals for the 2015 season

Cubs Spring Training Lineup: 3/26/15


Eric Jokisch will start Thursday for the Cubs. (Photo by Stephen Green)

Cubs vs. Angels – Sloan Park
First Pitch: 6:05 CST
Cubs Starter: Eric Jokisch, LHP
Angels Starter: Jered Weaver, RHP
Broadcast: ESPN, Listen live at

1. Javier Baez, 2B
2. Addison Russell, SS
3. Kris Bryant, LF
4. Jorge Soler, RF
5. Anthony Rizzo, 1B
6. Mike Olt, 3B
7. Welington Castillo, C
8. Eric Jokisch, P
9. Matt Szczur, CF

Top-tier talent and depth give Cubs top farm system, according to


Not only is prospect Kyle Schwarber one of baseball’s best prospects, he’s also viewed as possessing the organization’s best hit tool. (Photo by Stephen Green)’s Prospect Watch unveiled its version of the top 100 minor leaguers and top farm systems in the game on Friday. It should come as little surprise that the Cubs had the top crop of minor leaguers, including six in the top 100: Kris Bryant (No. 2), Addison Russell (No. 5), Jorge Soler (No. 23), C.J. Edwards (No. 48), Kyle Schwarber (No. 50) and Albert Almora (No. 58).

The organization’s top 30 prospects were also unveiled on Friday. Just looking at the list should give fans an idea of the depth in the system. Plenty of solid players continue to add their names to the cue, only adding excitement for what’s coming down the line on the major league side.

Third baseman Kris Bryant is the most devastating power-hitting prospect in the game, and outfielder Jorge Soler (who homered off Mat Latos in his first big league at-bat) isn’t far behind. Neither is catcher/outfielder Kyle Schwarber. Addison Russell is a rare five-tool shortstop, and Gleyber Torres might be another. Outfielders Albert Almora and Billy McKinney could be the tablesetters for all those run producers.

Given the Cubs’ enviable depth in the farm system, fans have grown accustomed to seeing lists of this nature. But takes their list one step further by breaking down players by best tools, a unique way to better understand individual strengths.

Best tools
Players are graded on a 20-80 scouting scale for future tools — 20-30 is well below average, 40 is below average, 50 is average, 60 is above average and 70-80 is well above average.

Hit: Kyle Schwarber (60)
Power: Kris Bryant (80)
Run: Jacob Hannemann (65)
Arm: Jorge Soler (65)
Defense: Albert Almora (65)
Fastball: Duane Underwood (65)
Curveball: C.J. Edwards (60)
Slider: Jake Stinnett (60)
Changeup: Jen-Ho Tseng (55)
Control: Eric Jokisch (55)


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