Kris Bryant exited today’s game after the fifth inning, but before he was done for the day, he did stuff:
Note that this is a legitimate pitcher in Felix Hernandez! Bryant hit another homer later and the response across the Cubs universe was pretty strong. Mostly, it hinged on whether the Chicago Cubs would now think about letting him start the season on the big league club. I’m still going to say no, but boy is he making this hard!
What are the Cubs going to do to, um, make sure Bryant gets some extra seasoning in Iowa before he’s really ready for the Show? Well…
Fan Interaction Training
He’s already pretty good at this:
This might take a while. pic.twitter.com/gpBw2YqgIH
— Jesse Rogers (@ESPNChiCubs) March 21, 2015
And there’s the awesome thing he did for a young fan in another game. Imagine what a few more weeks of low-impact autograph and fan interaction training could do to his major league signing/schmoozing game!
Agent Narrative Training
Kris Bryant is a nice young man, and quite confident and honest from what I can tell. So when he says stuff like this, you have to take notice:
Said Bryant: “I’ve said all along, I’m playing with a chip on my shoulder and at the same time, having fun. You can’t beat baseball right now — the sun shining. Hopefully, we get the win today.”
Previously, Bryant had said he had full confidence and respect in the front office and in Cubs owner Tom Ricketts. This quote seems a bit uncharacteristic and antagonistic, and has a hint of Scott Boras media coaching thrown in. A few extra weeks of Boras coaching could make for some very good sound bytes, and give Bryant more experience in front of media folks searching for a #narrative!
Defense and Stuff
Bryant made a few nice plays at the hot corner today, and at some point roved into short right field on a shift against Logan Morrison. He’s probably going to need more reps at third base to supplant the, um, “already established” Mike Olt and Tommy La Stella. He will also get some actual outfield work in, not just as a rover:
Bryant anticipates working in the outfield shortly — Mark Gonzales (@MDGonzales) March 21, 2015
This is actually likely the most legitimate reason to season Bryant for a few weeks. There are only two weeks left in the Cactus League season, and there are only so many games and instructs you can get in. Since Bryant hasn’t played outfield in the minors yet, and hasn’t seen the outfield in a game situation yet this spring, it makes sense to give him more reps and to ensure that he can shuttle effectively between the two positions. This will allow him to spell Mike Olt or whoever’s at third, or to render a left field platoon unnecessary. It’s hard to see a guy learning to play the position in such a short period of time when he hasn’t done it professionally yet, especially in the funky outfield of Wrigley, but maybe Bryant is a quick study…maybe not.
He’s not hitting the ball far enough…
As you can see in the video above, he only hit the ball 30 feet into the stands and not way out of the park. Given the wind blowing in at Wrigley during April, Kris is going to have to show he can blast the ball out of Arizona to ensure that he can conquer the wind factor in Chicago. Maybe he’ll get some more power practice at Iowa.
Well see, Kris, we want to keep you in our organization for seven years instead of just six, and since the CBA lets us do just that…
Oh wait, shit, you can’t say that in public, Theo!