Four years ago, almost to the day, the Marlins promoted Giancarlo Stanton to the big league roster. At the time, Stanton was leading the Southern League in home runs, RBIs, walks, total bases and OPS. He was a power-hitting machine, unchallenged by Double-A pitching.
Today, another elite power prospect is destroying the same level, putting up numbers similar to Stanton's.
Kris Bryant is absolutely feasting at Tennessee, in an almost comical way. The third baseman has homered five times in his last nine games. He currently leads the Southern League in hits, runs, walks, total bases, OBP, slugging percentage and all three Triple Crown categories.
Here's a quick comparison of Bryant's current numbers and Stanton's partial-season performance in 2010:
Stanton – 240 PA, 42 R, 21 HR, 52 RBIs, 1 SB, 44 BB, 53 K, 140 TB, .313 AVG, 1.171 OPS
Bryant – 256 PA, 50 R, 19 HR, 51 RBIs, 7 SB, 37 BB, 69 K, 146 TB, .346 AVG, 1.135 OPS
These are obviously different players in different seasons, and Stanton was only 20 years old when he made the jump from Jacksonville to the majors. Bryant is now 22. No one is trying to tell you that Bryant and Stanton are equals.
Instead, we're simply pointing out that Bryant is doing bad, bad things. His year-to-date production has been ridiculous -- and last year's production wasn't so bad, either. Bryant was named the 2013 College Player of the Year, then he tore up Single-A (.336/.390/.688) and won the Arizona Fall League MVP. He hits opposite-field bombs, he hits 'em to center, and he can pull the ball a mile. Kid is a big hitter.
So when is Bryant coming up to the bigs?
Not any time soon, it seems. Check the recent comments from Cubs general manager Jed Hoyer:
"Looking at the numbers [Bryant] has put up in the month of May it is fun. We tell every young class to go dominate, and he is certainly doing that. ... We probably want to see him there a little longer. He has only spent two months at that level, and he has been skipping through the system without a lot of time at one level."
And so we wait.
To be clear, no one around here is questioning Chicago's development plan for Bryant (or for Javier Baez, or any other prospect). It's not as if the 2014 Cubs are poised to make a run at the postseason. The club is on pace to win just 65 games. Bryant has certainly forced a call-up conversation, but the team has no clear incentive to alter his timeline. And his next stop might very well be Des Moines, not Wrigley.
Defensively, Bryant is perhaps something less than stellar (10 errors so far), but it's not as if he's blocked by a wizard at the major league level. The hope here is that we'll see him in September. If it happens, Bryant should be an impact end-of-season bat for the head-to-head playoffs.