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Put the finishing touches on your get-out-of-work excuse. Double-check the status of your baseball subscriptions.
Friday is Kris Bryant Day, and you'll want to savor every minute of it.
The Cubs will promote the much-touted Bryant in advance of their matinee home game against San Diego. First pitch is set for 1:20 pm CT; first Bryant at-bat should come before the top of the hour.
Who had April 17 in the Bryant Promotion Pool? Only everyone. It was well-speculated that Chicago had this target in mind, the perfect intersection of service-time reduction tied to a speedy promotion to the majors. Baseball's consensus top prospect had nothing else to prove in the bush leagues, it was just a matter of protecting one more season of potential club control.
Bryant was named Minor League Player of the Year last fall, after an absurd .325/.438/.661 tour through 138 games (43 homers, 15 steals). And if MLB named a Spring Training MVP, surely it would have been Bryant (.425, nine homers). Just to give everyone one extra layer of confidence, the 23-year-old hit .321 with three homers in seven Triple-A games earlier this month.
I don't have any Bryant shares in my leagues, regretfully. Although Bryant's Yahoo ADP of 99 sounds rather reasonable for a prospect with this much immediate power potential, he was more expensive in all of my pools. In my final two drafts, he went 51st and 77th, respectively. Bryant fetched $16 at the Tout Wars mixed league auction.
That all established, if I did own Bryant, I would at least take one quick survey of my other competitors, complete my due diligence. That's standard operating procedure when any hyped prospect gets to the big leagues – see if there's a ridiculous trade offer waiting for you, before the kid even gets his cleats muddy. It never hurts to take the temperature of the room. Baseball is hard. For every star prospect that demolishes everything from the start, a bunch of others will struggle – and many, obviously, will never make it.
Ah, you didn't come here for cold water. Let's get back to the excitement. When will Bryant hit his first home run? Can the Padres hold him down for a full weekend? Is it safe to walk on Waveland Avenue? What will Tommy LaSorda think of Bryant's performance?
This blog post wouldn't be complete without a Bryant seasonal projection, so here's something for you: .279-76-27-83-7. Share your crystal ball in the comments.
PS: We'd be remiss if we didn't check in with Andy Behrens on this one; he's our man on the ground in Chicago. Here's his Bryant take, composed and submitted independent of mine:
I know we're supposed to come up with a single set of numbers that expresses our expectations for Bryant, but that's obviously not how it really works with prospects. There's a range of possible outcomes here. He could hit .295 (unlikely) or he could hit .259 (also unlikely). The reason we all like Bryant is that he has uncommon power, and the next negative report on his work habits will be the first. It wouldn't be shocking if he hit 30 homers as a rookie; he hasn't yet struggled at any pro level. As prospects go, I think Bryant's floor is relatively high. Here's my best guess at his rest-of-season line: .276-79-26-84-9. - AB