As we were reminded again on Thursday, the future of Major League Baseball is in good hands.
On the American League side, 25-year-old Mike Trout won his second MVP award while securing at least a top-two finish in the balloting in each of his five MLB seasons. On the National League side, Chicago Cubs sensation Kris Bryant received 29 of 30 first-place votes to win the MVP, while continuing a run of success that has never been achieved before in baseball history.
We say baseball history, because Bryant’s incredible run actually started at the University of San Diego in 2013. It has since evolved into a run that is unprecedented and perhaps unlikely to ever be matched.
#Cubs Bryant is only player to win college player of the year, Minor League player of the year, top rookie and MVP in consecutive years
— Carrie Muskat (@CarrieMuskat) November 17, 2016
Take a moment to process that.
Kris Bryant of the Chicago Cubs is winning every major award there is to be won. (Getty Images)
In a span of four years, Kris Bryant has dominated and conquered basically every level of baseball there is, and he’s still only 24.
In 2013, Bryant won the Golden Spikes award and the Dick Howser Trophy, both of which are awarded to the top collegiate player. He was also named a Louisville Slugger First Team All-American and the College Baseball News National Player of the Year after leading the nation with 31 home runs. This all led to Bryant being selected No. 2 overall by the Cubs in that summer’s draft.
In 2014, Bryant was named Baseball America’s Minor League Player of the Year after hitting .325/.438/.661 with 43 home runs and 110 RBI in 138 games between Double A and Triple A.
In 2015, Bryant joined the Cubs in late April but still went on to unanimously win the NL Rookie of the Year award. He hit .275/.369/.488 with 26 homers and 99 RBI. He also earned an All-Star selection while helping the Cubs to the postseason for the first time since 2008.
In 2016, Bryant came one first-place vote short of unanimously winning the MVP. He hit .292/.385/.554 with 39 homers and 102 RBI. He was an All-Star, this time connecting for a home run against Chris Sale. Not to mention he led the Cubs back to the postseason and helped them win the World Series for the first time since 1908.
For further perspective of how incredible this run is, only Cal Ripken (1982-83), Ryan Howard (2005-06) and Dustin Pedroia (2007-08) had won Rookie of the Year and then the MVP in consecutive seasons before Bryant. However, none of them have won a Golden Spikes or MiLB Player of the Year award in consecutive years.
It’s difficult to imagine any single player in any sport having a more incredible four-year run than the one Kris Bryant is currently enjoying. We’d love to hear the argument for or against that being true, but any way you slice it, Bryant has already achieved elite status among his peers.
Now the only question is: What’s next?
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