The Chicago Cubs have some of the most highly-touted prospects in baseball, but arguably the biggest at the moment isn’t going to be donning a uniform for the North Siders any time soon.
That’s because Kris Bryant, who currently has 19 HR and 51 RBI for the Cubs’ Double-A affiliate in West Tennessee, likely won’t be called up by the team despite his torrid hitting. His OPS is a completely ludicrous 1.160, and his slash line (batting average, on-base percentage, slugging) is a remarkable .353/.460/.700. Those numbers are essentially video game numbers, but Bryant is proving that his prodigious power is all too real.
GM Jed Hoyer is excited about the numbers, calling them “fun to see,” but as Bruce Levine of CBS Chicago reported last night, it’s all but certain that Bryant will not get a big league call-up this season.
“We probably want to see him there a little longer,” Hoyer told Levine. “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.”
Levine also added this statement to the end of his piece:
“Sources indicated the Cubs want Bryant to hone his skills for an entire minor league season.”
This kind of attitude isn’t one that’s likely to sit well with the Cubs’ legion of doubters (you listening, Mr. Telander?), but if one is looking at it from a purely logical standpoint, then it’s obvious why the team would want to wait. They’re currently in last place in the NL Central, and calling Bryant up into this quagmire would put way too much pressure on him and could potentially hurt his development. Hoyer and Theo Epstein have both said that they feel like they rushed Anthony Rizzo to the big leagues, and they don’t want to repeat that mistake with Bryant.
It’s a completely understandable emotion, and one that makes strategic sense. Letting the youngster get more seasoning, especially in the field, is a smart idea, and in the end it will make him a more well-rounded player.