Let’s be honest. You don’t care about yesterday’s game. Two bad teams played, and the slightly less bad team won. Castro finished a triple short of the cycle, and the rest of the team sucked (as a team, they drew 0 walks). Who cares.
Instead, I’m going to try to describe how awesome Kris Bryant is.
I normally hate the Player A vs. Player B comparisons, but I think this one is apt.
Player A: .537 wOBA, 235 wRC+, 73 HR
Player B: .513 wOBA, 226 wRC+, 55 HR
Player A, of course, is Barry Bonds in his record-setting season. Player B is Kris Bryant extrapolated over 162 games.
Kris Bryant has played 118 games in his professional career. In those 118 games, he’s…hit 38 HR. His OPS is right at 1.150. His ISO is at .350. He is bananas.
Every once in a while, I tease Sahadev Sharma, because he (probably rightly) believes that the Cubs are just waiting for Bryant to get 300 or so PA before calling him up. “Relax.” Sahadev says. Well, let’s just fill the remaining 31 PA with strikeouts, and see what Bryant’s line ends up at.
.267/.413/.642, 1.055 OPS
Do we really need to wait, Sahadev?
(His K% in this instance would be 33.7%, which is STILL lower than Mike Olt‘s and Junior Lake‘s K rate, for what it’s worth.)
The Southern League is rather poorly equipped to handle Kris Bryant’s talents. One of the really cool Barry Bonds stats is “the gap between Bonds and #2 is greater than the gap between #2 and #21.” Here’s my favorite one for Bonds:
You can’t do this stat for IBBs from 2001 to 2004. Bonds has 284, and the next highest in all of baseball was 92 (Vlad Guerrero). For just walks, Bonds had 755 in that span. #2 was 448, so it was a difference of 307, which makes the gap from #1 to #2 the same as the gap from #2 to #154 (John Vander Wal).
The difference between Kris Bryant’s wOBA and the next highest is the same as the difference between #2 and #38. For wRC+, it’s #39. For SLG, it’s #30. For OBP, it’s #18. For OPS, it’s #40.
Kris Bryant leads the Southern League in both runs scored AND runs driven in. He’s tied for 11th in stolen bases.
Kris Bryant’s current MLE is as follows:
.285/.372/.546, 15 HR, 38 RBI, 29 BB, 76 K, .918 OPS
Bryant’s major league equivalent would be 16th in the majors for OPS (ahead of Rizzo, FWIW).
On a more serious note, I think it’s safe to assume that right now, Bryant is a better baseball player than Mike Olt. I can completely understand not wanting to promote Bryant directly from AA to MLB (though many teams do this, especially considering the lack of talent in AAA, and the PCL especially). However, there is just no reason to keep Bryant down now. What can he only work on in AA? Perhaps there’s an argument to be made that AA is a better place for him to learn plate discipline, or defense. I’d argue that the former isn’t really his problem and that the latter is just an indicator that Bryant’s future lies at RF (I’m not a scout, but I’ve seen enough Tennessee games this year to know that Bryant does not look comfortable at 3B). Even if AA is some magic place for him to work on his K rate, and for some reason he couldn’t work on that in AAA, why work on that at the expense of every other aspect of his game? Bryant has already seen the Southern League pitchers a second time, and his OPS against them went (and I’m spitballing here) up 100 points the second time around. The only real reason that Bryant is in AA now is service time issues. The Cubs will call Bryant up to AAA in a month (after he has 27-30 HR in AA and his OPS gets right around 1.200), and they’ll wait until Super Two in 2015 to finally call him up (the probability that Bryant signs a deal like Singleton did is zero; he’s already made millions, and has a superagent). That’s probably the smart financial move, but it is extremely frustrating.