6/6 Cubs take Bryant
The Cubs hope they found an impact player in San Diego third baseman Kris Bryant, selected No. 2 overall pick in Thursday’s first round of the First-Year Player Draft.
Bryant, 21, was considered the best power college bat in the Draft. A Golden Spikes finalist, he led the nation in home runs, runs scored, walks and slugging percentage. In 62 games, he batted .329 with 31 home runs, 13 doubles, 80 runs, and 62 RBIs, and compiled a .820 slugging percentage. The Las Vegas native played was named to the West Coast Conference All-Academic team. A finance major, he posted a 3.2 GPA. He’s smart. Can the Cubs sign him? The team’s bonus pool is $10.5 million, with $6.7 million alloted for the first-round pick.
The Cubs had narrowed the candidates to a final four: Bryant, North Carolina third baseman Colin Moran, and pitchers Jonathan Gray of Oklahoma and Mark Appel of Stanford. Cubs manager Dale Sveum watched video of Bryant as well as the other top players. There was one quality they were looking for.
“They want the guy to be an impact player,” Sveum said of the Cubs front office, including Theo Epstein, president of baseball operations. “Nothing’s guaranteed, we all know that. The key to those high picks like that is it’s easy to say, ‘Make sure it’s an impact player.’ Whether it’s a position player or a pitcher, you want him to be an impact player in a couple years when you’re drafting that high.”
The Cubs hope they picked the right one. The last time they had the No. 2 pick overall was 2001 when the Cubs selected right-handed pitcher Mark Prior.