Results tagged ‘ Kris Bryant ’

1/26 Salutes to Mr. Cub

Just in case you missed it, some current Cubs, future Cubs and past Cubs shared their feelings about Ernie Banks on Twitter:

* Anthony Rizzo:

“Mr Cub. What you have done for the game of baseball the city of Chicago and everyone you have touched will never be forgotten. RIP”

* Kris Bryant:

“RIP Mr. Cub. What he accomplished on and off the field is truly amazing. I’m honored ot wear the same uniform as him. #LetsPlayTwo”

* Joe Maddon:

“Never met Ernie, but heavily feel the loss … uniquely lived life … will always wish I had … my sympathies to the Banks family”

* Justin Grimm:

“R.I.P. Mr. Cub Ernie Banks! It was a pleasure to shake the hand of a Hall of Famer and a wonderful man to have around the clubhouse!”

* Darnell McDonald:

“Mr. Cub had the ability to instantly make you feel like a lifelong friend when you met. HOF person. #ThankYou #Salute”

* John Baker:

“Talk about star struck, try walking by [Banks’] statue on your way to work, then shaking the hand of the man. #MrCub”

* Sammy Sosa

“I wanted to express my sincere condolences to the family and fans of #mrcub, the legendary, #ErnieBanks. He was the first African-American to play for the Chicago Cubs paving the way for many future baseball players like myself. Rest in peace. #chicagocubs”

1/19 Too early to put Bryant in lineup

With Luis Valbuena headed to Houston, that leaves an void at third base but Cubs GM Jed Hoyer says it’s too early to write Kris Bryant’s name in the lineup for Opening Day. Cubs fans are giddy at the prospect of Bryant, 23, the Minor League Player of the Year, playing at Wrigley Field. In his second season as a pro in 2014, Bryant batted .325 with 43 home runs and 110 RBIs at Double-A Tennessee and Triple-A Iowa. Hoyer said they didn’t deal Valbuena to make room for Bryant.

“It’s totally independent,” Hoyer said. “Kris’ development is independent of any move we made today. We have a number of guys who will be working at third [this spring].”

The list includes Mike Olt, Tommy La Stella, and possibly Arismendy Alcantara. Javier Baez also could get some playing time there, although he’s projected to start at second base for the Cubs. Baez was currently playing winter ball in Puerto Rico.

Bryant has moved up quickly in the Cubs system.

“When Kris is ready, when we think he’s ready to come up to the big leagues, we’ll make that decision but certainly trading Valbuena will not speed up that clock at all,” Hoyer said. “It’s all dependent on Kris.”

– Carrie Muskat

12/8 Winter meetings notebook

* Cubs GM Jed Hoyer said Monday they try to ignore the rapid-fire rumors generated at the Winter Meetings.

“We try to condition ourselves as much as we can, especially this week of all weeks, to ignore that,” Hoyer said. “You don’t know what’s information and what’s misinformation. I’d be lying to say we don’t read it because you do want to sift through it and see what’s going on. To rely on it or let your emotions go up and down based on what’s happening down [in the lobby] doesn’t make a lot of sense. We’ve all seen people be massively wrong on stuff like that.”

That didn’t stop others from talking about Jon Lester, including Athletics GM Billy Beane, who acquired the pitcher at the Trade Deadline.

“Like Arthur Miller being briefly married to Marilyn Monroe, that’s who we are,” Beane said. “We’re the Arthur Miller in Lester’s career.”

Lester has been the hot topic at the Winter Meetings and the left-hander could make a decision by Tuesday, which would allow the rest of baseball the opportunity to move on. Hoyer, though, didn’t think Lester was holding up any other transactions.

“People talk about that, but at the same time, there’s a lot of players available,” Hoyer said. “The idea that one or two or three people hold up a market, I don’t necessarily believe in that. … You’ve seen enough deals to indicate there’s not a logjam.”

* Think about it: The Cubs have reportedly signed Jason Hammel to a two-year contract on the same day the Athletics traded Jeff Samardzija to the White Sox. On July 4, the Cubs dealt Hammel and Samardzija to the A’s.

* Cubs prospect Kris Bryant was picking up more awards on Monday, capping his stellar 2014 season. Hoyer wasn’t worried that Bryant would not be motivated this offseason.

“He’s a guy, his work ethic, his make up is so good, I’m sure he’s going to build off what he did last year, which is what any competitor would do,” Hoyer said.

Expect to see Bryant in the outfield in Spring Training. Manager Joe Maddon likes versatile players and Anthony Rizzo is probably the only one on the Cubs roster who won’t be asked to play multiple positions.

“We’re lucky,” Hoyer said. “A lot of our guys can move around. … I think Joe does a really good job of convincing guys and explaining to guys why it’s beneficial. He had success with that in Tampa and I think he’ll have success with that with us.”

Bryant did play center field in college.

– Carrie Muskat

12/8 Bryant ready for 2015

On Monday, Kris Bryant picked up what he thinks was his last award for the 2014 season. It’s time to move on, he said, and hopefully that means a spot in the Cubs’ 2015 Opening Day lineup. Bryant was among those honored at a luncheon for top Minor League players, scouts and team personnel from 2014. The Cubs prospect led the Minors this past season with 43 home runs at Double-A Tennessee and Triple-A Iowa combined, batting .325 with 110 RBIs.

“This is perfect — I can put last season in the past and look forward to the future,” Bryant said Monday in San Diego prior to the luncheon. “It was a good season and a lot to build off of. I’m pretty confident. But it’s in the past now, and I have to get ready for next year.”

Next year could include a spot on the Cubs. The Cubs do have Luis Valbuena and Mike Olt as third base options but president of baseball operations Theo Epstein said Bryant, 22, will be a big part of next year’s team. The third baseman knows he’ll have to show up in Spring Training and earn the job.

“That’s definitely been a goal of mine to play Major League baseball,” Bryant said. “To hear that coming from [Epstein] is definitely an honor and something I’ve been working on my whole life. It doesn’t stop here. I don’t want to just play in the big leagues — I want to excel and be the best I can be. I’m looking forward to this season more than any season in the past.”

He built an indoor batting cage at his Las Vegas home, and started hitting about a week ago. His father has been throwing batting practice but Bryant also acquired a pitching machine.

“He doesn’t throw hard enough to simulate a 95 mile an hour fastball,” Bryant said of his dad.

After spending half of the 2014 season at Iowa, Bryant knows he’s one step away from the big leagues.

“One more step and I’m there,” he said. “[I’m going to] keep working hard and have a level head and stay humble — that’s a big part of what’s gotten me this far. That can’t change.”

– Carrie Muskat

9/17 Kris Bryant


Top prospect Kris Bryant meets with the media Wednesday at Wrigley Field prior to being honored as the Cubs’ Minor League Player of the Year.

9/17 Bryant, Tseng honored

Before batting practice Wednesday, some of the Cubs players saw top prospect Kris Bryant in one of the suites at Wrigley Field, and yelled at him to come down to join them. Not yet, but maybe next year. Bryant and Jen-Ho Tseng were honored Wednesday as the Cubs Minor League player and pitcher of the year, respectively. Bryant has been the focus since he was selected second overall in the 2013 First-Year Player Draft.

“I feel like I’ve been here the whole year and I haven’t played one game,” said Bryant, who was able to catch up with some of his Iowa teammates, including Logan Watkins, Mike Olt, Javier Baez and Rafael Lopez.

“I guess it’s bittersweet,” he said about being in a jacket and jeans and not in uniform. “It’s always been my dream to play in the big leagues and I hope for that day to come sometime.”

He could only watch as his Iowa teammates were promoted.

“It’s not up to me, it’s up to the guys in charge,” Bryant said. “I’ve always said my job is to make it hard on them and I think I did that this year, and that’s all I’m going to do the rest of my career.”

Since Iowa’s season ended, Bryant said he’s watched several Cubs games on television from his home in Las Vegas. He’s already been named the Minor League Player of the Year by Baseball America and USA Today. The Cubs want to see how the offseason goes before committing to him as the starting third baseman in 2015. Is Bryant prepared if he doesn’t make the big league roster on Opening Day next year?

“Yes,” he said. “I don’t think that will be a problem for me.”

Tseng, 19, went 6-1 with a 2.40 ERA in 19 games (17 starts) that spanned 105 innings with Class-A Kane County. He walked 15 batters and struck out 85, helping to lead the Cougars to a Minor League-best 91 wins and the Midwest League title. The righty, signed as a non-drafted free agent last year, allowed three or fewer runs in 16 of his 17 starts. His goal this season was to stay healthy, which he did. The right-hander was as eager to meet Bryant as some of the fans at Wrigley Field. Was Tseng ready to pitch on Wednesday?

“Yes,” he said, smiling.

– Carrie Muskat

9/15 Bryant Opening Day 3B? Not yet

Kris Bryant will be at Wrigley Field Wednesday but GM Jed Hoyer couldn’t guarantee that he’ll be the Cubs Opening Day third baseman. Bryant and Jen-Ho Tseng were named the Cubs organization’s Minor League Player and Pitcher of the Year, respectively. The pair will be honored prior to the Cubs game Wednesday against the Reds.

“It was obviously a no-brainer [to pick Bryant], but the nice thing is we had a lot of guys who played well in the Minors,” Hoyer said Monday. “In a different year, a bunch of guys would’ve had a gripe. When a guy wins Minor League Player of the Year, it sort of ends the voting.”

Cubs fans are eager to pencil in Bryant in the 2015 Opening Day lineup at third base. Hoyer and manager Rick Renteria both cautioned that it’s too early for that.

“He’ll come to Spring Training next year and we’ll see where he’s at,” Renteria said. “I’m not going to make that decision so far away from Spring Training. He’s obviously done a lot, and he’s well on his way to being here in the near future.”

“The numbers he put up were outstanding,” Hoyer said of Bryant. “Talk about being consistent all year, his slumps were really minor. He didn’t tire much, and if he was tired, he didn’t show it down the stretch. His Double-A and Triple-A numbers were fairly similar. He’s very mature and seems to know his swing and he’s a guy who doesn’t seem to get too down after a couple bad games.”

The Cubs do want Bryant to play some outfield to improve his versatility, but Hoyer said as of now, they consider him a third baseman.

– Carrie Muskat

9/15 Bryant, Tseng honored

Cubs fans will see Kris Bryant at Wrigley Field on Wednesday, but he won’t be in the lineup. Not yet. Bryant and Jen-Ho Tseng were named the Cubs organization’s Minor League Player and Pitcher of the Year, respectively. The pair will be honored prior to the Cubs game Wednesday against the Reds.

Bryant, 22, is the team’s No. 1 overall prospect (and No. 3 in baseball), according to’s Prospect Watch, and Tseng was ranked 14th. Bryant led all of Minor League baseball with 43 home runs, 78 extra-base hits, 325 total bases, .661 slugging percentage and 1.098 OPS. He posted those stats, plus a .325 batting average, 34 doubles, and 110 RBIs in 138 games between Double-A Tennessee and Triple-A Iowa this season. This year, the third baseman, who was the Cubs’ first-round pick in 2013, also was named Minor League Player of the Year by Baseball America and USA Today.

Tseng, 19, went 6-1 with a 2.40 ERA in 19 games (17 starts) that spanned 105 innings with Class-A Kane County. He walked 15 batters and struck out 85, helping to lead the Cougars to a Minor League-best 91 wins and the Midwest League title. The righty, signed as a non-drafted free agent last year, allowed three or fewer runs in 16 of his 17 starts.

9/2 Theo: Bryant can set his sights on big leagues

Kris Bryant finished his first full season in professional baseball with 43 home runs, most in the Minor Leagues, but was not called up when rosters expanded.

“I told him the other day, ‘You did everything you could possibly do as a first-year professional to impress and make us proud as an organization,'” the Cubs’ Theo Epstein said. “We’re just as proud with the way he handled himself off the field as we are with the accomplishments on the field.”

Now, the Cubs want Bryant to prepare for a seven-month season in 2015, not the shorter Minor League slate of games.

“I think he’s close enough that he can start setting his sights on the big leagues,” Epstein said. “Whenever that time comes, we don’t know, but it’s getting closer.”

Bryant has made smooth transitions at each level, and last season, went from the Rookie League to short-season Boise to high Class A Daytona to the Arizona Fall League, where the third baseman was named Most Valuable Player.

“He’s as advanced and mature and professional a prospect as we’ve had,” Epstein said. “He’s a thoughtful, cerebral, well adjusted mature guy. If anyone can jump into the big league picture in the middle of the season and not miss a beat, it’s Kris Bryant.”

– Carrie Muskat

9/2 Minor matters – Monday’s games

Dae-Eun Rhee threw seven scoreless innings in Iowa’s 11-1 win over Oklahoma City in the season finale. Rhee struck out 11 and scattered six hits. Ryan Kalish had four hits and Eli Whiteside and Elliot Soto each had three. Kris Bryant singled and drove in his 52nd run for Iowa. He finished his first full season in the Minors with a .325 average, a Minor League best 43 home runs, and 110 RBIs.

Tennessee ended its season with a 5-1 loss to Chattanooga. Addison Russell posted his 18th multi-hit game. The Smokies were 0-for-10 with RISP.

Daytona had Monday off, and and opens the Florida State League North Championship Tuesday against Dunedin. Rob Zastryzny was scheduled to start.

Kane County lost, 6-5, in 12 innings to Peoria, ending the regular season with a franchise best 91-49 record. Mark Zagunis had two hits, and a stolen base.

Boise beat Salem-Keizer 6-5 on a walk-off RBI single by Jason Vosler. Gleyber Torres had three hits, including a double and a triple, and two RBI. Game 1 of the best of three Northwest League Division series begins Tuesday against Hillsboro.


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