Results tagged ‘ Kris Bryant ’

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.

9/1 Minor matters – Monday’s games

* Iowa romped 11-0 over Oklahoma City to finish its season, 74-70. Dae-Eun Rhee tied his career-high with 11 strikeouts over seven shutout innings. David Bote hit a two-run single, and Ryan Kalish and Eli Whiteside each hit two-run doubles. Kalish finished with four hits and three RBIs. Kris Bryant went 1-for-4 with an RBI and team-best three runs scored in his final game. Bryant’s 43 home runs on the season lead all of Minor League baseball. He is vying to become the second Cub in the last four years to accomplish that feat. Bryan LaHair hit a Minor League-best 38 in 2011. This is Iowa’s first winning season since 2010.

* Double-A Tennessee closed its season with a 5-1 loss Monday to Chattanooga. Dustin Geiger drove in the Smokies’ only run in the seventh when he drew a bases-loaded walk.

8/29 Bryant to finish season at Iowa

Cubs fans eager to see Kris Bryant in the same lineup as Javier Baez, Jorge Soler, Anthony Rizzo and Starlin Castro will have to wait. GM manager Jed Hoyer repeated that Bryant, the No. 1 prospect on’s top 20 list, will finish his season at Triple-A Iowa and not be one of the players added when big league rosters expand on Monday.

Hoyer would not say which players will be called up. Iowa has four regular season games remaining and has a chance to make the playoffs.

Bryant, 22, batted .355 with 22 home runs and 20 doubles at Double-A Tennessee, and was batting .300 with 21 homers and 14 doubles in 66 games at Iowa. The second player taken overall in the 2013 First-Year Player Draft, he is not on the Cubs’ 40-man roster.

“He’s not on the roster, so right away [if he was called up] that would knock off another player off the roster,” Hoyer said Friday. “We’re going to be really tight with the roster, and we know that. We feel in his first full season, he’s going to get 140 plus games, he’s played exceptionally well — nothing has changed on that front [as far as calling him up].”

The fact that Bryant has done so well in his first year of professional baseball has made Cubs fans giddy about the prospect of seeing the third baseman at Wrigley Field.

“The most impressive thing about his season has been the consistency,” Hoyer said. “The slumps have been really quick. He deserves a lot of credit for being able to make adjustments quickly. I think he’s very level-headed as a person. He doesn’t get too down.

“We’ve never waivered on [the decision to leave him in the Minors],” Hoyer said. “We feel it’s the right thing for him — first full season, not on the roster, and we’ll enjoy the guys we have up here now.”

Are the Cubs hesitating to avoid starting the clock on Bryant’s service time? Hoyer said that wasn’t a factor.

“That’s not the reason or a concern,” he said.

– Carrie Muskat

8/27 Minor matters – Tuesday’s games

Tacoma beat Iowa, 5-3, on Tuesday, but the I-Cubs playoff hopes are still alive. Omaha lost Tuesday, but Oklahoma City won to take over sole possession of first in the American Northern Division. With five games left to play, the Cubs are four games behind the RedHawks. The I-Cubs and RedHawks play head-to-head for the final four games of the regular season, starting on Friday night at Principal Park in Des Moines.

On Tuesday, Kris Bryant hit a RBI single in the first, but that was the only run off spot-starter Andrew Carraway through five innings. Carraway (8-5) was a last minute replacement when scheduled starter Erasmo Ramirez was scratched. Dan Straily (7-8) took the loss after giving up five runs (four earned) on 10 hits, three walks over five innings. He struck out six.

Junior Lake hit a two-run homer in the eighth, and doubled in the sixth. He has scored at least one run in seven straight games. Brian Schlitter worked one scoreless inning in relief and Jeff Antigua finished with two scoreless innings for the I-Cubs.

Dae-Eun Rhee gets the start in the series finale on Wednesday.


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