Kris Bryant (born Kristopher Lee Bryant on January 4, 1992 in Las Vegas, Nevada) is an American professional baseball third baseman for the Chicago Cubs of Major League Baseball (MLB).
The Cubs selected him with the second pick in the 2013 Major League Baseball Draft and he made his MLB debut for the Cubs on April 17, 2015.
He won the Dick Howser Trophy and Golden Spikes Award as the best amateur baseball player in 2013.
Prior to the 2015 season, Kris was ranked as the number one prospect in baseball by "Baseball America." While drafted as a third baseman, he has also played outfield for the Cubs.
Amateur Playing CareerEdit
Kris attended Bonanza High School in Las Vegas, Nevada where he played for the school's varsity baseball team for all four years.
He recorded a .418 batting average, a .958 slugging percentage (SLG), 103 hits and 47 career home runs. He was named to the USA Today All-USA baseball first-team.
The Toronto Blue Jays selected Kris in the 18th round of the 2010 Major League Baseball Draft, but he did not sign with the team and he enrolled at the University of San Diego to play college baseball for the San Diego Toreros baseball team.
College Playing CareerEdit
As a freshman at the University of San Diego in 2011, Kris had a .365 batting average, a .482 on-base percentage (OBP), and a .599 SLG with nine home runs.
He was named a freshman All-American and the West Coast Conference Co-Freshman of the Year and Co-Player of the Year, sharing both honors with Marco Gonzales.
As a sophomore in 2012, he was named a first-team All-American by Baseball America. During that summer, he was selected by USA Baseball to play for the United States collegiate national team.
In the 2013 season as a junior, Kris hit 31 home runs to lead the nation. It is the most home runs hit by a college player since the NCAA switched to a BBCOR composite bat in 2011.
It broke the previous record of 30 set by Victor Roache in 2011 and amounted to more home runs than 223 of 296 Division I teams hit that season.
Kris won the Golden Spikes Award and the Dick Howser Trophy, which are both awarded to the top collegiate player in the nation.
He was also named a Louisville Slugger First Team All-American and the College Baseball News National Player of the Year.
Profesional Playing CareerEdit
Draft and Minor LeaguesEdit
Kris was considered to be one of the best available players in the 2013 Major League Baseball Draft, and was scouted by the Houston Astros (who had the first overall pick).
After the Astros selected Mark Appel with the first overall selection, the Chicago Cubs chose Kris with the second overall selection. Many baseball executives and scouts agree that he was the safest pick in the draft.
Kris was also rated as the best hitter in the draft because of his easy power from foul pole to foul pole and ability to make contact on inside fastballs as well as down-and-away curveballs. He agreed to a $6.7 million signing bonus with the Cubs two days prior to the signing deadline.
Kris began his professional career with the Boise Hawks of the Class A-Short Season Northwest League batting .354 with 4 home runs.
He was promoted to the Daytona Cubs of the Class A-Advanced Florida State League on August 12th. He hit .333 with five home runs for Daytona and helped them win the Class A-Advanced championship. After the season, he played in Arizona Fall League (AFL).
Kris was named co-player of the week (along with Mitch Haniger) in the first week of the fall league season. He was named the MVP of the AFL after hitting .364/.457/.727 with six home runs in 20 games.
He began 2014 with the Double-A Tennessee Smokies. In June, he won the 2013 Southern League Home Run Derby and participated in the All-Star game.
On June 18, 2014, Kris was promoted to the Triple-A Iowa Cubs after batting .355 with 22 home runs and 58 RBI in 68 games with Tennessee.
In Keith Law's midseason top prospect update in July 2014, he was ranked as the best prospect in baseball.
At the end of the regular season, Kris was named the USA Today "Minor League Player of the Year" and Baseball America's "Minor League Player of the Year."
He also won the Joe Bauman Home Run Award Baseball America named him the # 1 prospect in 2015.
He was invited to spring training by the Cubs in 2015. In 40 at-bats he hit 9 home runs, which led all players. He also had a .425 with a .477 on-base percentage and a 1.175 slugging percentage.
Despite his performance, the Cubs elected to send Kris back down to their Triple-A affiliate, the Iowa Cubs.
Media members assumed that service time rules in baseball played a major influence on the team's decision; if Bryant played 12 days in the minors before being promoted to the majors the Cubs would receive another year of club control. The MLBPA issued a statement saying, "Today is a bad day for baseball".
In seven games with the Iowa Cubs, he hit three home runs and batted .321.
On April 17, 2015, Kris was called up to the majors by the Cubs. He made his debut that day, going 0–4 with three strikeouts and grounded into a fielder's choice, but he showed good defense in the 5–4 loss against the San Diego Padres. Manager Joe Maddon joked of this after the game, remarking, "We did bring him up for his glove."
The following day at Wrigley, Kris recorded his first hit, an RBI blooper into center field off of San Diego's pitcher Tyson Ross.
His patience showed in this game as he recorded three walks with no strikeouts, and he additionally tallied his first error and stolen base.
Kris's hustle played a key role in the team's victory in the 11th inning, as he ran out an infield single to set up the eventual walk off hit from teammate Starlin Castro.
Despite zero home runs in the month of April, he batted for a .318 average, a .455 on-base percentage, and earned 10 walks and RBIs.
Beginning the month of May with a 20-game home run drought, Kris hit his first major league home run on May 9, 2015, a three run shot, off of Milwaukee Brewers's Kyle Lohse. His second home run came at Wrigley Field; the first ball hit into the newly opened left field bleachers.
Kris finished the month of May with a .265 batting average, 7 home runs, 22 RBI's, and 16 walks which led to him being awarded the NL Rookie of the Month for May.
His first grand slam came on June 17th in the ninth inning of a 17–0 win against the Cleveland Indians.
In a July 4th game against the Miami Marlins, he hit both a two-run homer and his second grand slam of the season off Jarred Cosart. This made him the second Cubs rookie to hit two grand slams since Billy Williams in 1961.
He was selected as an injury replacement selection for Giancarlo Stanton on the National League roster for the All-Star game in Cincinnati, Ohio and also participated in the 2015 Homerun Derby.
On July 25th, Kris was the last out of Cole Hamels' no-hitter. On July 27th, he hit his first career walk-off home run, a two-run homer in a 9–8 win over the Colorado Rockies.
On September 6th, Kris hit a 495-foot (151 m) home run, the longest of the 2015 MLB season. With the homer, he tied Williams (1961) and Geovany Soto (2008), for the Cubs' franchise single-season RBI record for rookies with 86. On September 11th, he established the record by driving in a run with a double.
On September 22, Kris passed Williams for the most home runs by a Cubs rookie, with 26. In 151 games of his first season in the Majors, He batted .275 with 26 home runs, 31 doubles, and 99 RBI.
The 99 RBI's were the most for a rookie since Albert Pujols's 130 in 2001. He struck out 199 times which led the National League and set a new rookie record.
According to sales on Major League Baseball's official website, Kris had the best-selling jersey in all of baseball during the regular season.
With the Cubs finishing the season 97-65, the team clinched a Wild Card spot and it was their first berth in 7 years.
Despite a hitless game in the 2015 MLB Wild Card Game, the Cubs shut out the Pittsburgh Pirates 4–0 advancing the Cubs to the National League Division Series where in game three, Kris hit a two-run home run against the rival St. Louis Cardinals to help the Cubs to an 8–6 win.
The Cubs won the series in 4 games, but they lost to the Mets in the 2015 NLCS.
Kris was named the Baseball America Rookie of the Year for the 2015 season making him the first in history to win the Baseball America college, minor league and rookie of the year awards in consecutive seasons.
He was awarded the Sporting News "Rookie of the Year" Award for the National League, becoming the first Cub to earn it since Soto in 2008.
On December 7, 2015, it was reported that he had filed a grievance against the Cubs for delaying his call-up to the majors for the purpose of delaying his free agency.
On June 27, 2016, Kris became the first player in MLB history to go 5-5 with three home runs and two doubles.