It’s probably the way he carries himself. Kris Bryant has flown relatively under the radar throughout the offseason and into Spring Training. While the Cubs were busy making noise in free agency with the Heyward, Lackey, and Zobrist signings, it seems like many people in Chicago forgot that the 2016 NL MVP might already be on the team.
Last year he was the center of attention after being demoted to Triple-A. People who have brains knew why this happened. Because the Cubs delayed his service time they now have seven years of control instead of six. Of course there was huge backlash from stupid people who didn’t understand , as Barry Rozner likes to say, that “seven is greater than six”. This resulted in Bryant getting caught in the middle of fan stupidity and frustration of his own when he was clearly ready for the bigs. However, being the professional that he is, it clearly didn’t bother him much.
If we fast forward to 2016, we see much of the attention on the antics of Joe Maddon, the quirkiness of Anthony Rizzo, the Javier Baez factor, and the new guys. To be fair, it has been a pretty newsworthy offseason and Spring Training. Every good baseball fan knows who Kris Bryant is and knows he is already one of the most valuable offensive players in the game, but I don’t think he’s getting enough attention as a potential MVP candidate.
In his first full year, Bryant hit .275 with an OPS of .858 while compiling 26 dingers and 99 RBIs. He’s also not a finished product. We’ve been spoiled with young talent over the last few years, but Bryant is an example of someone who has the potential to continue to develop. He’s a tremendously smart hitter who can make adjustments from at-bat to at-bat and has the power to hit 45 home runs.
What he has going against him is that his buddy Bryce Harper also plays in the National League and he’s going to rack up quite a few MVP awards. Regardless, it’s shocking to see how little Bryant’s progression as a baseball player isn’t being talked about. I know the news has been elsewhere with the Cubs (and that’s how Bryant likes it) but we need to remember who their best offensive weapon is.