Cubs’ Failure to Promote Kris Bryant a Head-Scratcher

I saw a note on today that many Cubs fans are disappointed the team didn’t give top prospect 3Bman Kris Bryant a September call-up after having promoted other top prospects Javier Baez, Jorge Soler and Arismendy Alcantara when the rosters were still small.  Frankly, I can’t understand what the Cubbies are thinking.

Of the four players, Bryant had the highest OPS at AAA Iowa.  Only Soler was close, but he had less than half as many AAA plate appearances as Bryant before the Cubs called him up.  Bryant’s 3B defense looks to be raw, but still in the general range of major league average at this point.

Meanwhile, the Cubs have given most of the third base starts this season to Luis Valbuena, a 28 year old of the type who plays regularly at the major league level until his (losing) team comes up with a prospect like Bryant who looks to be ready.  I also have to assume that Bryant isn’t hurt and doesn’t need the rest, because his agent Scott Boras is complaining about the fact that Bryant didn’t get promoted.

What Baez, Soler and Alcantara have that Bryant doesn’t I just can’t see.  Most likely, it simply comes down to the fact that the Cubs think they can keep Bryant down on the farm just long enough in 2015 to hold on to his rights for another season before he becomes a free agent.  With Baez, Soler and Alcantara promoted before the Sepember 1st roster expansion, their free agency horses are already out of the barn.

Even so, you would think the Cubs would have a strong incentive to try to get all their young studs on the major league team together as quickly as possible, so that they can learn to play and become a team together.  Delaying Bryant’s promotion for however long just delays the Cubs fielding a winning team based on their new young core for that period of time.

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2 Comments on “Cubs’ Failure to Promote Kris Bryant a Head-Scratcher”

  1. Level Whimsicality Says:

    While I too was wondering where Bryant was, I also appreciate them not calling him up. He just finished an amazing year, his first year, in the minors. Cynicism aside for the free agency window, there probably is marginal value, if not slightly negative, to having him play with the main club for a month.

    Baez, for contrast, is a solid infielder, handling the glove with a veteran’s confidence. But already the league has his number, as the homers seem to have dried up and the strikeouts keep piling up. I can only assume the Cubs plan a lot of tape review and training with Baez in the offseason so these early mistakes are corrected for 2015.

    If Bryant were brought up now, it could be a disaster. Errors and learning curve at third base would reverberate through the team. And he would likely end up in Baez’s .180 territory. It would be a thoroughly rotten capstone to his otherwise stellar debut year.

    The minors are there for a reason, and the new Cubs have been very methodical in how they treat their prized prospects. I take Theo at his word that it’s best for Bryant to call his season now and prepare for Major League time next year.

    • Burly Says:

      I agree that Theo Epstein knows what he is doing, but I’d have still called up Bryant, and let him get a taste of major league pitching. If management is concerned about how much Bryant has already played this year, don’t play him every day in Chicago. Playing even ten games out of the remaining 20 or so games would give him major league experience and take the mystery out of playing in the majors.

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