Chicago Cubs Better Bring Kris Bryant North
There is controversy brewing in Arizona regarding the Cubs’ intentions regarding where top prospect Kris Bryant will start the 2015 season. If the Cubs don’t want savage their rep with young players and their agents, they should bring Bryant to Chicago with them when Spring Training ends.
Last September I wrote about my surprise that the Cubs didn’t promote Bryant to the majors after the AAA season ended. The Cubs’ stated justification for this decision was that they didn’t want to overwork Bryant, who was coming off his first full season in professional baseball. At the time, I thought that this reason sounded like BS, since Bryant had played in 98 college and professional games in 2013, the year before. 138 minor league games in 2014 really wasn’t that big of a step up.
Bryant is now leading all of MLB with six Spring Training home runs and has an OPS over 1.800 (granted, in only nine games). Bryant isn’t just ready now — he was ready last September.
The only reason to send him back to AAA is so the Cubs can hold onto his rights for another season. If the Cubs do so, everyone in baseball is going to know that’s why they sent him down. Bryant is much better on both sides of the ball at this moment than anyone else the Cubs could play at 3B. The sooner he reaches the majors, the sooner he’s going to learn to hit major league pitching, and the sooner the Cubs can build a winner.
I think it sends the wrong message to every player in a team’s system, if players don’t get promoted when they’ve proven to everyone they’re ready for the next level. Sure, sometimes a youngster gets blocked by another youngster ahead of him whom the organization thinks is a better prospect because they drafted they drafted the latter prospect in the first round. And sometimes a youngster gets blocked at the major league level by a high-priced veteran who can’t be moved without the team eating salary.
In Bryant’s case, there’s nothing between him and the Show, except management’s possible desire to hold his rights for another season. That’s just not a good enough reason to keep Bryant in the minors at this point.