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Kris BryantWith an off-day yesterday, and one of the biggest events of the year kicking off last night (continuing today at 12pm CT), there isn’t a ton of Bullet material today that isn’t completely tone deaf of the fact that one of the biggest events of the year kicked off last night. So you’re going to get two sets of Bullets today, a set on each of the Cubs’ picks from the first day of the Draft. Up first is the organization’s highest pick since they took Mark Prior second overall back in 2001. That would be third baseman Kris Bryant.

The only non-Bryant bit I’ll give you is this: make sure you don’t forget to sign up for today’s fantasy contest. It’s an $11 contest with a massive $500 prize pool, and a $5 bonus if you beat me. The full details are here. Check it out.

Ok. On to the Bryant Bullets …

  • First, the final numbers for Bryant’s record-setting season: 31 homers in 62 games. 66 walks and 44 strikeouts in 302 plate appearances. A batting line of .329/.493/.820. Obviously these are video game numbers, and, although they matter, you have to keep in mind that Bryant played in a lesser conference, and that we’re talking only about 62 games’ worth of college stats. There’s only so much you can take away from them. What matters is what the scouts are saying – and fortunately, they all think Bryant’s a stud.
  • Assuming he signs, Bryant will be a third baseman to start his career with the Cubs. Although there are questions about his ability to stick there – in part because he’s 6’5″, and could still fill out quite a bit more – there’s no reason to move him off of a premium position right now. He’ll likely start out in rookie ball out in Arizona as he adjusts to the Cubs’ system (The Cubs Way) and getting back into wooden bats. My guess is he finishes the year at High-A Daytona, with an eye toward starting at AA Tennessee in 2014 – or at least working his way there by midseason. From there, an MLB debut in the second half of 2014 isn’t completely out of the question, especially if he’s playing well at third base.
  • Assuming he signs, Bryant will immediately become a top four prospect in the Cubs’ system, joining The Big Three of Javier Baez, Jorge Soler, and Albert Almora. Where he’d fall into that group (hell, how you rank the other three) is largely a matter of taste. That group of four will arguably be the best foursome of positional prospects of any system in baseball (the Sano/Buxton duo in Minnesota, together whatever two prospects you grab, could give ‘em a run for their money).
  • Speaking of signing, there doesn’t seem to be any concerns about getting a deal done. The Cubs likely had many, many conversations with Bryant about what it would take to sign him – including during their extra long delay between picks one and two last night (the Cubs were assuredly frantically calling Bryant’s reps and/or Jonathan Gray’s reps and trying to nail down the right deal). Coming off an historic season at San Diego, and being selected number two, Bryant’s not going to increase his value markedly by returning to school. He’ll sign, and the only question is whether he’ll sign for under the number two slot value of $6.7 million. Seems a reasonable argument that, since he likely would have been taken by the Rockies at number three (slot value of $5.6 million), Bryant’s not going to sign for less than $5.6 million. Maybe the Cubs can split the difference, and sign him for something in the $6 million range? That doesn’t save them a huge amount toward later overslot signings, but it’s definitely something.
  • Cubs VP of Scouting and Player Development Jason McLeod was complimentary of Bryant soon after the pick was made, naturally. Nothing too surprising in his comments – Bryant was the right guy for the Cubs for the near and long-term.
  • Bryant, himself, sounds like a confident guy, as you’d expect a top prospect to be. “I obviously think that I can play in the big leagues now,” Bryant told the media after the Draft, per CSN. “I have that type of confidence in myself. [But] that’s not my decision. I’ll leave that up to the guys in charge …. Deep down, I absolutely think that [I could make a quick impact like a Mike Trout or a Bryce Harper]. I think every ballplayer should think that. You should think that you can go out there and play with the best of the best, because I’ve been doing that my whole life.” And before you accuse him of arrogance, understand that he was asked questions that are geared to elicit these kinds of quotes. But there’s definitely some confidence there.
  • A long pre-Draft profile on Bryant in the San Diego Union Tribune. Similarly, Scott Miller profiled Bryant in a column I linked yesterday, but which carries a little more interest now that the Cubs have drafted him. One interesting tidbit from the SDUT piece: when the Blue Jays drafted Bryant out of high school a few years ago in the 18th round, they offered him a huge signing bonus in the $1 million to $1.2 million range. Even then, he was a big-time draft prospect – and he obviously made the right decision to go to school.
  • John Sickels is high on Bryant: “The best bat in the draft, Bryant is a 6-5, 205 bruiser with outstanding right-handed power and the ability to hit the ball out of any park to all fields. He also has good pure hitting skills, controls the strike zone well, and has a chance to stick at third. Even if he moves over to first base, this is an All-Star bat that draws Troy Glaus comparisons, though he could have better hitting skills than Glaus did.”
  • At least one BP report on Bryant is not overly enthused, grading him out as an average hitter (albeit one with huge power) who almost certainly can’t stick at third base. The report also points out Bryant’s purported struggles against better pitching, and a “checkered” history with using wood bats. Although the report sees Bryant as a possible top five pick in the Draft (the report was from May 30), it calls him a 7 to 15 prospect in a typical draft. If you want an even more robust take on Bryant from BP (same author), here’s a look.
  • And a few videos on Bryant from MLB.com, Bullpen Banter and Keith Law (here, here and here, if they don’t display for you):

  • Tremendous Slouch

    I was particularly impressed with the way he took that intentional pass in the second video!

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      Gotta be pretty good to get IBB’s, right?

      • CubsIn2015

        I even heard San Diego hit him lead off so he couldn’t be pitched around, that’s impressive

  • SirCub

    That’s a long stroke, but boy is it pretty.

  • Tremendous Slouch

    So Brett where does Bryant wind up… I keep hearing RF, but I thought we were assuming that’s where Soler winds up long term as well… does this push Soler over to LF with Bryant in right? That is assuming all of these guys pan out and or don’t get traded…

    • gocatsgo2003

      “That is assuming all of these guys pan out and or don’t get traded…”

      So… why don’t we wait to see what happens on that front before we worry about the positions they will play in the Bigs?

      • Tremendous Slouch

        What’s the harm in speculating? Isn’t that half the fun of following this stuff in the first place? Or did you just feel the need to step on my question?

        • gocatsgo2003

          Speculate away, but that’s one HUGE caveat to throw out there.

          For what it’s worth, both seem capable of handling either corner spot given relative athleticism and arm strength, but would likely need a CF with pretty significant range to cover what they couldn’t reach (Almora may fit the bill there, but, again, the gigantic caveat above).

  • Patrick G

    Interesting to know Bryant hit in the leadoff and 2 spot during the season

    • DocPeterWimsey

      Bryant been getting on base nearly 50% of the time! That’s my dream #1 or #2 guy. (Add power and that’s my dream #2 guy: oh, wait!)

      Take away Bryant’s HR and he still scored 49 runs, which is about 18% of his non-HR plate appearances. Interestingly, he scored 45% of the time after reaching base (again, excluding HR). That might indicate that he’s pretty good at going 1st->3rd or 2nd->home. Guys with good batting eyes often get good reads on batted balls (it’s part of the same tool, really), so he might be the sort who gets that slightly early jump the way that Mark Grace used to do.

      Of course, it could indicate really good batters behind Bryant: but wouldn’t we have heard about them, too?

      • Patrick G

        Ya maybe they just didn’t have good typical 1 and 2 hitters and tried to get him as many at bats as possible hitting him in those spots

        • JB88

          I read an article that SD’s manager moved him into the 1 slot because he was getting pitched around so much.

          • Patrick G

            makes sense

        • DocPeterWimsey

          The funny thing is that the statheads have been saying bat guys like Bryant #2 for years now. I was wondering if perhaps their manager was simply up on the numbers! (Of course, the difference would barely be noticeable in a short college season.)

  • North Side Irish

    FWIW, Chris Crawford’s pass/fail draft grades for Day 1: http://mlbdraftinsider.com/2013/06/process-grades-day-one/

    Chicago Cubs – I would have taken Gray, but I have been high on Kris Bryant all year. Rob Zastrynzy was a bit of a reach, but I’ll go pass.

  • EvenBetterNewsV2.0

    BP loves them some Clint Frazier. That kid has a fire in him that is second to none, but he does nothing elite outside of bat speed. He will be a solid pickup, but he is not an elite prospect. I like 3 years of college vs. high school.

    • JB88

      Jason Parks really is a fan of Frazier. Had him as the only Tier 1 batter in the draft, so it isn’t surprising to me that they are gushing about Frazier this morning.

  • LouBrown

    Does anyone know who else has been rated with 80 power? I am assuming thre have to be a few current minor or major leaguers who have been rated that way.

    • Timothy Scarbrough

      Miguel Sano, Stanton, Harper. It is a pretty short list.

    • JB88

      Sano, for one, has been rated with 80 power. There aren’t too many in the game today.

    • Cubbie Blues

      Hamilton used to be.

    • Noah

      The one thing I’d note is that the 80 power rating,even for raw, on Bryant is far from unanimous. With that said, everyone has him at least as a 70, which is still huge, huge power.

  • josh ruiter

    I will say I’m happy but skeptical with this pick. Anytime you get a guy who has an avg. hit tool with prodigious power, it scares me. Especially with less than plus defensive ratings. I just have never liked the Adam Dunn, Mark Reynolds type guys which is what Bryant could be. That being said, I liked his interviews and his dedication to the game. And we see a guy who since high school has been highly touted, and living up to expectations. Those are good signs to me, and I think you might see an adjusted approach at the big league level, he may need to drop his hands a bit to create consistent contact, but still a far better pick, risk and ceiling wise than Grey. Woulda loved Appel but that wasn’t up to the FO. This guy could be a Stanton like talent, or better if the baseball god’s smile on us, but that swing and miss is a fickle beast it seems. Hope he blows the comparisons out of the water and proves to be the elite hitter and talent he has the potential to be!

    • JB88

      Depends on who is rating him. KLaw has Bryant with an average hit tool, but Callis had him much higher. It really depends on the scouting service and is a bit of a crap shoot. Lowest I saw was KLaw at 45, highest I saw was some projecting him at a 65 (which seems ridiculously high for me).

    • Feeney

      If he’s an Adam Dunn type in that he has OPS+ at 130 or higher 7 times in his career I will be over the moon with this pick.

      There is a HUGE difference between Dunn and Reynolds. One strikes out a lot and walks a ton. The other just strikes out a lot without the walks.

      • josh ruiter

        Dunn is good, but would you consider him the impact player the Cubs were seeking in this draft? I’m not saying it’s a complaint, but with a roster that already clearly lacks some contact skills, specifically in the minors. But hey, just a fan posting a concern. high swing and miss concerns from a guy playing in a weak league against less than stellar pitching makes me nervous on his way up the ladder…. a la Brett Jackson. I truly think his hands will have to lower a bit

        • Jimmy James

          I would yes….you are thinking of Dunn now….dude was a game changer

  • JB88

    “At least one BP report on Bryant is not overly enthused, grading him out as an average hitter (albeit one with huge power) who almost certainly can’t stick at third base. The report also points out Bryant’s purported struggles against better pitching, and a “checkered” history with using wood bats. Although the report sees Bryant as a possible top five pick in the Draft (the report was from May 30), it calls him a 7 to 15 prospect in a typical draft. If you want an even more robust take on Bryant from BP (same author), here’s a look.”

    The author’s an attorney. Clearly, he doesn’t know baseball.

  • Steve Ontiveros’ Mustache

    I don’t like watching him bat. The wide stance and the timing thing he does with touching the bad to his shoulder are uncomfortable. Yes, when the pitch comes he is in a great position, and has a very fluid swing. It must be working, but man, I just don’t like watching it.

    • JB88

      The way he stands in his stance remind me of McGwire.

      • Patrick G

        McGwire wasn’t that wide in stance but crouched low enough to make it look like that. Bryant is almost as wide as Jim Edmonds

        • JB88

          I was trying to find an image to confirm my memory on McGwire and came across ones of Bagwell (crazy wide) and Pujols, whose stance was a lot wider than I remembered.

          [img]http://www.swing-smarter-baseball-hitting-drills.com/images/albert-pujols-hitting-stance.jpg[/img]

          • corey costello

            Pujols is a great hitter and his is wide. He can make it work.

  • forlines

    I didn’t get the chance to catch any of the draft, so I was extremely happy to hear this upon getting to work this morning! Don’t claim to know anything about our 2nd rounder, but damn is our lineup gonna be crush in a few years! CUBBIES!!!

  • James

    With the drafting of Bryant it makes you wonder about Starlin Castro. Sometime in 2014 you have to think that Javier Baez will be at short and Bryant at third. What happens with Castro? A move to second or left maybe. I still think he will be traded sometime in 2014 for pitching.

    • Kyle

      I really think that we’re a long, long way from having to worry about having too many middle infielders

      • bbmoney

        besides I’d love to have the ‘problem’ the rangers have right now.

      • Cubbie Blues

        That’s kind of like having too many starting pitchers. You never seem to actually get there when everything plays out. If you happen to end up in excess that is a great place to be. It would afford you to trade those chips to fill in the holes on your team.

      • Noah

        Exactly. Do you know what’s not a terrible scenario? Having a bunch of Top 100 prospects who can play shortstop. There’s essentially no type of player that’s more easily tradeable for great return.

        • BluBlud

          Or who can adjust to a new position. I would argue if you can play SS, you could play any position not catcher or pitcher.

    • Cubbie Blues

      No matter what, Castro is going to stay up the middle somewhere. Moving him anywhere else leaves his bat wanting.

    • bbmoney

      Let’s not get ahead of ourselves. Bryant is no lock to stay at 3b. Baez is also no lock to stay at SS.

      Lots of time for this to play out yet. Could easily see Baez at 2b or 3b and Bryant in the OF. Or quite frankly one or both of them never making it or at least not becoming every day regulars….which would suck, but they’re prospects so it’s a possibility.

    • Mick

      That’s a fair concern because these guys get touted as the future of their position so when you draft another future of the same position it starts to make you wonder. I think it’s fair to speculate both Castro and Baez could be traded. They’re both high-K, low-BB type players in an organization that preaches the exact opposite plate approach. Plus, they were both drafted and developed under the previous regime so there’s hardly any loyalty there. Theo could really re-shuffle the deck if he were to trade Castro, Baez, and Garza.

      • BluBlud

        Castro is not a high SO guy, don’t know where this is coming from.

        • Mick

          To me, any amount of K’s that is as disproportionate to BB’s as Castro’s demonstrated is high. I’m not freaking out though, we’re about a year closer to getting our Kane County guys through the system, in position to add a few more prospects at the deadline, and will be drawing another top-10 pick again next year. It’s not like the Cubs need to rush to any decision with any of their young players.

          • Kyle

            League average K/BB is 2.53.
            Castro for his career is 2.80.

            It’s a bit of a problem this year, but it hasn’t been a problem before this year.

          • hansman1982

            Castro has a career 14% K rate. That is darn good and why he can be successful with such a low BB-rate.

            It seems as if he is the non-batting eye version of Almora.

          • Noah

            I think people generally overstate the K to BB ratio issue, when the raw numbers tell you a lot more. Generally, if someone is walking less than 5% of the time or striking out more than 25% of the time, they have to be really good at some other aspect of hitting. So if they’re walking less than 5% of the time, odds are they have to be very good at making solid contact with balls that are out of the strike zone, like the 2010-2011 version of Castro. If they’re striking out more than 25% of the time, odds are they need to take a lot of walks and hit for power.

            So, for example, Brett Jackson’s problem isn’t that he has a 3 to 1 K/BB ratio at Triple A. If he was striking out 21% of the time and walking 7% of the time, it wouldn’t really be concerning. The problem is that he’s striking out 30% of the time, and essentially no walk rate can make up for that if you’re not hitting 40 bombs a year.

            Now, once you’re getting beyond 4 to 1 K/BB ratios, you’re going to have a player with significant issues on that front. But the raw K rate and raw BB rate will tell you just as much.

    • 5412

      Hi,

      A very knowledgable source tells me Baez can play anywhere, he is that good an athlete. He could end up in CF, who knows?

      At the same time there is an old saying about a bird in the hand. Right now Baez is learning the game and striking out a lot in high A ball where Castro is a known commodity.

      Be careful what you wish for, Baez has potential but a long way to go.

      On the other hand, if he lives up to expectations, what a wonderful problem to have.

      regards,
      5412

    • hansman1982

      Baez has concerns about sticking at short.

      IF all three are MLB ready and capable, best case scenario:
      Castro – SS, Baez – 2B, Bryant – 3B

      Which, could be, one of the greatest IF in the game.

      • BluBlud

        Yeah, a 3-4-5-6 of Rizzo, Baez, Bryant, Castro if they all reach even 75% of the potential is damn scary.

        • praying the cubs get ready to win

          Add Solar and Almora and our team spends its time on getting a top catcher prospect and the Cubs would look awesome based on potential.

    • David

      Baez will never play SS over Castro.

    • corey costello

      Keep in mind Castro is only 21 months older than Bryant. He still needs to develop and he should have never been brought up so fast by Henry.

  • sven-erik312

    How is is defensive play?

  • another JP

    Really like these two picks, looks like Cubs went for long term impact and found it with Bryant- Zas will be a wait & see proposition but the kid seems to understand how to get batters out. Had a tough time against SEC competition but still had good numbers.

    • wvcubsfan

      “Had a tough time against SEC competition but still had good numbers.”

      How do these two statements go together? Can you have a tough time against your competition and still have good numbers? Are you referring to W-L record, if so then I see what you are talking about. As we all know that’s really all that matters when it comes to starting pitchers.

  • forlines

    I’ve seen much talk of position dictating lineup order and how it might affect your bat… Can someone please explain to me how your position has anything to do with your ABs? I’m not an expert on Baseball at all, I just love the Cubs.

  • FFP

    It might just be my monitor, but he seems very long-waisted for a tall guy.

  • YourResidentJag

    For those interested who get Fox Sports North, on Monday at noon there will be a live telecast of Kane County vs Cedar Rapids. If you want to watch Almora or Byron Buxton play, should be a good view.

    • YourResidentJag

      In fact they will be broadcasting Kane County vs Cedar Rapids the next day at noon as well.

  • cubmig

    Because of the risk factor a looming pitcher concern, I’m glad the Cubs picked Bryant. God knows this club needs promising hitter prospects.

  • YourResidentJag

    Hey Brett. In the next hour the Score670 will be talking Bryant.

  • David

    MLB network showed a video of Jonathon Gray throwing a slider that the batter started to swing, then just collapsed… Made me sad we did not get him. That pitch was absoluetely nasty….

  • http://www.survivingthalia.com Mike Taylor (no relation)

    Catcher John Denney is still out there. Someone already took Alex Balog (who I think the Cubs should have picked 2nd), so we may pick Denney and then pitchers, pitchers, pitchers!

  • 5412

    Hi,

    Just for fun I looked something up. Scott Rolen is 6′ 4″ and Troy Glaus is 6′ 5″ and both did well for 3B, while I believe Glaus eventually moved over to 1B. I also read where Bryant has a very strong arm and is a RF candidate.

    Sounds to me like a nice problem to have. A good bat, he takes walks, a strong throwing arm and at least an average defender who is athlete enough to play 3-4 positions if you add LF to the mix.

    Get it done, and the sooner he gets to the major leagues the better. They are building the core.

    If he gets signed early and in to the system, I can then see one of Vogelbach, Baez, Lake or Vitters also being traded for a big name, soon to be free agent like we got when we signed Aramis Ramirez. If this kid is the real deal, it gives us a ton of options.

    regards,
    5412

    • North Side Irish

      Not fair to compare any young 3B to Rolen, but Glaus is the most frequent comp I hear for Bryant. And I would be absolutely thrilled if Bryant had Glaus’ career in a Cubs uniform.

      • 5412

        Hi,

        I agree with you. I only compared him to Rolen because some article say his height might be the reason to move him off 3B. My first reaction is there have been some damn good tall 3B’s.

        regards,
        5412

    • dumbledoresacubsfan

      I want to hold on to Vogelbach in hopes the MLB decides to go ahead and implement the DH in the NL in a year or two. haha

      • 5412

        Hi,

        Vogelbach is unique. He went to the same high school my youngest daughter attended (and was the baseball scorekeeper) for two years.

        I am of the wait and see on Vogelbach. Most DH’s do not come through the minor leagues as a DH. If Vogelbach gets to AA ball and is continuing to pound the ball, then we have something.

        regards,
        5412

        • BluBlud

          Biship Verot. I have family in Fort Myers, and cousin who attend Verot. I seen Vogs play a couple times in High School, as I just relocated back from Florida a few years back myself.

          • 5412

            Hi,

            My daughter was there when Adam Piatt was there. We actually saw ARod in a tournament when he was a 16 year old. There were three kids in the tournament that played in the major leagues.

            The third one was Mankewitz, and I know I spelled it wrong. It is pronounced Man-cave-itch.

            regards,
            5412

  • The Future

    The 31 HRs is also relative to being pitched around a lot

  • BluBlud

    MLB has a video of Denney hitting in Wrigley Field with i think the National Team. Would love to see him duplicate that in a Cubs Uniform.

  • YourResidentJag

    I don’t now who the Cubs will pick in the later rounds but today is National Doughnut Day! Yes!

  • rickyp024

    Hey Brett,

    Thanks for all the info regarding the draft. Do you know if MLB Network will cover Day 2, or will is just be available online?

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      Online only. Which is dumb.

      • rickyp024

        Yeah, better than nothing I guess. Thanks! Any rumors on who the Cubs will be looking at with their first pick today?

  • Pingback: LIVE: The 2013 MLB Draft Day Two, Rounds 3 Through 10 | Bleacher Nation | Chicago Cubs News, Rumors, and Commentary

  • Clark Addison

    When he makes it to the Cubs he’ll have to change uniform numbers.

  • Die hard

    Could’ve used him today… Wish we had Sandberg as he would mentor this kid into all he can be

    • DarthHater

      Yea, it’s a shame he turned down Theo’s affair and we had to settle for Sveum.

      • DarthHater

        *offer, not affair – $%&*# spellcheck :-P

    • Voice of Reason

      Sandberg would turn this person into all he can be?

      Thats way over the top.

  • Voice of Reason

    Sandberg would turn this person into all he can be?

    Thats way over the top.

    • Die hard

      Sandberg struggled early until taught to turn on the ball– also worked hard to be good fielder before each game … Kid would benefit from his experience

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