Kris Bryant is a Hitter, and It’s Awesome

Kris BryantTo date, 2013 first round pick Kris Bryant (2nd overall) has done the following:

Short season Low-A: .354/.416/.692, 4 HR, 1 3B, 8 2B in 77 PA.

High-A: .333/.387/.719, 5 HR, 1 3B, 5 2B in 62 PA.

Arizona Fall League: .371/.458/.771, 6 HR, 1 3B, 8 2B in 82 PA.

That, quite simply, is a hitter. They are all small samples, to be sure, even when you add them up. But they look as good as it gets.

David Laurila at FanGraphs recently interviewed Bryant about his hitting prowess, and it’s a Q&A worth your time. Bryant is impressive in his responses and his understanding of the game.

A sample comment from Bryant:

I think you have to look for pitches in certain zones. In high school, you can get away with just looking middle and adjusting — and maybe a little in college. Here, you have to figure out how they’re approaching you. Pitchers know how they’ve gotten you out in the past, and you have to adjust your plan accordingly. A lot of it depends on the pitcher, but also, I’m a big guy, so I expect a lot of hard stuff in and some soft stuff away.

You have to be ready for that mistake over the plate. The inside corner and outside corner, on the black, are pretty tough pitches to hit. Most of the time, all you can do is foul those off. On occasion you’ll hit one of those pitches hard, but for the most part, hitting is about taking advantage of mistakes. Pitchers aren’t perfect.

Bryant gets into pitch recognition and plate discipline, finding pitches to drive, using his power, and much more. Great read.

Brett Taylor is the editor and lead writer at Bleacher Nation, and can also be found as Bleacher Nation on Twitter and on Facebook.

68 responses to “Kris Bryant is a Hitter, and It’s Awesome”

  1. papabear

    after 25 some years of coaching – the trick to being a good hitter is – faster reflexes,hand eye coordination and knowing how to swing (the third can be taught). They did an old test to time babe Ruth – his numbers were off the chart – Every so often they have a big name hitter take the same test. The Babe always wins -

    1. MightyBear

      The only hitter I heard was close to Ruth in that test was Albert Pujols. They said that they just “thought” differently than the average person. More spacially. Very interesting stuff.

    2. Hack Wilson

      Hack Wilson could outhit and outdrink the Babe. RBI may not count much for you wussy Sabremetic yuppies, but 190 RBI for the Cubs???? Gimme a f’in break.

    3. DocPeterWimsey

      You can have all three of those things and without good pitch recognition, the guy still will not be a good hitter in MLB. (The Babe had an excellent eye, of course.)

      Pitching is the big reason why I suspect that coaching amateur ball offers so little insight into professional baseball. In amateur leagues (possibly up to college), many guys can hit through pure hand-eye coordination and strength, and many pitchers succeed by just blowing the bats out of lesser athletes’ hands. It’s not until you get to professional levels that you constantly see pitches that look so similar 10′ from the pitchers hand and so different at home plate. And MLB just piles them up: Greg Maddux was never called up to some higher league!

      1. jt
  2. Funn Dave

    Goddammit I love those #s.

    Wouldn’t mind some insight on that “quick fix” to his swing one of the articles from yesterday mentioned, though.

  3. hansman

    Wow, Bryant has completely, totally and utterly bought into The Cubs Way when it comes to hitting.

    1. CubFan Paul

      Sarcasm font?

      1. hansman

        No, his stated approach is nearly word for word what Theo and Jed want the hitters to do. Hammer mistake pitches and pitches in their zone and let the rest go.

        Now, it’s a matter of finding players who have the ability to know what pitches are in their zone.

        1. jh03

          Articles like this make me wonder that if the Cubs had the #1 pick they still would have taken Bryant. You know that they had to be drooling over comments like this in the interview process before the draft.

        2. jt

          +1

    2. On The Farm

      His numbers are too good when it comes to The Cubs Way. Clearly this is just something that rubbed off on him as a Torro.

      1. Chief

        As a Torero, I’m not sure I can agree with that. I wouldn’t go so far to say that our program is a bunch of hackers, but they’re not exactly the most selective group of guys. They like to swing the bat, and I’m not sure there’s much instruction to the opposite.

    3. Nate Dawg

      Or maybe this was his approach all along and the FO drafted him because he fit the Cubs Way ideal approach. And because he mashes.

      1. hansman

        I was going to add in the caveat that (probably before he came to the Cubs)

        1. Scotti

          Long before he became a Cub:

          http://www.utsandiego.com/news/2013/jun/05/bryant-usd-draft-kris-mike/all/?print

          The first player selected in baseball’s 1980 draft: Darryl Strawberry. The 23rd player selected: Mt. Carmel High’s Billy Beane, whose “Moneyball” role would be reprised by Brad Pitt.

          The 231st player taken in the ’80 draft: Mike Bryant. …

          He didn’t make it to The Show, but did glean knowledge from (Ted) Williams, the pride of Hoover High, a baseball icon and the last major leaguer to hit .400.

          1. Scotti

            I found this funny from the article above:

            Bleeding from the neck where he’d been struck by the baseball sent into orbit by Kris Bryant, the man steps out of his truck, sticks out his hand and says to the head coach, “Is this your ball?”

            Recalling the yarn, Bryant says, “I was just confused. “We’d never hit a car before.”

      2. jt

        +1

  4. papabear

    The bar game -have someone hold a 20 above your fingers – drop it and you can’t close your fingers fast enough – they said babe would grab it in the middle He was amazing.

  5. X The Cubs Fan

    45 hrs this year!!!!!

  6. since52

    Yes, fans our new Cubs hitting coach… NUMBER ?…KRISSSBRYANT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    1. King Jeff

      Damn, I thought it was going to be Ted Williams’ head.

  7. Rich

    Take a read for the book called the SPORTS GENE..a small section on hitting and baseball players and their vision acuity..Pretty neat read..

    Also..if we sign free agents along with building the farm system, the Cubs would probably have more wins and still not make the playoffs and we then can’t draft a Kris Bryant…

    is that they way we see it ?

  8. Featherstone

    Love the plate discipline and the power. I think its fair to say that his first year in the Cubs system has lived up to his billing as the top bat and #2 pick overall.

  9. Mark P

    Saw this kid yesterday at AFL in Suprise,AZ. He was definitely on…

  10. Mark P

    Also. I think he was wearing 17

    1. Jeff

      Did he go out for beers after the game?

  11. Murky Waters

    At the time, I was a little shocked when the Cubs opted to pass on Gray. Only because the lack of pitching talent on the cubs minors. That being said, from everything I’ve seen so far this guy has stud written all over him ….. Any early predictions on the direction the Cubs will go next year with the number 4 pick?

  12. Kyle

    I seriously don’t think it’s a coincidence that the Cubs are loaded with power in the minors right at the time that power becomes the scarcest commodity in the game.

    1. Ivy Eater

      That’s actually kind of crazy to think about. Mind = blown. Not at all being sarcastic, that was a very eye-opening thought.

    2. CubFan Paul

      I think (hope) Theo&Co will trade some of that power for ML upgrades this offseason.

      1. Voice of Reason

        So, out of the power that the Cubs have, who do you see the Cubs trading?

        1. CubFan Paul

          Soler, Vogelbomb, & Alcantara are who I would dangle this offseason for pitching and upgrades.

        2. jt

          Baez

          1. Ivy Walls

            WHAT? Start with Castro and add in Samardzija

    3. Bilbo161

      I agree completely. Anyone think there is power to be had at 4 this coming June? So far I have been thinking Kolek or Turner. Some are saying Braxton Davidson is the best lefty power bat but he’s a High Schooler.

      1. ssckelley

        Not sure the Cubs will go position player in next June’s draft, the crop of pitchers is looking pretty good. But I cannot argue the approach they have had in the past 3 drafts going position player with the 1st round and loading up on pitchers 2-10. I just do not see a Kris Bryant popping up next June but there is a long ways to go.

        1. CubFan Paul

          “I just do not see a Kris Bryant popping up next June”

          Why?

      2. Professor Snarks

        I’m hearing the best power bats are high school players Alex Jackson (C) and Jacob Gatewood (SS), No significant college power yet. Of course, this will change frequently over the next 9 months.

        1. Soda Popinski

          You are right here. Add Braxton Davidson from the left side with those high schoolers. Keith Law ranked the best college bat as Max Pentecost from Kennesaw State at 11. He has “above-average” power as a catcher. But, no worries, the pitching crop looks really solid. I know you can’t draft for need, but looking at the talent so far with the number one pick I’d guess we’re in for a pitcher.

          1. Professor Snarks

            Since I’m not part of the front office, I’m going to pick my favorites because of team need. I’d love a TOR college arm, but if Alex Jackson can stay at catcher, I wouldn’t mind him.

            1. Chad

              I think the key is if he can stay at catcher. It will be interesting to see if he can. Also, I like Turner out of NC state, but only if they believe he is the best available. Unfortunately, Rodon, is my first choice but I would guess he will be many other’s first choice as well. It will be interesting to see how the amature season plays out.

              1. Soda Popinski

                If we go with a hitter I just hope he’s a lefty. I keep thinking of the ’08 club where the Dodgers didn’t use a single left handed pitcher because our lineup was so right-hand heavy. *shudder*

                1. Professor Snarks

                  Yeah, I hear you on the lefty thing, but I think something like an Alcantara and Rizzo could mitigate that concern. I for one want the best hitter available. If the big boys coming up all become great hitters, we shouldn’t worry about handedness. ’08 sucked, but I blame the Cubs hitters playing bad more than I credit the RH LA pitchers. (our brilliant manager gave them too much time off, they were rusty).

          2. Soda Popinski

            That is debatable. I’m hearing there’s a possibility, but he’ll probably move to outfield. And above, by number one I meant number four.

    4. MightyBear

      What do you think is the cause for lack of power? Steroids testing? Pitching catching up after the expansion? Interleague scheduling? A little help.

      1. MightyBear

        Kyle?

      2. Voice of Reason

        Kids aren’t playing baseball anymore.

        Your true athletes are becoming wrestling stars….

        CM Punk, Randy Orton, John Cena

        to name a few.

        1. Jon

          not a sport

        2. mjhurdle

          seriously?

        3. Soda Popinski

          Oh wow, this made me laugh. Although I’ve always wanted to see The Ultimate Warrior in Cubbie blue…

      3. Kyle

        No idea. That’s above my pay grade. Could be some combination of all those things, though better PED testing/a culture that actively disdains them instead of tactily accepting them is probably a big part of it.

      4. Jon

        I think it’s pretty obvious it’s the PED testing.

        1. Ken

          I think another albeit lesser reason is that having two expansions in five years in 1993 & 1998 thinned out the pitching pool and while that was happening many hitter friendly parks were being built. But PED testing is the main reason.

          1. dw8

            If one wants to consider home runs as a measure of power, HRs aren’t down that much from the “steroid era”.

            For example in 2012 there were 4934 total HRs.
            Definitely down from the pretesting era of 99-06 but close for example:

            5,059 HR 2002
            5,017 HR 2005

            and definitely higher than the era previous to the “steroid era”
            My guess is that contact has reached such a low point that it seems like power is down because overall run scoring is down. lower run environment likely more tied to lower OBP.

            OBP= Life

            http://www.baseball-almanac.com/hitting/hihr6.shtml

            1. dw8

              4661 in 2013

              1. jt

                an 8% drop in a decade or so.
                How many parks have had their fences moved in during that period?

    5. Ken

      Hoyer said as much when they signed Soler. Raw power was going to become one fo the rarer commodities in the games with the advent of the new “rules” (re: testing).

  13. CeeDeeVee

    Heyman reports Jose Castro and Gary Jones are candidates for the Cubs’ coaching staff & nothing is finalized. I had to look these guys up & I’m not really impressed.

  14. Eric

    Power will only be a scarce commodity until MLB decides that the lack thereof is hurting interest in the game. Then we’ll have another juiced-ball era.

    1. Professor Snarks

      Cool.

      Rizzo, Bryant , and Baez hitting with a juiced ball? I’m in.

  15. North Side Irish

    Gordon Wittenmyer ‏@GDubCub 3m
    Mueller Time for Cubs hitters? Sources say Cubs targeting former batting champ as coach http://bit.ly/1eIs5Fd

    I liked him a lot last time he was at Wrigley…until that f@#$ing Busch Stadium wall destroyed his knee.

  16. Jed

    So how do we hire Bryant as our hitting coach?

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.