As Luke mentioned this morning, Kris Bryant ripped his 43rd homer of the minor league season last night, giving him the lead in the minors by three. It’s just another day at the office for the best slugging prospect in baseball:
That particular shot is starting to look like the patented homer for Bryant: elevated pitch on the outer half, relaxed swing with extension, ball goes way out to right center. He makes it look so, so easy to hit homers there – and it’s not.
Bryant’s teammate – and future teammate – Jorge Soler has heated back up with great aplomb, and he homered again last night, too:
I like how both the announcer and the left fielder seem to think off the bat that there’s a chance it’s a catchable ball. The left fielder tracks it back to the wall … but it’s actually gone by about a million feet.
Soler’s minor league line this year is up to .338/.432/.687 between AA and AAA, with a short stop at Rookie Ball. It’s pretty much unfathomable that there’s a better minor league line out there anywhere, let alone on the same damn team, but there is. It belongs to Bryant, who is at .333/.443/.682. I love that Bryant’s line is just a *tiny* bit better, and they are both absolutely insane performances.
Speaking of insane performances, top Cubs pick Kyle Schwarber homered again yesterday. And then again. Yes, that’s correct: Schwarber homered twice yesterday after homering in each of his last four games. That’s six homers in five games, and my jaw is on the floor. Here’s the description of one of the homers (no video), which paints the picture of a very-much-not-cheapy:
— Daytona Cubs (@daytonacubs) August 24, 2014
With that homer, Schwarber elevated his Florida State League line to an unthinkable .314/.417/.613. For the season, Schwarber has played 67 games between Boise, Kane County, and Daytona (with more than half coming at Daytona), and he’s hitting .354/.444/.671. I’m not sayin’ nothin’, but last year, Kris Bryant played 36 minor league games, the plurality of which was at Boise, and hit .336/.390/.688. Remember how earth-shattering that was to us? Schwarber is topping it by a mile, given the level and the larger sample size. It’s only because of what the guys in the upper levels – including Bryant – are doing that we don’t daily swoon at Schwarber’s season. It’s nuts.
Speaking of guys killing it at the upper levels, how about another Addison Russell homer?
Just don’t come inside on him, man. He will get his hands in, he will get around on the ball, and he will drive it somewhere a long way.
Since coming to the Cubs in early July, Russell is now hitting .297/.339/.560 *as a 20-year-old, quality-defensive shortstop at AA.* I will never stop emphasizing that last part. Given the impending promotions and injuries ahead of him on prospect lists, Russell has a pretty clear chance to be the top prospect in baseball come next June/July. Hell, even without the injuries and/or promotions, I’m not sure he shouldn’t be getting some consideration. What he’s doing is ridiculous.
Now, for the cherry on top of this Cubs homer bonanza split, Arismendy Alcantara showed off his quick wrist power yesterday with his fourth big league homer. You can watch it here. Looking at him, you just don’t see how that ball goes out – or even as far as it does. Strength comes in a lot of shapes and sizes, and Alcantara has it. The bat speed helps, too.
Whether he finishes the season with good, bad, or ugly big league numbers, you’ve got to say this was a very successful year for Alcantara, who is, you’ll note, only 22.