Chicago Cubs 2016 NL Central Championship Gear

kris bryant cubs smile[Since these are your de facto Bullets for the morning, I’ll include this here: unfortunately, Luke and I had to cancel our trip to Iowa this weekend. The forecast as of last night was for significant rain all weekend, with the highest chances for storms precisely at game time on Saturday and Sunday. We didn’t want to risk making our one trip to Iowa for the year and not being able to see a single game. So we’re going to try again another time. We’re very sorry to folks who were going to come out, and, believe me, we’re just as bummed as you.]

Would you call Kris Bryant’s debut yesterday a success? There were the three strikeouts and a hard groundout, but there was also a lot of nice, steady defense at third base. Bryant wasn’t able to come through in some big situations, but that happens most of the time for the game’s best veteran players.

I think it was a fine, acceptable debut. They don’t always come with the easily-written, storybook tag lines. Kris Bryant’s debut was a baseball game that happened. He did some things well, struggled against a very good pitcher, and that was it. One game down.

  • All in all, Bryant thought it was a successful debut, despite his rough day at the plate and the bad outcome for the team – the young man really has such a level head (, CSN). Like I said – it was just a debut. Get it done, and then get ready for the rest of the season. In some ways, maybe this is better for Bryant in the medium term, because the weight of expectation and pressure would have been utterly insane if he’d, for example, hit a couple bombs.
  • Bryant was asked about being sent to Iowa to start the season, and the service time implications of that (he now won’t reach free agency until after 2021, rather than 2020), but he indicated there was no bad blood, and he’s just focused on playing baseball. Pretty much what you’d expect him to say. More on that, and Theo Epstein’s comments on the same, here from Patrick Mooney.
  • Through one game, Bryant has been worth -0.1 WAR, so he’s going to be a -16.2 WAR player over a full season. (That is a joke in every way.)

  • That’s also a joke because I don’t think the defense has fully factored in yet (not that you would ever actually do that based on one game), which I suspect will look very favorably on Bryant’s debut. Here’s all of his defensive plays, some of which are very good, and he had a ton of chances:

  • I think the chopper behind the bag was my favorite. If you were going to pick nits, you’d say that the throws to first could have been a little more crisp, because they pulled Anthony Rizzo across the bag a couple times. Obviously you don’t want that.
  • On the day of his debut, it’s incredible that Bryant is still doing this kind of thing:

  • The father-son hug moment before the game that will pretty much reduce you to a puddle (either as a child, thinking about your parents, or as a parent, thinking about your children – or both):

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