Earlier today – by way of Ken Rosenthal – we discussed how Cubs’ third baseman and outfielder Kris Bryant might soon share a pretty unique distinction with long-time Cardinal great Stan Musial.
Much to the chagrin of Cardinal fans everywhere, that means Bryant must be doing something pretty special here in 2016.
As I’m sure you already know, Kris Bryant’s 7.5 WAR currently leads all of Major League baseball, including Mike Trout.
But what you may not have known is that Bryant leads in a number of other important offensive categories as well. So let’s strap in and enjoy a smile-inducing ride through his MVP-caliber season.
On Sunday, Kris Bryant went 2-3 with a walk and a double, continuing what is now a ten-game hitting streak. He went hitless in four plate appearances back on August 17th (with the streak beginning the next day), but even including that performance he’s only gone four games without a hit in the month of August. Needless to say, he’s been on fire. And it’s not just August.
Check out some statistics with his NL ranking in parenthesis:
- AVG: .305 (15th)
- OBP: .398 (5th)
- SLG: .588 (2nd)
- Homers: 35 (T-1st)
- RBI: 89 (T-3rd)
- Runs: 107 (1st)
- ISO: .283 (3rd)
- wRC+: .160 (1st)
- wOBA: .413 (1st)
- Plate Appearances: 568 (2nd)*
While his average ranks just 15th, it remains firmly above the arbitrary .300 AVG cutoff mark and comes from arguably the best slugger in the game, so … that’s way more than acceptable.
As for power, Bryant trails only Daniel Murphy in slugging percentage, is tied for the most homers, and has the third highest ISO in the NL. That said, the two guys ahead of him in ISO (Nolan Arenado and Trevor Story) are both members of the Colorado Rockies – who play half of their games in the offensive haven of Coors Field. So I’d say Bryant’s title as the NL’s slugging king is unchallenged at the moment.
But let’s back up for a second.
With yet another big game on Sunday, Bryant is now your NL leader in wRC+ and wOBA – two of the more well-rounded/all-encompassing offensive statistics we have. I know neither measure is perfect, but very few statistics are. And when many different methods of calculating a player’s offensive contributions all point to the same guy on top, their collective accuracy can be better trusted/believed.
So then, yes, Kris Bryant has taken over as the single biggest offensive contributor in the National League, edging out the Nationals’ Daniel Murphy (.411 wOBA, 158 wRC+) by a hair. The season isn’t quite over yet, but given Bryant’s far superior defensive value, as well as his base-running ability, Bryant is looking like a pretty clear favorite for the National League’s MVP.
*[Brett: I added that one just to underscore that these rate stats in which Bryant is leading the NL? He’s also been doing it over the course of more plate appearances than anyone in the entire NL except for Paul Goldschmidt. Big sample size alert.]
And for a little added fun, I thought I’d point out that Bryant’s 7.5 WAR (so far) in 2016, already ranks as the 14th most valuable season in Chicago Cubs history … with over a month to go! If he simply plays to his his statistical projections for the remainder of the season (Zips, Steamer), Bryant’s 2016 season will tie Ernie Banks (1958) as the fifth most productive Cubs season since 1900.
If he continues to out-perform them though …