Bryant's Deep But Very Good Slump, Russell's Return, Cubs Draft Strategy, and Other Bullets

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Bryant’s Deep But Very Good Slump, Russell’s Return, Cubs Draft Strategy, and Other Bullets

Chicago Cubs News

The Little Girl has a big gymnastics/dance performance today, and I’m really stoked to see it. She is currently preparing for a post-performance celebration by, among other things, decorating the living room with her old leotards (taping them to the walls, to be precise).

  • It’s no secret why Joe Maddon popped Kris Bryant up to the top of the lineup yesterday and today, given that he does that often when a guy isn’t hitting well. Interestingly, although Bryant is in the longest homer-less slump of his career, he’s still not been a negative offensive player. Get this: since he last homered on May 14, and before yesterday’s three-hit game, Bryant was hitting .310/.376/.393 with a 111 wRC+. It takes a pretty special player for that to be recognized as a deep slump.
  • Which, to be fair, that is a slump for Bryant, who has been hitting for no power, is walking just 9.7% of the time, and is striking out a whopping (for him) 24.7% of the time. He’s a bit off, there’s no question about it. “My expectations of myself are high and I get frustrated with myself easily, because I expect a lot of myself and my teammates expect a lot of me and I want to give it all I’ve got,” Bryant told Cubs.com. “Sometimes, when you don’t feel right in terms of mechanics and stuff like that, it’s frustrating. That’s kind of where I’ve been at.” But he’s staying in a positive mindset: “I think there are a lot of people who would love to trade what I’m doing this year, and that’s my perspective now.” And, of course, even when he’s not hitting homers, Bryant still gets hits, still gets on base, still plays good defense, and is still one of the best baserunners in the game.
(Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
  • As you could see in the lineup, Addison Russell is back in there starting today after appearing as a defensive replacement late yesterday. Hopefully this brief absence (and the finger injury) won’t set him back in the offensive progress he was making.
  • Hey, let’s enjoy Ian Happ’s trio of great catches again:

  • Happ knows that last one was pretty darn special: “You just want to make the play. To be able to make the play for them like that and the atmosphere here, and making the last out on a diving play like that is pretty cool.” (Cubs.com)
  • The Cubs used their 39th round pick on a cancer-surviving catcher who is just finishing up his treatment before resuming his baseball career, and it turns out their 40th round pick also has an extremely compelling story:

  • The Athletic also has a great read on the Cubs’ draft overall, and how – among other things – the organization made a conscious decision to spend more resources specifically scouting high school position players they thought might be available to them with their second round and compensatory picks. Good decision, as they wound up drafting Arizona high school outfielder Brennen Davis in the second round, and then California high school outfielder Cole Roederer with one of their post-second round compensatory picks. You get the sense that these were among the guys in this group that the Cubs were really hoping to land, and they did. In other words, even if the third parties services saw the picks as reaches, the Cubs clearly don’t agree.
  • This is pretty awesome:

  • Last night was the Hot Stove Cool Music event, raising funds for charity:

  • Notable injury updates from the Nationals: Adam Eaton has finally returned (again) from his ankle injury, and Stephen Strasburg left yesterday’s start early with what the Nats are currently dubbing shoulder inflammation.
  • Taylor Davis can still help at some point at the big league level as a depth catcher with a decent bat, but he is also a different kind of prospect:

  • Padres pitcher Jose Torres has received a 100-game suspension under the league’s domestic violence policy.
  • Welp, gonna have to tell The Wife that Melissa & Doug outdoor kids toy stuff is a Deal of the Day at Amazon, because our kids love this stuff.

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Author: Brett Taylor

Brett Taylor is the Editor and Lead Writer at Bleacher Nation, and you can find him on Twitter at @BleacherNation and @Brett_A_Taylor.