Valuing Kris Bryant at Different Positions and Other Bullets

## Valuing Kris Bryant at Different Positions and Other Bullets

I had a total ‘Inception’ night last night, where I literally dreamt that I was talking to The Wife about a dream I had within another dream. As in, I had the first dream, “woke up,” started to talk to The Wife about the dream, “woke up” again, and started to talk to The Wife about the original dream. But even that conversation was in a dream! The original was a really lame dream, by the way. Some slimy dude was hitting on The Wife, and then subsequent layers of dreams within dreams made it unclear if it had actually happened, and all of the conversations were about the previous dream level and whether the incident had actually happened.

And now I’ve just put you all to sleep. Better talk about Kris Bryant …

• Working on yesterday’s piece on the value the Cubs could lose by keeping Kris Bryant in the minors to start the 2015 season (turns out: it’s not much), I started wondering about a tangential valuation question that I think I’ll explore now. If we assume that Bryant could play league average defense at third base OR left field next year, and if we accept the projections Steamer currently has for Bryant’s offensive numbers, how much WAR would he be worth at 3B? How much would he be worth in LF? I’m just curious to see if it’s a striking difference. Using the Simple WAR Calculator
• At .265/.344/.489 over 600 plate appearances in 150 games, with average baserunning and with average defense in left field, Bryant would be worth about 3.2 WAR.
• At the same numbers and with the same assumptions, but playing average third base, Bryant would be worth about 4.1 WAR. That’s almost an entire extra win for exactly the same production. So, as you probably would have expected, if you can keep Bryant at third base, it’s probably worth trying.
• One more little experiment: since some believe Bryant has Gold Glove-caliber upside in the outfield, but average-at-best upside at third base, what happens if we once again use the same offensive production, but given Bryant the best possible defensive rating in left field, and the worst possible rating at third? Well, the third base WAR drops all the way to 2.6, and the left field WAR increases to 4.7. In other words, yeah, all things equal, Bryant at third base clearly provides the most value. But … all things might not be equal. This is why the decision makers get paid the big bucks.
• As mentioned in this morning’s Enhanced Box Score, Addison Russell had a big game in the AFL yesterday, notching his first homer of the year. You can read more from Russell on the game and on the AFL, in general, here.
• A fun read on Cubs outfield prospect Bijan Rademacher, who is making the most of his limited opportunities in the AFL. Although his upside is mostly likely as a reserve outfielder, Rademacher’s 2014 season was quietly excellent. He’s a guy to watch for a potential breakout in 2015.
• A little slice of Wrigleyville in South Bend for the new Cubs affiliate there?
• Mike Petriello took on the “Big Game James” thing about James Shields at FanGraphs (before his unsuccessful World Series opener), and looked into why it hasn’t worked out for him in the playoffs in the same way it has in the regular season. I’m still very much on board with the Cubs pursuing Shields, but I should probably emphasize at some point that it’s not like I’m saying he’d be my number one target for the Cubs regardless of money. I’m just saying it would be nice for the Cubs to have as many palatable quality options as possible.
• If you missed the latest Saber Shorts video, it was on wOBA, and you can see it below (and you can subscribe to the BNTV YouTube page so you don’t miss any others, and you can forever safely ignore reminders like this one instead of blasting me in the comments for how much you hate reminders):

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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.