Before last night’s win, Kris Bryant had played in 15 games with the Cubs since returning from a shoulder injury on September 1st. And during that short time back, he actually hit for plenty of average, and got on-base at a near-elite rate: .298/.382/.404 (116 wRC+). The problem, as you can see, is that he failed to hit for much power.
That’s been the obvious issue for him going way back several months to when the shoulder injury first developed, and it hasn’t improved as the season has gone on. Indeed, before last night, Bryant had hits in 10 of his 15 games, including five doubles and three multi-hit efforts, but no homers to speak of.
Of course, that changed last night, and Cubs color man Jim Deshaies was ALL over it.
No, really. He didn’t just say something along the lines of “Kris Bryant is due for a homer here.” He literally said “I’m calling it,” and then … it happened:
Called it! 🔊 pic.twitter.com/N4vNpS2uxy
— MLB (@MLB) September 18, 2018
Yeah, time to put down the mic, J.D. – that’s as good as it’ll ever get.
According to Statcast, that homer left the bat at 100 MPH and traveled 395 feet, thanks to a really solid 26-degree launch angle. It wasn’t toasted, but that’s no cheapy either. And with that homer (plus the single and walk he added earlier in the game), Bryant’s post-injury slash line improves once again.
The 26-year-old third baseman is now slashing .320/.407/.480 (141 wRC+) since September 1st, which is well above average, and precisely in line with his career numbers (141 wRC+). If this level of performance remains through the end of the season, the Cubs’ lineup should start producing with more consistency.
And maybe J.D. can call a few more homers while he’s at it.