Kris Bryant's Speed Value, DL Usage, Old Friends, and Other Bullets

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Kris Bryant’s Speed Value, DL Usage, Old Friends, and Other Bullets

Chicago Cubs

We got through yesterday reasonably well at the Absurd Taylor House of Ailments, though a humorous new challenge has arrived: a beeping smoke detector. Of course, it’s nice and high up on the ceiling, so my ability to change the battery is virtually non-existent (well, that is to say, I *could* do it, but one-legging it atop a ladder seems unreasonably dangerous). Instead, I’ll have to direct The Sick Wife to do it, but she’s resting right now. And the thing is driving … me … mad.

  • Mike Petriello took an analytical look at some fast guys in baseball that you wouldn’t expect to be fast, and yes, all Cubs fans know big, tall, Kris Bryant is going to be on a list like this. Remember when the Cubs rallied to beat the Cardinals last year when Bryant scored from first base on an Anthony Rizzo single? He can fly.
  • Petriello’s piece is a fun read, though it did get me thinking about the added value Bryant gets from his speed (extra infield hits, fewer double plays, an extra base hit here and there), and what might happen to that value as he gets into his late-20s. Speed is usually the first skill to go, and, for the non-elite speed guys (like Bryant), it’s usually gone well before the player turns 30. To be sure, he can still be a good baserunner, because so much of that is about quickness, vision, and instincts. But the pure speed is probably going to noticeably taper off in the next few years.
  • It’s also worth noting here that Bryant’s baserunning runs value at FanGraphs (BsR) was 4.8 last year, 12th in baseball. That was down from 7.3 in 2016 (5th in baseball), and 7.1 in 2015 (4th in baseball). By Statcast’s Sprint Speed, however, Bryant actually increased his pure speed from 28.1 ft/sec in 2016 to 28.2 ft/sec in 2017. So maybe he’s hanging on a bit at the ripe old age of 26.
(Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images)
  • Speaking of a Bryant losing speed, this is a serious bummer for Kris Bryant’s wife, Jessica:

  • Hopefully she can be on the Kyle Schwarber recovery plan, and gets back in time for the Laser Tag World Series. In all seriousness: best of luck with the recovery.
  • Speaking of injuries, Michael wrote about the the Cubs’ limited use of the disabled list last year – least in baseball – and I don’t disagree that the Cubs deserve health-related credit. But it’s also true that there were more than a couple times when they went shorthanded and it seemed like they could have just stood to let a guy rest for 10 days and get someone else up. I don’t think it was quite an epidemic (how much does having an extra AAA bench bat around really matter for five to ten games?), but it’s something we were noting throughout the season with some frustration. Thing is, you’ve kinda gotta have better shuttle-able talent at AAA for it to really make a difference.
  • Old friends …

  • You had to know this was coming eventually, and I say good for Joe:

  • He was a big BN reader and commenter until his demise:

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Author: Brett Taylor

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