Kris Bryant, famously a free agent after this season, is hitting .309/.388/.588 with a 165 wRC+, third best in the National League. That, alone, would be impressive enough – Bryant getting back to MVP-caliber offensive form – but it’s what Bryant is doing on the defensive side that has really blown me away this year.
A natural third baseman, Bryant has not played that position in a month and a half. Instead, he’s been filling in for injuries and accommodating other players by moving to left field, center field, right field, and first base. To my eye, he’s played the positions passably well, too – not ever really standing out in a negative way, and occasionally sprinkling in a spectacular play.
Yesterday was one of those sprinkles. With a one-run lead and Craig Kimbrel on to close things out, Bryant was patrolling left field. He’d earlier in the game juuuust barely missed robbing a homer, and although he didn’t quite rob a homer in the 9th, he definitely robbed extra bases.
Kimbrel’s first pitch of the 9th was a whoopsie curveball that backed way up on him, and Mauricio Duban was ready to pounce. But Bryant tracked the ball to the wall, timed his leap, and snagged a sure-fire leadoff double:
Craig Kimbrel is all kinds of awesome, so maybe he nails things down even with that leadoff double. But it’s not hard to imagine a groundball here and a fly ball there and suddenly the game is tied. So I’ll go ahead and call that a game-saver by Bryant.
Great shot – so many happy Giants fans just about to get really unhappy:
Thought about cropping but too many good faces. pic.twitter.com/DnCHpD5rOt
— Chicago Cubs (@Cubs) June 6, 2021