Kris Bryant and Craig Kimbrel are 2021 MLB All-Stars!

If I could start in the awkward place – which I will, because it’s out there – you probably couldn’t have picked two better players to have All-Star first halves for the Cubs in 2021. Yes, you would want Kris Bryant and Craig Kimbrel to be awesome in the first half regardless of what was going to happen to the overall team. But let’s be honest adults here: if the Cubs weren’t going to compete in 2021 – and the offseason sure suggested that wasn’t the top aim – then your ideal scenario was that the losses would pile up in spite of key guys who could become trade pieces having great seasons.

It sucks. It’s cynical. And maybe I’m overreacting to a nine-game losing streak. But I’m surveying the landscape, and if Bryant and Kimbrel were going to wind up on the trade market eventually, at least they’ve played their way to retaining maximum value.

OK. Awkward part over. Now just the celebration for two guys who’ve been great most of this season, and deserve the honors they secured today.

On the year, Bryant is hitting .272/.355/.511 (136 wRC+), and importantly has done so while playing all over defensively for the Cubs (and playing well all over, too). His 2.2 WAR is tied for 16th in the National League.

Kimbrel, easily one of the best five relievers in baseball this year, looks as good as he’s looked in a decade. Not sure what else you can say about his performance, other than to note that he was a mortal lock for an All-Star nod. Nobody had any questions that this was coming.

Congrats to both Cubs, deserving of their spots, and I hope they have a great game next week. Probably with Cubs caps on.

written by

Brett Taylor is the Lead Cubs Writer at Bleacher Nation, and you can find him on Twitter at @BleacherNation and on LinkedIn here. Brett is also the founder of Bleacher Nation, which opened up shop in 2008 as an independent blog about the Chicago Cubs. Later growing to incorporate coverage of other Chicago sports, Bleacher Nation is now one of the largest regional sports blogs on the web.

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