Up until a week or so ago, it was really easy to take the high ground in the “Kris Bryant should not start the season in Chicago” argument. Then the future of baseball did what guys like him do as he proceeded to treat MLB spring training just like every other stop he’s had along his baseball journey.
Many were disappointed by the news that Bryant was to be a precautionary scratch from his half of the Cubs’ split squad outing in Vegas on Saturday. Of course, they were even more disappointed at the mention of shoulder fatigue, a catch-all phrase that can have varying degrees of severity.
But the cloud of sadness lasted little more than 2 innings, as Bryant entered the game in the 2nd inning as a DH. He proceeded to launch a Jesse Hahn pitch over the fence for a two run homer, his fifth of the spring, before touching up Evan Scribner for number 6, a solo shot.
After his second two-dinger performance in March, Bryant is hitting .450 (9-20) with 9 RBI and the aforementioned 6 bombs, a total that doubles the next-highest so far this spring. I suppose we should take that with a grain of salt though, since the guys in second place are Alex Rios, Matt Szczur, and Randal Grichuk.
Still, it’s not hard to see that this kid is the real deal. Honesty is indeed the best policy, and Kris Bryant is the truth. But while we’re on that honesty tip, let’s be real about the fact that the Cubs haven’t gotten to where they are by being reckless.
And while I wrote what has been called the dumbest article ever on the topic, I believe the Cubs will stick to their strategy and will keep Bryant in Iowa for a little extra seasoning when they break camp. When that happens, you can rest assured that there will be plenty of knee-jerk blowback from the peanut gallery.
If the Cubs can’t manage to win a couple of the first 9 games or so of the season without Kris Bryant, they don’t deserve a playoff spot. And as good as he is, one baseball player isn’t going to push a team from an also-ran to a contender in the space of two weeks.
At the risk of drawing more ire than usual, I’d urge folks not to forget that Mike Olt clubbed 12 home runs in the spring of 2014. That’s not to say Bryant and Olt are the same player, just to add a dash of perspective into the rampant overreaction that is building like St. Paddy’s Day in Wrigleyville.
Is Kris Bryant a good enough hitter to start the season in Chicago? Absolutely. Is that enough to necessitate his immediate promotion? No. But rather than get into any further discussion on the topic, let’s just enjoy what Bryant and the Cubs are doing right now: playing baseball and having fun.
And, oh, is it ever fun watching this guy hit the ball.