Let's take a look at 10 of the most important attributes that should help to indicate what a prospect’s future might hold. Players are ranked on a scale of 1-10 by their qualities for each aspect, accumulating in a final prospect grade. Grades are based on what prospects can bring to the table from the current position they are projected to play in the major leagues.
Without further ado, let’s find out if Kris Bryant makes the grade…
1) Baseball IQ – To say Bryant experienced a smooth transition from college to professional ball would be an understatement. After being the top bat taken in last summer’s draft, Bryant hit for a .336 BA across 3 levels in the minors, before winning the MVP of the Arizona Fall League. Bryant’s ability and knowledge for the game has brought continued success at every stop thus far. Rating: 10 out of 10.
2) Batting-Eye – In a very small sample size, Bryant walked 11 times while striking out 35 times in 128 AB’s in the minors. We will have a better idea of what Bryant can do after seeing what numbers he puts up in 2014, but all signs point to a decent batting average with monster homerun potential. Rating: 9 out of 10.
3) Hit-Tool – Baseball America’s 2013 College Player of the Year put up very nice batting averages throughout his college career. He carried those numbers over into his professional debut in the minors this past summer, before replicating them again in the AFL. Baseball America states many scouts believe the prospect contains a 60-hit tool in this interesting piece on Bryant. Rating: 9 out of 10.
4) Power – The San Diego alum hit 31 long balls in his final college season, 10 more than any other college player in 2013. Bryant blasted 9 HR’s in 128 AB’s in the minors after being drafted. He then went on to hit 6 HR’s during 77 AB’s in the Arizona Fall League. Bryant is a MASHER. PERIOD. It won’t be long before the prospect is sending fly balls over the ivy at Wrigley Field. Rating: 10 out of 10.
5) Speed – The third baseman doesn’t contain blazing speed, or much potential in the SB department for that matter. The speed isn’t why you want to own this prospect, as Bryant should make up for the lack of SB’s by producing healthy totals in every other fantasy category. Rating: 7 out of 10.
6) Body – The 6’5", 215 pound 22 year-old is deceivingly athletic for his size. Although his size is somewhat of a concern at the hot corner, Bryant is athletic enough to stay at 3B for the foreseeable future. Unfortunately, the Cubs’ wealth of infield prospects is the more likely reason the team could eventually move the prospect to the outfield. Rating: 9 out of 10.
7) Durability – Bryant stayed healthy enough throughout his 3-year college career to earn numerous acclimates each year. As with many young prospects with no significant injury history, there isn’t much to be concerned about here yet. Rating: 10 out of 10.
8) Ceiling – With the way power in trending right now, Bryant contains the skill set to become a very valuable commodity and is capable of putting his name on the homerun leaderboard on a yearly basis. If the prospect continues on his current pace, Bryant could put up very similar fantasy numbers to Evan Longoria. Rating: 10 out of 10.
9) Floor – After the third baseman had no problems transitioning to play against some of the minor leagues’ best players in 2013, it is hard to imagine Bryant following on his face before reaching the majors. Bryant should at least become a quality fantasy option. Rating: 9 out of 10.
10) Future – Everything is on pace for Bryant to make his way to the majors by the end of the 2014 season. With recent rumors putting the prospect in Double-A to begin the 2014 season, the Cubs’ might only require a few months of success before shipping him to Triple-A. Rating: 10 out of 10.
Overall Grade: 93% - A
Future Outlook: Everything we have seen out of Kris Bryant to this point should leave fantasy managers very excited. Bryant has the tool set to blast at least 30 homeruns a year in the swirling winds of Wrigley Field. Along with Javier Baez, Bryant could give the Cubs’ 2 mid-season call-ups that could quickly become the teams’ top two bats. If Baez joins the majors before Bryant, which is expected, it will be telling to see where the team fits him into the lineup on defense. If Baez is transitioned to third base for the majors, the odds of Bryant being moved to the outfield increase dramatically. However, this bat will play at any position. If the #2 overall pick in last year’s MLB Draft continues on is current trajectory, fantasy owners will be happy to plug Bryant’s possible 30+ HR’s in at any position.