Charting a Course: Visual Proof of Kris Bryant’s Awesomeness
The Cubs have had as busy an offseason as any team in the majors (well, except for the Padres and A’s). They have added two catchers (sorry, Beef), an everyday OF (Dexter Fowler), a top-of-the-rotation arm (Jon Lester), welcomed back a starter from last year (Jason Hammel) and said goodbye to a bat-flipping icon (Luis Valbuena).
The trade of Valbuena and Dan Straily to the Astros for Fowler was a bold move that seemingly cleared the path for Kris Bryant to either break camp with the team (less likely) or at least come up after short stint in AAA with Mike Olt keeping the hot corner warm (see what I did there?).
The arrival of Kris Bryant will be one of the biggest stories of the early part of the season. He has been considered one of the top 2 prospects in all of baseball by many publications/sites. Except for Baseball Prospectus, which ranked Bryant as the 5th best prospect and led Evan to ask why BP hates him?
I did some digging around on Bryant, whose numbers since being taken #2 in the 2013 MLB Draft are video game-like. In that time, all Bryant has done is slashed .327/.428/.666 in 620 at-bats over 174 games. He has hit 52 HRs with 142 RBI, 97 BB and 197 Ks.
In fact his 22 HRs in a half a season at AA Tennessee were good enough for 2nd place in the league; but the thing is, he played in 67 fewer games than the guy that took the crown with 28. In AAA Iowa, he still finished in the top 15 with 21 HRs in about 50 fewer games than most of his competition.
Want to see something cool?
Are you sure; it is really cool?
Okay, I’ll show you. Here are some Kris Bryant spray charts to brighten your day.
First up: all of his HRs from 2014 (courtesy of MLBfarm.com)
By my count, that is 17 HRs to left and the remaining 26 to center, right-center and right field. I think the scout terminology for that is “power to all fields.”
Now let’s look at his non-HR hits and where those ended up in 2014:
The dot is his lone triple to CF, the triangles are doubles and the squares are singles. He still uses all of the field, but you can definitely see more of a pull approach from his non-HR hits (roughly 60% of his hits are pulled).
The Heat Map below further shows that Bryant is primarily a pull hitter, but can and does use a pretty good portion of the field.
Finally, here is another visual breakdown of Kris Bryant’s ABs by result. The most frequent was strikeout, but it is still pretty interesting look.
The last piece of information at MLBFarm.com that I found interesting was Bryant’s matchups against the Top 20 Prospects in baseball. He had 135 ABs against these types, with a .333 BA, 11 HRs, 42 Ks, and 22 BB (25.9%: K% and 13.6%: BB%). Yeah, he is pretty solid against the best competition he could have faced at the time.
Kris Bryant is a top prospect and has been in the conversation for overall top farmhand in the entire game all offseason. It doesn’t matter if he is ranked 1st, 2nd, or 5th (said sarcastically while shaking my head in the direction of BP), Kris Bryant is what we thought he was…awesome!