After leading all of college baseball with 31 home runs, being drafted No. 2 overall in the MLB draft by the Chicago Cubs, hitting .336 in his first minor league season, and winning the MVP of the Arizona Fall League, you’d think he had raised expectations as high as he possibly could. Well, think again.
In the very first Spring Training at bat of his entire career, Bryant belted a 420 foot bomb to straight away centerfield. The effortless motion, the easy follow through, and the raw power had Cubs fans frothing at the mouth. He’s still going to start this season at Double-A, but if he continues to play the way he has over the past year and a half, he may not be there long.
Even though it is just one at bat, the drama involved in the team’s top prospect belting a mammoth home run in his first ever Spring Training appearance has already put him on the map. He’s gaining more recognition at the national level already, and that could steadily continue until he makes his major league debut. For Cubs fans, all it means is there’s something to look forward to.
In that same inning, top prospects Jorge Soler, Albert Almora and Arismendy Alcantara all had plate appearances and the core of the Cubs’ future didn’t disappoint. They accounted for two out of the three runs that the squad scored on the day in a lopsided 15-3 loss. Where Bryant’s home run provided hope for the future, the rest of the prospects provided optimism; perhaps this farm system isn’t too good to be true.
This single home run is going to make Cubs fans want for management to get Bryant in the big leagues right away, but that won’t happen. He’s going to get his at bats in the minors and if he dominates, he will be in Chicago soon. The same goes for the rest of the Cubs’ top hitting prospects as they progress through the minor leagues.
Whether most prospects start getting called up this year or next, Bryant’s home run mixed with the production from other top hitting prospects has Cubs fans hoping that in a few seasons, “next year” may in fact be here.