A few minute in the past
MESA, Ariz. — Just a few days in the past, the massive query was whether or not Kris Bryant would make it by means of spring coaching in a Chicago Cubs uniform.
After Bryant met with supervisor David Ross on Wednesday morning, the query was whether or not Bryant could be the Cubs’ subsequent leadoff man.
The reply, Ross later revealed, was sure.
“My purpose is to place the perfect gamers and the perfect at-bats within the high of the order,” Ross mentioned. “Kris Bryant is a very good at-bat, will get on base, most likely one in all our greatest baserunners. His baseball IQ is extraordinarily excessive. So if you speak about placing the perfect gamers in baseball on the high of the order, that’s our greatest participant, and I wish to put him on the high.”
Bryant, who usually hit second or third within the lineup for the primary 5 years of his profession, mentioned he would embrace the brand new function.
“I led off my entire junior 12 months in faculty, and I gained each faculty award — first-team All-American, the Golden Spikes Award,” he mentioned, referring to the respect given to the perfect beginner participant within the nation.
So he likes main off?
“It’s effective,” he mentioned. “I take a look at the two-hole as one other leadoff hitter, too. So you may interchange these. The previous three years we actually haven’t had somebody who was caught within the leadoff gap and stayed there.
“I feel we completely took Dexter (Fowler) with no consideration whereas he was right here. I actually did. He was up there working nice at-bats, and he was all the time on base, had a excessive on-base share. That confirmed within the numbers after (he left).
“We’ve had a lot turnover and guys attempting out (within the spot), you don’t get that consistency. If I must be the man that’s up there that’s going to be constant and be on base, I’ll be that man.”
Ross additionally hinted Anthony Rizzo would bat second, calling Bryant-Rizzo “an excellent 1-2 punch on the high.”
So Rizzo is batting second?
“Perhaps,” Ross mentioned with a smile.
That may make “Bryzzo” the brand new Day by day Double — the nickname broadcaster Harry Caray coined for the 1-2 hitters Bob Dernier and Ryne Sandberg in 1984.
“Pay attention, I’ve thought this factor to demise,” Ross mentioned of his lineups. “And I’m nonetheless eager about it.”
Bryant requested to be the primary hitter throughout a dwell batting follow session Tuesday in opposition to Tyler Chatwood. Bryant doesn’t know whether or not he’ll lead off within the Cactus League opener Saturday in opposition to the A’s.
Bryant has led off solely seven instances in his profession, going 9 for 28 (.321) with a .387 on-base share. He has a .398 profession OBP within the No. 2 gap, his most frequent spot, and a .361 OBP within the third spot, the place the crew’s greatest hitter often resides.
Cubs leadoff hitters had been final within the majors in 2019 with a .294 OBP after ending second in that class in 2018 (.366), once they gained 95 video games.
“That leadoff spot has been an actual factor round right here since Dexter left,” Ross mentioned. “The way in which (Bryant has) dealt with all of the conditions he’s been in in his profession and risen to the event a number of the instances, he can deal with that. … I might hate to be on the opposite facet and take a look at that large boy step within the field and lead issues off with what he can do.”
Bryant conceded it’s totally different than main off in faculty and mentioned he would possibly ask some veteran leadoff males, like Fowler, for some recommendation.
“The most important factor with hitting on the high of the order is that fifth at-bat,” he mentioned. “I would like that fifth at-bat, and I’ve carried out that for 5 years, now happening six years. So I’ve the proper mindset to do it.”
Ross mentioned he’ll keep on with the lineup and gained’t transfer Bryant if he struggles on the outset.
“That screams panic if you begin to change all that,” Ross mentioned.
Bryant mentioned he’s prepared to do something he’s requested and all the time has been. He is also prepared to play heart area extra usually if requested.
“Generally that’s misinterpreted or not checked out sufficient,” he mentioned of his willingness to maneuver round, including “I really like heart area.”