Bryant named Southern League Hitter of Week
ST. LOUIS -- Kris Bryant had a good week last week. Javier Baez, not so much. It's all part of their development.
On Monday, Bryant -- the Cubs' No. 2 prospect -- was named the Southern League Hitter of the Week after batting .464. He scored 12 runs, hit a double, belted four homers and drove in 14 runs. Bryant also posted his first multihomer game as well and set single-game highs in runs (four) and RBIs (six).
"Those are all great things to build on," Cubs manager Rick Renteria said Monday. "Obviously, he's having a lot of positive outcomes from his performances between the lines. It's something to add to his resume.
"All these guys, as they chip away and gain more and more experience in the Minor Leagues and continue to develop their skills playing on an everyday basis there, it brings them closer to where everybody ultimately expects them to be down the road," Renteria said. "Even when they get here at some point, whenever that is, it's all still a learning experience, as we can tell from a lot of the guys we have now."
Baez didn't have as good a week. He batted .158 (3-for-19) with seven strikeouts. The Cubs' No. 1 prospect, Baez was batting .151 in 25 games at Triple-A Iowa with three homers, one double and 38 strikeouts. Renteria said he heard that the shortstop got off to a slow start last season as well.
"It could be the consequences of getting to Triple-A and pitchers seeing him and seeing what he can do and trying to work him a little bit, which is really important for his development because he has to grow some patience," Renteria said. "Those are positive things for us right now at this point, because patience is one of the things he'll have to have. Once they see him get the barrel on the ball, they'll likely not to want to give him anything to hit. He's got to draw them into the web so to speak."
Renteria said Baez is facing Major League-quality pitching in the Minors.
"He's going to face guys who have been up and down, been in the big leagues, have an idea, read swings, know the tendencies a hitter might have, how anxious they might get, what they want to do, and take advantage of it," Renteria said. "That's why he has to also understand they know what they're doing and make an adjustment. It's a little game in the game."
Bryant wasn't the only Cubs Minor Leaguer to be honored Monday. Iowa's Chris Rusin, who threw a no-hitter last week, was named the Pacific Coast League's Pitcher of the Week. Rusin's no-hitter Wednesday was the PCL's first since 2009, and 145th all time.
The lefty walked two and struck out three in his 118-pitch outing. He held New Orleans to three baserunners on the day and retired 17 in a row at one point.