Bryant showing pop in early Cactus League action
MESA, Ariz. -- When Rick Renteria was the Padres bench coach last season, he read about Kris Bryant's exploits at the University of San Diego. It was tough to miss the reports on the third baseman, who led the nation with 31 home runs.
"His coverage was extensive," Renteria said. "The Padres were obviously scouting him, also. He was on everybody's radar, I think."
The Cubs grabbed Bryant with the second pick overall in the 2013 First-Year Player Draft, and Renteria, now Chicago's manager, gets a first-hand look at the lanky third baseman. On Friday, Bryant hit his second spring home run, and is tied with Justin Ruggiano for most RBIs on the Cubs this spring.
"That was a tough pitch he hit yesterday," Renteria said of the second-inning, opposite-field homer off the Indians' Carlos Carrasco. "It was down and away and off the plate a little bit. He's an extremely strong man. That was a well-driven ball, obviously. It's like a left-handed hitter hit it."
Bryant, who won the Golden Spikes Award as the top collegiate player last year, hit his first home run in his first Cactus League at-bat.
"We know that he's got that type of pop," Renteria said. "His hands work extremely well. It's nice to see him having some success here in the spring. He's a very confident kid."
The 6-foot-5 Bryant has been compared physically to Troy Glaus, and although some scouts predict he will end up moving from third to the outfield, Renteria likes Bryant where he's at.
"He's been playing and working at third and doing well," Renteria said. "I know the argument is that a tall person has a tougher time getting down, but [Bryant's] feet move well and he's working real hard. Time will tell if that's what ends up happening. He's doing real well there now."