With only seven seasons under his belt, Kris Bryant has already racked up a career’s worth of accolades that includes both an NL Rookie of the Year and MVP award, five All-Star Game selections and a curse-breaking World Series victory with the Cubs in 2016. Now, for the first time, the 29-year-old is a free agent, following his playoff trip with the Giants.
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Here’s what you need to know about Bryant:
Birthdate: Jan. 4, 1992 (Age 30 in 2022)
Primary positions: 3B/OF
Height/weight: 6-foot-5, 230 lbs.
Place of birth: Las Vegas, NV
School(s): Bonanza (NV) HS; University of San Diego (CA)
Drafted: 1st round (2nd), 2013, by Cubs
MLB debut: April 17, 2015
Qualifying offer: Not eligible to receive one
STAT TO KNOW
Out of more than 400 batters with at least 1,000 plate appearances since his rookie season in 2015, Bryant has the 17th-highest on-base percentage at .376, which ranks above players like Mookie Betts, Jose Altuve, Vladimir Guerrero Jr. and Justin Turner. He’s also tied with Charlie Blackmon for 22nd-highest OPS in that same span, sitting at .880.
What is Bryant's position moving forward? Third base has been his primary spot over the course of his career, but this season, Bryant played a career-high 93 games in the outfield -- spending time at all three spots -- compared with 55 at third and 12 at first. He wasn’t great anywhere, recording -9 Outs Above Average overall, including -4 OAA at his natural position of third. While positional versatility can be a plus, it also might help Bryant to settle in at one spot as he passes his 30th birthday.
He just had his best postseason performance to date
It was a brief five-game stint, but Bryant’s performance in the 2021 NLDS with the Giants was his best in his six trips to the postseason. Bryant posted a line of .471/.500/.647 with a home run in 18 plate appearances against the Dodgers. His 1.147 OPS in the series tops his former best of 1.099, which came against the Giants in the 2016 NLDS. He has a career .749 OPS in the playoffs.
His start with the Cubs was historic
Bryant spent the first six and a half years of his career in Chicago, and his time there is etched in the team’s history books. Out of all Cubs players to log at least 100 games through their age-28 season, Bryant’s .889 OPS is tied for seventh highest in franchise history -- better than Hall of Famers Ron Santo and Billy Williams and just .024 points behind “Mr. Cub” himself, Ernie Banks. Bryant also has the sixth-most home runs under that criteria, more than another Hall of Famer in Ryne Sandberg.
He’s the best player ever from his school
Bryant’s alma mater, the University of San Diego, isn’t a traditional baseball powerhouse, but it's still produced 86 MLB Draft picks, including 18 who have gone on to play in the Majors. None, however, has been quite as good as Bryant. Out of the 43.5 WAR collected by the school’s Draft picks, Bryant accounts for 28.7. That’s nearly double what the other 17 players have combined for (14.8 WAR). If you loop in the two other major San Diego schools -- San Diego State University and UC San Diego -- only Tony Gwynn, Graig Nettles, Mark Grace and Stephen Strasburg have more WAR than Bryant.
He was part of a stacked Team USA
Speaking of college, Bryant was selected to USA Baseball’s Collegiate National Team in 2012. That roster included five future All-Stars in Bryant, Trea Turner, Carlos Rodón, Adam Frazier and Michael Conforto. Bryant played in 20 of the team’s 21 games that summer and was second in the team in OPS at .864, behind only Turner’s .930 mark. He had three homers, two doubles and 11 RBIs with the Stars & Stripes.