CHICAGO (AP) — The Kris Bryant watch is on. The sweet-swinging slugger is playing like an MVP again, and he could be the biggest name on the trade market this summer.
While baseball is watching Bryant, waiting to see what the Chicago Cubs do, the 29-year-old Bryant is watching Kyler Bryant, waiting to see what his precocious son does next.
“Anytime there’s baseball on TV, he points and says ‘Daddy,’ even if it’s a different team,” a grinning Bryant said. “Like no, I’m right here. Listen, look.”
Hard to blame Kyler, who turned 1 in April. Dad is everywhere these days.
Bryant’s versatility — while producing offensive numbers that belong alongside his NL MVP season in 2016 — is a big reason why Chicago is on top of the NL Central once again, helping the Cubs go on a 21-9 run while dealing with a rash of injuries.
Bryant has made at least five starts at five different positions: third base, first base and each of the three outfield spots. He carried a .317 batting average and 12 homers into Wednesday’s series finale against San Diego, ranking among the NL leaders with 36 RBIs, a .598 slugging percentage and a .996 OPS.
“I mean he’s definitely hitting the high fastball better,” manager David Ross said. “I think that’s a mechanical issue he worked on in the offseason. I see a confidence, I see him on the attack in the box.”
Bryant struggled with injuries during the pandemic-shortened season last year, batting a career-low .206 with four homers in 34 games. He also went 0 for 8 with two strikeouts as Chicago was swept by Miami in the NL Wild Card Series.
Brushing off his health or any significant mechanical adjustments, Bryant offered a simpler explanation for his success this year.
“It’s just who I am,” he said. “You go through ups and downs throughout your whole career….
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