Whoa, ok so the 2015 ROY and 2016 MVP and World Series Champ is a proposed bust in 2018 in his age 26 season! That’s ballsy bro! It’s tough for me to write because I love my Cubs and I love me some KB! Even with K rate and BB rate improvements and he was unlucky with his low RBI total in 2017. It should have been more like 85, but still not all that impressive. His ability to get on base, slug, and have guys like Rizzo and Contreras hitting behind him will keep his run totals near the top of the league. Yes, he’s a good base runner but the steals are disappearing down to 7 in 12 attempts last year. So that’s no longer a positive for fantasy purposes. He also loses 1B in all leagues and loses OF in some leagues that require 20 games or 10 starts at a position, so that hurts his value as well.
Let’s look at what happened to his power in 2017. He lost 10 HRs from 2016 to 2017 (39 to 29) in a year when Francisco Lindor hit 32 HRs! I mentioned his drop in K rate, down to a career best 19.2% and that is backed up by his 10.0% SwStr% and 77.7% contact rate. Great! But, I think he’s selling the power to gain contact. His Hard hit % was only 32.8% in 2017 down from 40.3% in 2016. He was sandwiched between two power houses Max Kepler and Marwin Gonzalez in terms of HH%. That’s not exactly where you want your power hitting first rounder.
Basically, KB made an effort to go the other way in 2017 more often than he did in 2016. But why tho? I can’t figure it out. Yes, he did hit the ball the other way more and hit .250 up from .180 but at the expense of hitting nearly .400 from the pull side and the up the middle. Do what you do best KB, going the other way is for suckers and slap hitters!
KB is not a good baseball player, he’s a great baseball player. I just feel that he’s going to be a guy that is worth more to the Cubs than your fantasy team.
Critics will point to the .325 average is the second half which was heavily aided by the .380 BABIP. Also, the power dipped in the second half as well. He may have been burnt out from the previous year’s run (and he mentioned being tired during the 2017 NLCS). Over the last two season his WRC+ is nearly 40 points less with runners in scoring position than with the bases empty. That’s enough data to make me think his lack of RBI production is real (somewhat). I also can see a regression in BABIP mostly due to the drop in hard hit% and due to an .800 average on line drives last year which is over .100 points higher than league average.
As long as he’s healthy, Bryant will always be a great baseball player and he will get on base, score runs and hit some HRs but he’s not a top 15 player in 2018 IMO. Be smart, grab Correa or Freddie Freeman over KB. For 2018 I give him: .282/.386 31 HRs, 6 steals, 105 runs, 81 RBI
I currently have Bryant ranked #20 overall in my Top 30 but I’m thinking about dropping him somewhere between 22 and 25 moving Rizzo ahead of him due to 2B eligibility in some leagues.
What are your thoughts on Bryant? Leave a comment or let me know on twitter @freezestats.