The Chicago Cubs promoted 2013 first-round draft pick Kris Bryant to High-A Daytona Monday. While the Cubs continue to struggle offensively after losing 2-0 to the Reds in another quality start for Travis Wood Monday night, this news out of the team’s farm system at least shows signs of promise for the future.
Bryant’s promotion comes barely two months after the Cubs drafted him No. 2 overall in June’s MLB Draft and less than a month after making his professional debut with the Short-Season A Boise Hawks. The 21-year-old third baseman made an instant impact with Boise, batting .354 with four homers and 16 RBIs in 18 games for a sky-high OPS of 1.108.
The Cubs must be confident in Bryant’s early productivity to promote him directly to Daytona and have him skip Low-A Kane County. The organization also would rather have 19-year-old third baseman Jeimer Candelario (.258 with 47 RBIs and 31 doubles) remain with Kane County to further his development and not have it be interrupted by Bryant.
The expectations on Bryant are high after he received a $6.7 million singing bonus on July 12, the largest signing bonus for a 2013 draft pick. Playing alongside other top prospects such as outfielder Zeke DeVoss (.261 with 46 RBIs and 31 steals) and RHP Pierce Johnson (4-1 with 2.50 ERA in six starts) on a competitive team down the stretch could accelerate Bryant’s development into a major league if he responds well to his new assignment. The Daytona Cubs are in first place in their division and Bryant could benefit from playing postseason games as a bonus.
Meanwhile, let’s catch up with some of the Cubs other top prospects to see how their seasons have gone so far.
Shortstop Javier Baez has hit .273 with 12 home runs and 31 RBIs since being promoted to Double-A Tennessee on July 6. Include his stats from the first half of the year at Daytona and Baez has numbers that would make most major leaguers envious. On the year, Baez is batting .274 with 29 home runs and 88 RBIs.
Cubs President Theo Epstein told the Chicago Sun-Times Tuesday that outfielder Jorge Soler is unlikely to return this season for Daytona after he fractured his left fibula in June. The 21-year-old batted .281 with eight home runs and 35 RBIs in 55 games with Daytona.
Outfielder Albert Almora has batted .329 with 23 RBIs and 17 doubles this season for Low-A Kane County but the 19-year-old has been out with an injured groin since August 4.
Third baseman Mike Olt has not enjoyed his time with the Cubs organization so far since being acquired from the Rangers in the deal that sent Matt Garza to Texas on July 22. Olt is batting only .134 with two home runs and four RBIs in 18 games with Triple-A Iowa. He is batting .201 with 14 home runs and 38 RBIs in 86 games total in 2013 split between the Cubs and Rangers organizations.
Olt’s trade partner RHP C.J. Edwards has fared better in his first three starts at Daytona since coming over from Texas. Edwards has allowed only three runs in his first 9.2 innings, including throwing five shutout innings in his Daytona debut July 28. The 21-year-old went 8-2 with a 1.83 ERA in 18 starts with the Rangers’ Low-A affiliate this season.