When it came to 2018 fantasy baseball drafts, one player who elicited some debate regarding whether he belonged in the first-round was Chicago Cubs third baseman/outfielder Kris Bryant. While no one doubts the extreme pedigree (first overall pick in 2013) and massive numbers already put up before the age of 26 (39 home runs in 2016), Bryant was coming off a 2017 campaign that saw him lose offensive numbers in every category but average. Having lost 10 home runs, 10 runs scored, and a massive 29 RBI from the year prior, some wondered whether or not Bryant was worthy of being a first-round pick again. Add in the fact that manager Joe Maddon began using Bryant in the number two spot in the order which cuts down on RBI opportunities and there was some validity to questioning his first round status. With all that said, Bryant goes into Tuesday's action both hobbled (dealing with a current shoulder ailment) and the following numbers:
Looking at the numbers, there is no doubt that Bryant has been very solid almost across the board but he also has seen his power numbers down on a per game basis for the second season in a row. In fact we are now starting to wonder if the 39 home runs Bryant hit in 2016 is an outlier number as he is on pace for just 26 this season after going for 29 the year prior and that is with the additional at-bats in the two spot. What we do notice as well is that Bryant has lost a bit of plate discipline this season as his strikeouts are up some and his walks are down. That is not the combination you want and it often results in the average taking a hit as we see with Bryant batting .280. While .280 is a nice number, it is down from the .290-plus of each of the last two seasons and so Bryant is not clicking on all the hitting cylinders. Also one has to wonder if Bryant's running days are over as well since he has been on a decline for three straight seasons there. After going for 13 steals in 2015, Bryant has sank to 8 and 7 the last two years and is on pace for just 6 in 2018. Again, another hit to the bottom line statistics. Add in some injury problems already this season and Bryant has not been a first round guy on numbers so far. With that said though, Bryant is as talented a player as there is in baseball and he is still a major hold in our book.