The 2016 NL MVP winner Kris Bryant couldn’t go back to back in 2017, but he improved in some aspects of his game. We all know teams are not going to pitch a MVP the same as they did when he won. So Kris walked 20 more times than he did last year, seeing less pitches in his wheelhouse, and he also struck out 26 less times. His OBP went from .385 his MVP season, to .409 this season.
Kris did not live up to the expectations in the postseason with eight hits in all ten games, and he struck out 14 times. And he added one home run off Clayton Kershaw in a game with no chance of a come back.
Bryant hit just 29 home runs in 2017 which had him tied at 19th in the National League, or 42nd in the whole league. And his .295 batting average puts him at 30th in the league. So he didn’t have a bad year by any means, but after winning MVP the expectations are always ten times higher. Which also puts pressure on the player. A lot of pressure.
For 2018, not only will the pressure be off of Bryant, but it will be off the entire team since they are no longer the reigning World Series Champions. Which if you’ve been living in a hole the past year , is now the Houston Astros. So Kris and the Cubs can remove the pressure, and ship it out to Houston for Altuve and his crew for them to suffer.
But my expectations are Kris Bryant hitting 35 home runs in 2018, and batting .300 plus. He’s only going to strike out 120 times, and going to total up 85 walks. He isn’t going to join the new era of players where it’s either a hit or miss. Home run or strikeout. He needs to get on base, and give the Cubs opportunities to bring him in. And he will. Also the OBP will go up to .405, leading him to a MVP award, and possibly another ring
We will see how he does, but when he wins MVP don’t forget who told you he would win on January 24th.
Picture: Chris Sweda / Chicago Tribune