The next big thing



Baseball season is in full swing and while we are less than two weeks into the season, there are plenty of things happening worth talking about. The big news this week is the arrival of the game’s next big thing, Kris Bryant. The Chicago Cubs called up their young phenom on Friday and are set to unleash him on the world.


It is always an exciting time when a highly touted prospect finally makes his way to the big stage and Bryant is certainly no exception. He led the minor leagues in home runs last year and the fact he plays for the Cubs makes him even more of a curiosity.


The question now is, what exactly are we going to get? Is this kid the next Mike Trout? I doubt it. Not very many people are Mike Trout. Or is he going to be the next Bryce Harper? By that, I mean, are we all going to have to sit around and wait for him to finally live up to his potential? Harper was Mike Trout long before Trout, yet Harper has ever only shown flashes of all the talent he possesses and has never put together a truly great season.


So, is that what we’re getting in Bryant? There’s really no way to tell and I’m certainly not going to speculate. The way a player performs when he finally hits the majors is pretty hard to predict. So many can’t miss prospects turn into colossal busts while other guys, who no one expected anything from, end up in the Hall of Fame. As for Bryant, we’ll just have to wait and see. He certainly has all the talent in the world to succeed. Now he just has to go out on the field and do it.


Of course Bryant’s arrival is not the only thing going on in Major League Baseball. All sorts of compelling story lines are being generated as the season gets going. One great story was the fast start enjoyed by the Kansas City Royals. The defending American League champions ripped off seven straight wins to start their season and while it seemed unlikely they were going to be undefeated, I did start to wonder when they might actually lose.


That happened soon enough as they dropped their next two games and are now on a two-game mini-skid. I honestly don’t expect a whole lot from Kansas City. The show of strength to open their season was certainly impressive, but, even with the success they enjoyed last year, I have a lot of questions about their lineup and they failed to replace, arguably, their top starter.


Another guy who got off to a fast start was Los Angeles Dodger first baseman Adrian Gonzalez. In case you haven’t been paying attention to what’s been going on at Chavez Ravine, the former Padre is hitting .528 with five home runs after nine games and appears to be the greatest hitter who ever lived in the process. Of course Gonzalez is not going to keep this up. No one gets a hit every other time they come to the plate, or finishes the season with 90 home runs (which is his current pace).


That said, he has the potential to have a monster season. If you don’t believe me, then look at what he did in San Diego. He could easily hit well over .300 with 40-plus home runs. He has that kind of hitting ability and, as it seems he has finally fully healed from surgery a couple years ago; he looks like he also has that kind of power. Like Bryant and the Royals, however, we will ultimately have to wait and see just how this all plays out.