Cubs star 3B/OF Kris Bryant had himself a decent night in Cincinnati on Monday, to the tune of 3 home runs and 2 doubles. He is the only player in MLB history to accomplish that stat line—and while there are many obscure, specific stats out there to make players look good, this isn’t one of them. Bryant mashing his way to 5 extra base hits is impressive in itself, but it wasn’t like the game was a blowout either. Bryant’s 3rd home run, and 5th extra base hit, came when the Cubs led just 8-7 in the 8th inning. He led the way for a scuffling Cubs team facing their first real adversity of the season, losing six of their prior seven games.
Prior to Monday, Bryant had been hitting just .229 in June. His 5 hits Monday night brought his average back up to a solid .278, but his power numbers are the really impressive figures. KB has 21 home runs and 57 RBIs on the season, still a few games prior to the halfway mark. He’s on pace to shatter his impressive rookie numbers of 26 home runs and 99 RBIs, and is emerging as one of the game’s best players.
Bryant has made strides in trying to become a complete player. Not only is Bryant a great hitter, he’s a great baserunner. His second double of the game would’ve been a single for many players, and almost all 6’5” guys. Bryant took an aggressive turn and made a great read to swipe the extra base on the play. He’s also improved on his defensive game, and is an extremely versatile player for Joe Maddon as he has proven himself as an adequate outfielder in addition to his solid play at 3rd base. While Bryant may not jump off the charts with his defensive metrics, his versatility in allowing the Cubs to mix and match their lineups is just as vital.
The Cubs have a long list of things to be excited about so far this season, and Bryant’s growth is amongst the top of that list. Perhaps Monday night’s affair will become known as the Bryant Game.