The Position Player: Kris Bryant
I listed the big names on the last page. I do not have to convince anyone reading this how dangerous the Chicago lineup will be over the course of the next four days. Looking at the list, however, there is one obvious name that just always finds a way to stand out.
Kris Bryant is perhaps the most dangerous young hitter in all of baseball. The 25-year-old is currently in his third season as the Cub third baseman. And let me reassure you that his first two were pretty ridiculous.
As a rookie, he slashed .275/.369/.488 with 26 homers and 99 RBI. It gave him his very first All-Star birth and the NL Rookie of the Year Award. He added those to his trophy case with his 2013 Golden Spikes Award and Dick Howser Trophy, naming him the best amateur and college baseball player respectively.
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He went and outdid himself in 2016 when he lined up a tidy .292/.385/.554 with 39 bombs and 102 RBI. Even more impressive was his elimination of strikeouts. In 2015 he whiffed 199 times but reduced that number to 154 in 2017. The season resulted in what most believe will be the first of many MVP Awards.
Against the Phils, Bryant has been a tough customer. Through 13 games, he has put up a .333/.351/.630 line with 4 homers and 13 RBI (more than any other non-NL Central team). The Phils have also been able to strike him out 22 times in 57 plate appearances since his 2015 debut.
Bryant will crush fastballs anywhere in the zone. He does not chase the pitch either, which is shown by his impressive 10.7 walk rate in 2016. Offspeed and breaking pitches are where to get him, but if those pitches are not working or pitchers get behind him, he is waiting to crush a fastball. That is what the Phils need to avoid.