But, the other day, I decided to make an exception to my irrational dislike and invest (cheaply) on the closest to sure-thing to make their way through the Chicago system. A man with so much hype that he almost doesn't need an introduction at this point:
Mr. Kris Bryant. For those of you who might not follow the Cubs all that closely, the third basemen was the Cubs No. 2 overall selection in last years amateur draft out of the University of San Diego. USD's biggest contribution to the scene thus far has been Brady Clark. Here's hoping Kris leapfrogs ahead of him in a few years!
Kris has prodigious power. As a junior in 2013, he hit 31 home runs, the most by any college player since the NCAA switched to their new composite bats. This earned him the Golden Spikes Award, the Dick Howser Trophy, first team All-American honors and College Baseball News National Player of the Year. That's more hardware than Tru-Value! *Rimshot*
Photo courtesy of utsandiego.com
But, his power streak didn't end there. After he was drafted, he slugged 9 more homers and a.336 avg combined in low-A and high-A in just 34 games. But, that still wasn't enough. His phenomenal run earned him a spot in the Arizona Fall League, a league designed to showcase top prospects and near-MLB ready talent.
The kid just kept on hitting. He was named the MVP of the AFL after hitting .364 with six home runs in 20 games and is currently rated as the 9th best prospect in all of baseball by MLB.com.
In summation, he smashed 46 home runs in 2013.... dayyyuuuummmm. Not to mention he cranked a long home run in his first spring training at-bat of 2014. You can see why I'm pretty hopeful that he'll make it to the big show - and soon. Meanwhile, "back" to the card itself...
Yay, segue fun! The card I chose for Kris was selected mostly because it was cheap. I got it for a buck on eBay with free shipping. Most stuff with this guys name on it is hot at the moment, so I figured it was worthwhile.
Rize Draft is produced by Leaf and, obviously, showcases propsects from the most recent draft. Leaf, however, does not have a Major League license and thus cannot use club logos or names. I think that causes the value of the card to diminish a bit, especially to a team collector like myself.
However, the photoshopping was done well and the Cubs colors are still very apparent. Thus, I'm still rather satisfied. Plus, I do like the simple design of the card. As graphic design courses were part of my studies in college, the expression "KISS" (Keep It Simple Stupid) rings loudly in my head.
Even though Kris is a pretty safe bet, I still hesitated to pull the trigger just yet. Maybe it's because I've seen too many Ryan Harveys, Mark Paweleks, Bobby Brownlies, Hayden Simpsons, etc (this list could run on forever). Maybe it's because I'm cheap (OK, I definitely am).
Do you remember these "next big things?"
But, I think Bryant will "Rize" to the occasion and make us Cubs fans proud, maybe as soon as 2014.