Kris Bryant was the No. 2 pick in last year’s draft, hit .325 with 43 homers and a 1.098 OPS in 138 games between Double-A and Triple-A in his first full season as a pro, and will win a whole bunch of Minor League Player of the Year awards.
But he’s not being called up to the majors by the Cubs while a bunch of his Triple-A teammates get September promotions.
So what does Bryant think of that? Here’s what he told Jesse Rogers of ESPN Chicago:
I think now more than ever, I’m realizing this game is a business, and all I can do is go out there and play as hard as I can and make it really hard on the guys in charge. I think I did that this year. If I’m taking that mindset, then I’m not really going to be sitting there with my head down at the end of the year.
Bryant’s lack of a promotion is due to the Cubs not having to add him to the 40-man roster yet and not wanting to start his MLB service time, which was all news to Bryant:
It’s kind of funny, all the rules. Coming into professional baseball, I had no clue. I didn’t pay any attention to it in college, either. At the end of my first season, I kind of know the lingo about all this stuff. I guess the system works in some ways, and in some ways there are some flaws. I can’t focus on that. I’ve always been high on avoiding the distractions.
Based on merit alone Bryant would already be in the majors, but the Cubs want to keep him under team control for as long as possible and they aren’t going anywhere this season anyway. That probably annoys Bryant quite a bit, but he’s handling it well publicly and the Cubs are just doing what almost every team would do in the same situation. Blame the rules, not the team taking advantage of them.
The Yankees and Astros are set for Game 7 of the American League Championship Series on Saturday, and neither team will hold back as they seek a World Series berth. The Astros are prepared to back starter Charlie Morton with any able-bodied pitcher in their ranks — including Justin Verlander, though A.J. Hinch said it would be a “dream scenario” to get anything more from his ace — while the Yankees are prepared to utilize all but a few of their arms. One pitcher you won’t see? Right-hander Masahiro Tanaka, who last took the hill for the Yankees during their Game 5 shutout on Wednesday.
Tanaka expended 103 pitches over seven scoreless innings in his last start, fending off the Astros with three hits, a walk and eight strikeouts. He hasn’t pitched on fewer than three days of rest all year, and even with a do-or-die scenario facing the Yankees on Saturday night, manager Joe Girardi doesn’t want to compromise his starter’s ability to stay rested and ready for the World Series.
Girardi will also play it safe with fellow right-hander Sonny Gray, who dominated in a five-inning performance in Game 4. All other pitchers should be available and ready to go, though the club is hoping for a lengthy outing from veteran starter CC Sabathia. Sabathia is no stranger to the postseason: over eight separate playoff runs, he touts one championship title and a collective 4.24 ERA in 123 innings. He held the Astros scoreless in his Game 3 start, blanking them over six innings on three hits, four walks and five strikeouts for an eventual 8-1 win.
Even without Tanaka or Gray likely to take the mound for Game 7, the Yankees will enter the series finale with history on their side. Per MLB.com, they have a 4-3 road record in Game 7s and are 6-7 in all 13 Game 7 finales to date. The Astros, on the other hand, dropped their first and only Game 7 clincher back in 2004, when the Cardinals capped the NLCS with a 5-2 win in St. Louis. The teams are scheduled to face off for the first-ever Game 7 at Minute Maid Park on Saturday at 8:00 PM ET.