Third baseman Mike Olt fracturing his right wrist in mid-April is what led to the Cubs calling up Kris Bryant from Triple-A to take over the position on the same day he went on the DL, but now that Olt is healthy again Bryant’s presence means there isn’t room for him in Chicago.
Bryant has thrived as a rookie, hitting .275 with 12 homers and an .859 OPS in 75 games to live up to the hype as baseball’s No. 1 prospect, so the Cubs activated Olt from the disabled list and optioned him to Triple-A.
Olt put up big numbers at Single-A and Double-A to establish himself as a top-100 prospect, but he’s mostly struggled for the past 2-3 seasons and has hit just .158 in 111 games as a big leaguer for the Rangers and Cubs. At age 27 he still has time to get back on track, but Olt needs to go crush Triple-A pitching for a while.
The wait is over. Jesse Rogers of ESPN Chicago reports that the Cubs are calling up top prospect third baseman Kris Bryant. He’ll make his major league debut tomorrow afternoon at Wrigley Field against the Padres.
Patrick Mooney of CSNChicago.com confirms the report and adds that Mike Olt will be placed on the disabled list with a right wrist fracture in a corresponding roster move.
Bryant was sent down to Triple-A Iowa despite tearing the cover off the ball during spring training. Of course, service time was the only reason for that. If the Cubs kept him in the minors for 12 days, they would ensure that they would get an extra year of team control, through 2021. Despite the obvious issues with the current system and some bickering between Bryant’s agent, Scott Boras, and Cubs president Theo Epstein, it was a no-brainer. The 12th and final day was today, so the Cubs are now in the clear. And they aren’t waiting another minute to get him into their lineup.
Bryant, 23, led the minors with 43 home runs last season while posting a 1.098 OPS and was batting .321 (9-for-28) with three home runs and 10 RBI over his first seven games in Triple-A this season. He’s going to face a ton of pressure in Chicago from a fanbase that is thirsty for a winner, but this is going to be fun to watch.
Bryant homered in his final at-bat with Triple-A Iowa on Thursday night. I guess this was enough to convince the Cubs that he’s ready:
There was some speculation that infielder Tommy La Stella’s rib cage injury could clear the way for the Cubs to call up No. 1 prospect Kris Bryant for his highly anticipated debut, but they’re keeping him at Triple-A for now.
La Stella has been placed on the disabled list and third baseman Mike Olt is also sidelined by a wrist injury, but instead of promoting Bryant the Cubs are going with relief pitcher Zac Rosscup to fill his roster spot.
Bryant is 8-for-21 (.381) with two homers and a 1.089 OPS through fives games for Triple-A Iowa, but Friday is the day when he’ll have been in the minors enough to delay his eventual free agency for an entire extra year.
It won’t be long now.
The Cubs’ third baseman, Mike Olt, was smacked on the wrist with a pitch over the weekend but luckily didn’t break anything. He’s also 2 for his first 13. The heir apparent, Kris Bryant, is cruising in Iowa. This from yesterday:
On the young season Bryant is 5-for-16 with two homers, a double and seven driven in. Only one walk, though, so it’s probably good that he’s getting that highly necessary seasoning.
Just figured you’d want an update.
Here are the starting lineups for Sunday’s Opening Night game between the Cardinals and Cubs …
St. Louis Cardinals
3B Matt Carpenter
RF Jason Heyward
LF Matt Holliday
SS Jhonny Peralta
1B Matt Adams
C Yadier Molina
2B Kolten Wong
CF Jon Jay
SP Adam Wainwright
CF Dexter Fowler
RF Jorge Soler
1B Anthony Rizzo
SS Starlin Castro
LF Chris Coghlan
C David Ross
3B Mike Olt
SP Jon Lester
2B Tommy La Stella
Peralta batting cleanup instead of Adams is somewhat of a surprise, but otherwise this is a predictable look for the visiting Cardinals and manager Mike Matheny. Cubs manager Joe Maddon threw a bunch of wrenches into his lineup — from Soler batting second, to Castro batting cleanup, to Lester hitting eighth, to Ross starting over Miguel Montero at catcher against a righty. It seems Lester may already have a personal catcher in Chicago.
The game will be broadcast on ESPN2. First pitch at Wrigley Field is scheduled for 8:05 p.m. ET.