Cubs prospect third baseman Kris Bryant was announced this afternoon as the winner of the “Joe Black Award” for the Most Valuable Player of the Arizona Fall League, per Bernie Pleskoff of MLB.com.
Bryant, who was selected No. 2 overall in this June’s draft, batted .364/.457/.727 with six home runs, eight doubles and 18 RBI over 20 games with the Mesa Solar Sox. The 21-year-old led the Arizona Fall League in home runs and OPS (1.184) while tying the Angels’ C.J. Cron for the lead in total bases with 56. Bryant and Cron were actually teammates this fall, so it’s no surprise that the Solar Sox are playing in the league’s title game on MLB Network right now.
Bryant mashed in his first taste of pro ball this season, batting .336/.390/.688 with nine home runs and 32 RBI over 36 games between rookie ball, Low-A Boise, and High-A Daytona. While he may end up in a corner outfielder spot in the long run, it looks like he’s on the fast track to contributing at the big league level.
The Cubs’ bullpen got into trouble in the ninth inning on Tuesday afternoon during the first game of a doubleheader. Justin Wilson started the inning with the Cubs leading 3-2, normally a situation for closer Brandon Morrow. Wilson issued a leadoff walk to Austin Barnes, then gave up a single to Justin Turner. Morrow wasn’t warming up, curiously. Wilson ended up giving up a go-ahead two-run double to pinch-hitter Kyle Farmer and the Cubs went on to lose 4-3.
We now know why Morrow wasn’t available. He says his back tightened up taking off his pants early Monday morning, MLB.com’s Carrie Muskat reports. Morrow said, “It’s frustrating any time you can’t get out there, especially when you can’t go for something as stupid as taking your pants off.”
Morrow, 33, has been terrific in the closer’s role this season for the Cubs. He owns a 1.59 ERA with a 25/9 K/BB ratio in 22 2/3 innings. He is also not available for the back end of Tuesday’s doubleheader, but it sounds like he won’t need to go on the disabled list.