May 30, 2013
Dissecting the Draft: Kris Bryant (Player Report)
Kris Bryant | OF/CIF | Univ. of San Diego
Bryant in 140 characters or less:
++power potential; high waist, phys. projection; solid RF fit; some swing and miss; some trouble w/top arms; high floor bat w/ceiling risk.
Broad, tapered frame; high waist with projection remaining. Long limbs; moves well for big body. Solid athleticism build and moves well on the field.
Bryant has made strides at the hot corner over the past three seasons at USD, but his best fit at the pro ranks is in right field, where his plus arm and solid foot speed should help to form an average defensive profile. He's athletic for a big man and moves well, showing solid ability to close to the gap and clean, if at times deliberate, actions. At third base he has adequate hands and controls his body well on the move, but his lower-half quickness is below average and his footwork requires a fair amount of work. With reps and pro instruction he might be able to develop into a solid defender at the five-spot, but the path of least resistance is in right, and that's the spot that should allow his bat to progress the quickest.
Bryant showcased big power coming out of high school, but an upright stance and grooved swing created too many empty swings. Since arriving on campus at USD, Bryant has slowly widened his base, sporting a broad, spread stance this spring and simplifying his barrel delivery. He has cut down the strike zone some, but more importantly maintains a steadier head and improved his contact rate. The production this spring has been through the roof, with the potential top five selection launching 31 homeruns--tops in Division I and 13 better than the next player, New Mexico's DJ Peterson (18). His triple-slash of .340/.500/.860 and improved walk and strikeout rates all signify growth in his offensive game, though there are some mild concerns as to heavy starter/reliever splits, as well as struggles--primarily with regards to contact ability and hit tool--against the top arms he faced. His history with wood is checkered, leaving some concern that his productive spring may not fully translate at the next level.
Bryant's carrying tool is his raw power--a rapidly diminishing resource at the professional ranks--and his collegiate bat profile and proximity to the Majors will raise his draft day value among front office decision makers. Once thought to be a future first baseman, Bryant has diversified his defensive options, making an outfield corner his new likely home, and further boosting his high probability as a Major League contributor. If everything clicks, Bryant is a 35-plus home run bat capable of adding value on the bases and solid defense in right. He was a highly efficient baserunner this spring, utilizing good reads, solid jumps, and average speed to excel at grabbing the extra base (going first to third in 50% of his opportunities and scoring from second in over 70% of his chances). There are some red flags due to his history with wood and some of his 2013 splits, but in a class relatively shy on high floor bats, Bryant should be off the board in the top five selections. In a more typical draft class, he may fit better somewhere in the 7-15 range.
Projected position: Average to above-average right fielder on first division team
Suggested draft slot: Early-1st Round; consideration for top 5 overall