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  • Twins MLB Draft Profile: Kris Bryant, 3B/1B

    Potential first overall pick Kris Bryant at the plate.Who IS This Guy?

    The legend of the power of six-foot-five, 215-pound Kris Bryant has increased rapidly over his career at the University of San Diego, reaching He-Man-esque proportions in his senior year after he launched 30 bombs.

    It was not just the number of homers that drew scouts’ attention; it was also the distance that helped him ascend up teams’ draft boards. Reportedly, the corner infielder hit a blast that was estimated over 500 feet when it cleared an 80-foot tall light tower at his university’s home stadium. Some suggest that estimate was low. No matter, the 21-year-old Bryant has smacked 54 dingers in his three year collegiate career and has mashed his way into becoming one of the top draft choices this year.

    Who Could He Be?

    An offensive monster, that’s for sure.

    The right-handed hitting Bryant employs a wide base, a stance that seems to have developed in his more recent collegiate years. He has a minimal swing, keeping his head and lower half still during his weight transfer but creates a substantial amount of torque with his hips and a strong front side.

    Bryant’s swing was constructed, he said, by his father, a former Boston Red Sox draftee. Citing Ted Williams’ method from his book, The Science of Hitting, Bryant incorporated the upward swing to counter the downward flight of the ball, attempting to achieve a more flush point of contact. The slight uppercut swing – along with a minimalist weight transfer and extremely well-leveraged front side – has created a ton of big fly balls for the University of San Diego infielder. This year, he has jacked 30 in the regular season – a USD school record in addition to making him the NCAA Division I leader. In fact, the next closest total to Bryant’s was 18. Bryant’s home run power is not a mess created by the TING! of the aluminum bat either. College baseball has switched to composite bats which has muted some of the speed at impact – not nearly as much as a wood bat but the change has certainly quelled the home run totals since the bats' introduction.

    Judging from his big bop potential, it is not surprising that he had an abundance of walks. The 62 he drew led the NCAA in that category as well. Most of those were not necessarily the product of patience but simply that teams refused to pitch to him. Seeing a pitch in the strike zone was such an infrequent occurrence through the first 33 games of the season that Rich Hill, USD’s manager, moved him to the lead-off spot in order to get him a few more pitches to hit.

    That said, Bryant’s plate coverage is also reported to be thing of beauty. According to an LA Times story, during Bryant’s freshman year, the University of San Francisco’s coach ordered his pitcher to throw out of the zone to the San Diego slugger. After a majestic home run, the coach scolded his pitcher on throwing the ball over the plate. San Francisco’s catcher came to his pitcher’s defense, saying the pitch was at least two-and-a-half balls off of the plate.

    How Soon Could He Be Playing In Target Field?

    As a college draftee, Bryant is expected to move up the ranks quickly. One could easily envision him tearing apart Appalachian League pitching so his starting point following the draft is likely at A ball – either Cedar Rapids or Fort Myers. Slowing his development might be the switch to wood bats and facing tougher competition. While with USD teams did not challenge him, which led to a high number of walks. In the minors, he’ll start seeing hard-throwing, big-bending and precision-guided pitching as he moves up the ladder.

    If The Twins Draft This Guy, They Messed Up Because…

    The list is short: He’s not a pitcher. And the Twins need more top-tier pitching. Outside of that, there is not much else that would constitute a good reason for not selecting Bryant at number four.

    Additionally, massive power in college does not necessarily translate to massive major league success. Look at former collegiate slugger Pete Incaviglia. Inky hit 49 home runs in 75 games with Oklahoma State in 1985, setting the college record for home runs in a single season. While he displayed 25-30 home runs power for the Rangers in the mid-to-late 1980s, his inability to make consistent contact led to his move to a role-player position. Bryant obviously has more tools than Incaviglia, including speed and defensive prowess, but there is always the chance his hitting never translates.

    If The Twins Draft This Guy, They Nailed It Because…

    Bryant is not expected to be around at the fourth pick. The consensus among the draft experts is that he will be off-the-board by the third pick. If, for some divine reason, the three teams ahead of the Twins (Astros, Cubs and Rockies) decide to go another direction, the organization should be thankful to have a talent like Bryant available. Miguel Sano may be the third baseman for the foreseeable future, but Bryant is skilled enough – and definitely has the power stroke- to plausably move to a corner outfield position.

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    This article was originally published in blog: Twins MLB Draft Profile: Kris Bryant, 3B/1B started by Parker Hageman
    Comments 11 Comments
    1. beckmt's Avatar
      beckmt -
      Twins need the BPA, but given his positions, Bryant would have to be head and shoulders above the next player for the Twins to need him.
    1. Cap'n Piranha's Avatar
      Cap'n Piranha -
      A Sano-Bryant-Vargas-Walker middle of the lineup would be 4 guys with legit 70 power, with Harrison not too far off. There's obviously no way to get all those guys in the lineup at the same time, but if they develop, any of the 5 would be attractive trading chips for pitching.

      That being said, unless the Astros indeed take Moran, this will probably be a moot point.
    1. InfraRen's Avatar
      InfraRen -
      Quote Originally Posted by Cap'n Piranha View Post
      A Sano-Bryant-Vargas-Walker middle of the lineup would be 4 guys with legit 70 power, with Harrison not too far off. There's obviously no way to get all those guys in the lineup at the same time, but if they develop, any of the 5 would be attractive trading chips for pitching.

      That being said, unless the Astros indeed take Moran, this will probably be a moot point.
      Still fun to speculate! If that happened, another speculation: Twins are hot after Dominican OF Lewin Diaz for the July 2nd International player signings. Guy has a Ryan Howard comparison:

      Lewin Diaz OF 2013 | Dominican Prospect League
    1. diehardtwinsfan's Avatar
      diehardtwinsfan -
      The hardest decision I'd have is if Appel and Gray are gone and it's Bryant vs. Stewart. Both have pretty high ceilings, though Bryant carries significantly less risk. I'm hoping COL is infatuated enough with him that if Houston takes Moran, we will be chosing between Appel/Gray and Stewart.
    1. grover738's Avatar
      grover738 -
      Assuming Gray and Appel are off the board, if Bryant is there the Twins have to take him, especially since he's righthanded. Hopefully either he or Sano can stick at 3B. Worst case, neither sticks at 3rd, there is still plenty of room for them - LF, RF, 1B, DH.
    1. fairweather's Avatar
      fairweather -
      I hope the stars align and the Twins some how get this kid.
    1. fairweather's Avatar
      fairweather -
      He reminds me of a young Matt Williams. He, IMO, is the most for sure prospect in this draft. Which means his odds are 50/50. Drafting in baseball is so tough but there's no doubt that this kid is big, strong, an exceptional athlete and has a good head on his shoulders. If they draft pitching I hope they go after Manea or Ball.
    1. Kwak's Avatar
      Kwak -
      He will have been selected when it's the Twins turn! Longoria went 3rd in '08.
    1. boney's Avatar
      boney -
      In 3/4 years? lf/cf-Buxton, cf/lf-Hicks, rf-Arcia, of/dh-Kepler, 3b/1b-Sano, ss-?, 2b-Rosario, 1b/3b-Bryant, c-Mauer, dh/c/of-Pinto/Walker, ut-Beresford?

      Obviously no-one knows which of these young guys will live up to their potential (and who may take their place as prospects) but man what potential they will have. Even without a possible addition of Bryant.
    1. benhertz's Avatar
      benhertz -
      ESPN Insider Keith Law takes a look at draft prospect Kris Bryant:

      MLB Draft Prospect: Kris Bryant - YouTube

      If he's available, I think the Twins should draft him.
    1. raindog's Avatar
      raindog -
      Quote Originally Posted by beckmt View Post
      Twins need the BPA, but given his positions, Bryant would have to be head and shoulders above the next player for the Twins to need him.
      If the top two pitchers are gone, (they will be), and Bryant is available, you take him. They'd be crazy not to.
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