The Superstar You Missed
There has been just a handful of kids get drafted out of Bonanza High School in Las Vegas, Nevada. In fact, only one player has ever made it to the major leagues from that high school. In 2010, the Blue Jays were looking at a shortstop named Kris Bryant after he had batted at .453 with 17 home runs over his last two seasons.
The Blue Jays used their 18th Round Selection to take Bryant and you would think the negotiations would be on. It was speculated that Bryant was still available so late in the draft because many teams thought he would be tough to talk out of going to College.
In an interview years later Bryant commented that the Blue Jays didn’t approach him. Bryant was quoted years later by Gregor Chisholm saying “[the Blue Jays] had other priorities in terms of other guys they picked…. I guess they just never got to me”. The decision not to even approach Bryant would be something a general manager has to regret. Whether he was going to sign or not, you have to at least approach him to see where he stands.
In his final year at San Diego in 2013, Bryant hit .329 with a whopping 31 home runs, this led him into that June’s Amateur draft and him being selected second overall by the Chicago Cubs. Chicago quickly came to terms offering him a $6.7 million signing bonus.
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Bryant became well known around the league prior to starting his major league career. After dominating the minors in 2014 where he hit .325 with 43 home runs and 110 RBI over AA and AAA he was showing that he was major league ready. He arrived at Spring Training in 2015 and hit nine home runs and batted .425, yet he was sent back to the minors. General Manager Theo Epstein stated he needed more development to learn how to become a major league ready player. What Epstein didn’t mention, was that Bryant needed to be on the major league roster for less than 172 days so the Cubs could have him for one more year of control. Bryant played just seven more games in AAA and was recalled and played his first major league game on April 17, 2015. Bryant went 0 for 4 with three strikeouts.
Bryant finished the season leading the league in strikeouts with 199; however, he also hit .275 with 26 home runs, 99 RBI and 31 doubles which led to him being named the Rookie of the Year. The next season he got even better as hit 39 home runs and 102 RBI which now led the second-year player to be named the National League Most Valuable Player.
Bryant is now just five years into his career with a World Series ring, two major awards, three All-Star appearances a new contract worth $18.6 million and two years away from becoming a free agent. Bryant already has a 23.9 WAR to his name which is the third highest of any Blue Jay drafted player not to sign with the club out of the draft.