With the 2018 MLB season just a few weeks away, ESPN is starting to look at future rankings with both teams and players. The network has been releasing their future rankings all week long including the best players for the next five years.
It was back in 2016 that the Chicago Cubs won the World Series with a strong core of young talent. That included third baseman Kris Bryant who was selected with the No. 2 overall pick in the 2013 MLB Draft after the Houston Astros selected Mark Appel.
ESPN’s list features 10 young players that will be among the best in the game five years from now. The list is just loaded with talented players but only one beat out Bryant for the top spot.
Bryant was listed No. 2 overall on the list, behind only Mike Trout of the Los Angeles Angels. The 26-year-old Bryant has already had an impressive career since being called up to the big leagues in 2015. He won the NL Rookie of the Year award in 2015 and was named the NL MVP in 2016 after winning the World Series.
Here’s part of what ESPN had to say about Bryant on the list:
I’ll tell you exactly what I love about Bryant: Since his rookie season, he has dropped his strikeout rate by 37 percent. While a younger Bryant was known for his ability to drive the ball out the other way, this more mature Bryant has done his damage to left and back up the middle. It’s not that there’s anything wrong with going the other way, but what I like is that Bryant has developed and adjusted his approach without making any sacrifices. He has completely changed his offensive profile on the fly, and he’s three-for-three so far in generating some measure of MVP support in three seasons.
Bryant finished the 2017 season with a slashline of .295/.409/507 while hitting 29 home runs and driving in 79 RBI’s for the NL Central Division winning Cubs. He also had an OPS of .946 which was a career-best.
Three seasons in, it doesn’t appear Bryant is slowing down anytime soon. As part of the core of the Cubs, the franchise has the opportunity to compete for the World Series for at least the next five seasons.
And if Bryant keeps his play up, we wouldn’t be shocked if they won another title.
Joining Bryant and Trout on the list in the top 5 are Carlos Correa (No. 3), Bryce Harper (No. 4) and Manny Machado (No. 5). For the full list please check it out on ESPN.