With the second half of the season well under way, Kris Bryant is building onto his lead in the race for the National League’s Most Valuable Player award.
One of his assets this season has been his versatility and contribution at several different positions for Joe Maddon and the Cubs lineup this season.
So far this year, Bryant has started at first base, third base, left field, and right field. He has spent an inning in center field and played part of an inning at shortstop. Not only has his versatility been a factor, the quality of his play at each position has been an added bonus for the Cubs.
Ultimate Zone Rating is used to break down the defensive performance of a player according to position. Bryant is rated well above average at third and left field, his two primary positions. He has been rated at 15 runs above average or better over 150 games at each position. UZR has given Bryant an overall rating of 10 runs above average, creating an entire win’s worth of value with his glove alone.
When you add his base running ability and use of the bat to his glove work, he is without a doubt the lead candidate for this year’s MVP award at this point in the season.
Bryant currently leads the Cubs in several areas from the batter’s box, including 112 hits, 82 runs, and 26 home runs. He has an AVG of .282 and has knocked in 68 base runners. He currently has a .920 OPS and has stolen seven bases this season.
There is still a lot of ball to played in the regular season and the performance of Bryant will definitely be a determining factor in the success of the North Siders. Although the NL MVP would be a nice piece of hardware, a World Series Championship is still the main objective of 2016.