The Vilification of Kris Bryant is Ridiculous.
Let's be real for a minute: Kris Bryant catches more grief than he deserves, for lots of stupid reasons. First of all because he' doesn't have enough 'belly fire.' I mean look at him, his manager is yelling at the ump and he laughs? How dare he!?
Most recently, he's been mired in a deep hitting slump. Through Sunday's finale against the Twins, Bryant's slash line is admittedly ugly. A .588 OPS is not pretty, and it's way off his career averages. I understand that folks are frustrated and looking for answers, but I've seen suggestions that "he's broken" or "he needs to sit. It's about winning games not feelings." We finally have a cornerstone player at 3B again (RIP Ronnie), and it feels like there is a large group of 'fans' who are ready to run him off. Yes, he's struggling with the bat but he not the only one. A quick stats search of the WORST bats in MLB this year had some extremely interesting names.
I mean, those aren't no name players in that list. You have two former MVPs, and several All-Star selections and they're all having rough years. It's almost as if playing in the middle of a pandemic has unique challenges that are hard to overcome. Weird.
But even crazier is the notion that sitting Bryant will do anything except remove one of the better players from the lineup. We're not leaving Mike Trout on the bench to play Sparkles, they're ALL slumping, except Heyward. Interestingly, he actually appears to be coming out of the funk, too. He had some good at-bats Sunday against a very good Berríos, including a base hit. BuT aSsMaTt, He'S nOt HiTtInG. hE nEeDs To Be MoVeD dOwN iN tHe OrDeR?!!?
It's true, he's not hitting or slugging but he IS taking his walks. So, hitting early in the lineup is exactly where he should be right now. As one of the better base-runners on the team, if he's not slugging he can at least get on in front of the guys who ARE hitting. Oh yeah, back to that. NONE of them are hitting.
The picture isn't a whole lot rosier if changes the sample size to the last month. Heyward, Happ, and Bote were OPS-ing over .800, but as you can see they'll all cooled off considerably. Ross has no good options right now. Yet, I don't hear anyone saying that Happ, Rizzo, or anyone else should be sitting. No bloviating about trying to win games not save feelings when it comes to anyone else. BuT bOtE pLaYs BeTtEr DeFeNsE?!!?
Bote has hit well in a pinch, and HAS had great D all year, but KB is having a pretty good defensive season, too. In fact, a diving catch against Cleveland injured his wrist and is likely the main culprit behind his disappointing season. (Other than that whole pandemic thing). So, yes KB is struggling but he absolutely does not deserve to be singled out and constantly harped on. Sooner than we all realize, his days in Chicago will be over. Let's not spend the remaining days making him the scapegoat for a weird baseball season. It's not like they're leading the division with 7 games left to play...
I would also like to point out that no matter what he does, Anthony Rizzo never, ever gets the same kind of blowback that Bryant does, even though he's also having an objectively bad offensive season. Rossy puts him at leadoff while he's hovering around a .700 OPS? OMG IT'S THE GREATEST LEADOFF HITTER OF ALL TIME! Kris gets hurt? He's soft. Anthony goes down every year with a back issue? OMG that's our Captain and he can have my back if he needs it! I don't know what it is about Kris that makes people react to him so differently than other players, but I'm so over the weird double standard.--Staci