Kris Bryant has his seemingly long-awaited Chicago Cubs debut yesterday. It was an inauspicious beginning for the talented rookie. He struck out three times on route to going hitless in four at bats. Fans at Wrigley Field were booing as first reported by Deadspin. The story was also followed up by Oliver VanDervoort of the Inquisitr.
Do not curb your Kris Bryant enthusiasm after one outing. History tells you why you should not give up on him.
Bryant is not the first rookie to have a horrible first game. He certainly will not be the last one either.
Look no further than first baseman Frank Thomas as an example of why it is too soon to boo Bryant.
Thomas, a MLB Hall of Famer, went 0 for 4 when he debuted for the Cubs’ south side rival the Chicago White Sox. Kris Bryant is said to have similar, if not better power than Thomas. The Big Hurt proved to be a natural hitter. His career.301 batting average is one of the highest in the last 30 years among players who have played more than 12 seasons in the majors.
Frank Thomas should serve as a great barometer of potential success for Kris Bryant. That is because Thomas is revered as one of the greatest right-handed hitters ever in baseball.
— FOX Sports (@FOXSports) April 17, 2015
Another good comparison is the debut of third baseman Mike Schmidt.
The Philadelphia Phillies Hall of Famer went 1-3 in his first game, striking out twice in his 1972 September call up. He finished the remainder of the season batting an uninspiring.206. What was worse was that Schmidt was fanned 15 times in 40 total plate appearances. He struck out nearly 1,900 times (1,883), leading the majors in that category four times, including his second, third, and fourth full seasons. Schmidt proved his value by hitting 548 balls out of the park.
With so many players having struggled early in their careers, it would be unwise to write off Kris Bryant. He is the most ballyhooed baseball player to debut in quite some time. Time spent last season with the Iowa Cubs are and will always be a thing of legend.
That legend debuted with the big team yesterday. The result was a Cubs 5-4 loss to the San Diego Padres. Bryant was less than legendary in that game. After the game he addressed his play, acknowledging that he can and will do better.
“I sure hope I can look back on this and laugh at it 15 years from now,” Bryant said to reporters (via ESPN Chicago) “It’s all in the past.”
As fans booed, Kris Bryant handled himself with poise. He understands that baseball is a rollercoaster ride with its share of ups and downs. The season is far from over with. He will have plenty of time to impress us.
Do not curb your enthusiasm just yet for Kris Bryant, as history tells us, the rookie phenom is just getting started.
(Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)