In a decision that should come as a surprise to absolutely no one, Iowa Cubs third baseman Kris Bryant was announced as the 2014 USA Today Sports Minor League Player of the Year, just two days removed from completing his first full professional season.
Bryant, who figures to be with the Chicago sometime early in 2015, split the 2014 season between double-A Tennessee and triple-A Iowa. Bryant played in 68 games at Tennessee and 70 with Iowa and compiled an impressive stat line, hitting .325 with 43 home runs and 110 RBI in 138 games.
Bryant’s 43 home runs earned him the Joe Bauman Home Run Award that goes to the player who leads minor league baseball in home runs. Bryant finished one home run ahead of 2013 winner Joey Gallo of double-A Frisco, who hit 42 home runs.
The Las Vegas native was the Chicago Cubs first round pick (second overall) in the 2013 draft, coming out of the University of San Diego where he hit 31 home runs in 2013, the most by a college player since 2003. Bryant made stops at Mesa, Boise, and Daytona in the Cubs’ system in 2013, combining to hit .336 with nine home runs and 32 RBI in 36 games.