Rizzo can relate to pressure facing Bryant
June, 7, 2013
By Bruce Levine | ESPNChicago.com
AP photo/Lenny IgnelziThe Cubs are hoping Kris Bryant develops quickly in the minor leagues.CHICAGO -- The Chicago Cubs' newest poster child for stardom, third baseman Kris Bryant, will have to deal with many different pressures that come with high expectations.
Bryant, the No. 2 overall pick out of the University of San Diego, is expected to make the transition to the major leagues in short period of time.
Although the Cubs will not rush any prospect, expectations are high for a draft choice expected to be an impact player in the big leagues.
The Cubs as an organization have not developed an impact third baseman since Ron Santo came through the farm system in May of 1960.
A potential future teammate of Bryant's had the great expectation label to deal with coming through the Boston Red Sox and San Diego Padres systems.
"I was a sixth-round pick but they had high hopes for me," Cubs first baseman Anthony Rizzo said. "I know he is going to get a ton of money. Hopefully he doesn't stop there. You see guys get a lot of money and (the maturation) stops. I know our front office has done their homework on (Bryant) and he has a good background and comes from a good family."
Most top-level college prospects take at least a year to get to the major leagues. That said, for a team in transition like the Cubs, some of Bryant's player development may take place at Clark and Addison.
"I think for me I had my own expectations about getting here " Rizzo said "I didn't get caught up in what everyone else wanted me to do. You have to think on your own and believe in what got you there, just keep working. When he gets here we will welcome him."
In the past 35 years only a handful of players have been drafted and gone straight to the big leagues. Hall of Famer Dave Winfield never played a day of minor league ball after being selected by San Diego as the first pick of the 1973 draft. Atlanta's Bob Horner is the most notable third baseman to get drafted and go straight to the major leagues.
Since the draft was instituted in 1965, only 20 players have skipped a minor league route to the major leagues with Cincinnati Red pitcher Mike Leake the most recent.
Cubs fans and the front office can now envision a power-laden lineup that could feature Rizzo, Bryant, outfielder Jorge Soler, infielder Javier Baez and Starlin Castro in the not too distant future.
"(Bryant) has a lot of development left just as the rest of us do," Rizzo said. "Everyone will be writing him up hitting 50 homers and 130 RBIs. He has to have time to develop and establish himself in the minors and then become a big leaguer."