SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — On March 16, 2022, news broke that stunned the baseball world: Kris Bryant had actually reached a seven-year, $182 million handle the Rockies. The previous National League Most Valuable Player would end up being the focal point of a group looking for a brand-new identity following 3 successive losing seasons and the departures of star sluggers Nolan Arenado and Trevor Story.
Exactly one year later on — and after Colorado completed 68-94, with Bryant appearing in just 42 video games — neither he nor the Rockies can review his very first season in purple pinstripes with much fondness.
Nagging back and foot issues sidelined Bryant for the majority of the 2022 project. But he got in Spring Training this year healthy, and he left to a fantastic start at the plate, releasing 3 crowning achievement in his very first 8 Cactus League video games.
Then he awakened Monday early morning with back tightness. And Rockies fans all of a sudden discovered their high blood pressure increasing. After all, back injuries — and plantar fasciitis, for that matter — can trigger issues for several years.
But in the Rockies’ clubhouse, Bryant understood what this was.
“I think every person in here has back stiffness sometimes, just playing baseball,” Bryant stated after going 2-for-3 with a set of songs in his go back to the lineup Thursday as the Rockies lost to the Padres, 7-1, at Salt River Fields. “And that’s really all it was. Last year, it was more like playing through back problems, and then you just keep making it worse and worse. And then it takes longer to recover from it.”
When Bryant signed his enormous agreement 365 days back, forecasts of what type of numbers he may set up now that he had Coors Field as his house ballpark were inescapable. And where would the Rockies remain in one year? In 3? In 5?
Fast-forward to today, and Robert Burns’ saying about the best-laid strategies of mice and guys had actually raised its awful head as soon as again. But if there is any gamer who has the ideal personality to handle what has actually taken place to Bryant over the previous 12 months, it’s Bryant.
Say what you will about his apparently charmed baseball life — he made the protective play that clinched the Cubs’ very first World Series title in 108 years after an MVP project throughout his 2nd Major League season — however it hasn’t precisely been smooth cruising because.
In truth, you might state we’ve never ever genuinely gotten to see the very best of Kris Bryant. Over his very first 3 MLB seasons, he published a .939 OPS with 94 homers and 18.3 bWAR. In the 5 seasons because, his OPS is almost 100 points lower, and he has actually produced simply shy of 11 WAR. That’s what a multitude of injuries, not to point out a once-in-a-century pandemic, will do.
Does Bryant have a genuinely unique season in him, one that leaves his fantastic 2016 in the dust?
“You could look back at like Barry Bonds, maybe. He had like every stat one year was like the best it could possibly be,” Bryant stated. “But I feel like as baseball players here, I don’t know if anybody’s actually put together a season where it’s like, ‘Oooh, look at this stat sheet — I did everything unbelievably well.’ Even in my best years, there were areas where I’m like, ‘Man, I really wish I did this better.’”
Still, he believes there’s a beast year in him.
“Oh, definitely,” Bryant stated. “It’s important to have that desire and that will. And I know I still have it because even in Spring Training games, when things aren’t going my way, I’m frustrated. It’s when you lose that fire and that desire that you probably shouldn’t be playing baseball anymore.”
Sometimes it’s dangerous to look ahead a year or 3. But in some cases it’s okay to muse about, state, 7? As he and numerous of his Rockies colleagues prepare to fly to his home town of Las Vegas for this weekend’s two-game series versus the Royals, one might forgive Bryant for questioning what it would resemble if there were a Major League franchise there sooner or later.
“They’ll probably get a team just in time for when I retire,” he joked prior to somebody raised the possibility of him and fellow Las Vegan Bryce Harper signing up with forces for one last perform at completion of their professions.
“That would be cool,” Bryant stated. “I don’t know if I’d want to, but maybe my kids will force me to.”
There are the best-laid strategies. And then there are forecasts that really do exercise. Only time will inform.