Cubs

Levine: Epstein Doesn’t See Bryant In Majors This Year

Cubs third baseman prospect Kris Bryant. (Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

Cubs third baseman prospect Kris Bryant. (Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

Bruce Levine Bruce Levine
Bruce Levine covers both the Cubs and the White Sox for CBSChicago.co...
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By Bruce Levine-

(CBS) – Although the hottest hitter in baseball has moved up to Triple-A, don’t expect to see Kris Bryant in the major leagues this season.

Cubs president Theo Epstein said Friday he has no inclination to promote the team’s top pick in 2013 beyond Triple-A this season.

“I don’t see a situation where he would be up this year,” Epstein said. “I don’t think it is the proper thing today in someone’s first full professional season, barring extraordinary circumstances, depending on what is going on with the player and the club.”

Bryant was promoted on Wednesday to the Iowa Cubs after putting up monster numbers at Double-A  Tennessee (.355 batting average and 22 home runs in 68 games ). He hit a home run in his first game at Triple-A on Thursday.

“It would be a tremendous accomplishment to dominate at Double-A  like he did the first part of the season and go to Triple-A to continue his development,” Epstein said. “If he can stay healthy all year and be productive all year, if we can look back and continue to work on his weaknesses, we would be thrilled.”

Bryant still needs to work on low-riding grounders that hug the grass, sources said. Also, some scouts project Bryant learning how to play the outfield in the offseason this fall. With a very good arm and average running speed, right field may be the final landing spot for Bryant, who should be penciled into the Cubs’ starting lineup in April of 2015.