(CBS) Cubs third baseman and top prospect Kris Bryant has been named Baseball America’s Minor League Player of the Year, it was announced Tuesday morning.
A handful of organizations hand out a minor league player of the year award, but Baseball America’s is considered to be the most prestigious by many. Bryant’s honor comes after he dominated across two levels in 2014. In time split between Double-A Tennessee and Triple-A Iowa, Bryant combined to hit a minor league-best 43 homers and drove in 110 runs. He hit .325 with a .438 on-base percentage and an absurd 1.098 OPS.
“He’s exceeded our expectations at every level,” Cubs general manager Jed Hoyer said, according to Baseball America.
The Cubs decided to not bring up Bryant in September, preferring he get some rest after his first full year of professional baseball. He’ll have a chance to make the 2015 Opening Day roster out of spring training, and if he doesn’t, it’s widely understood that he’ll be called up to the big leagues in the first half of the season.
Bryant is the first Cubs player to win Baseball America’s award. Recent winners include Twins prospect Byron Buxton, Rays outfielder/former Royals prospect Wil Myers and Angels star outfielder Mike Trout.