(CBS) — Kris Bryant has added another award to collection of them.
The top-rated prospect in baseball, Bryant was named the Cubs’ Minor League Player of the Year on Monday.
Bryant was previously named the best player for all of the minor leagues by Baseball America and USA Today, so this comes as little surprise. In 110 games split between Double-A Tennessee and Triple-A Iowa, the 22-year-old Bryant hit .325 with 43 home runs and 110 RBIs.
The Cubs, citing Bryant’s first full season as a professional player, decided not to promote the former University of San Diego star to the major leagues in September. An ancillary reason for not promoting Bryant is to not start his major league clock on arbitration and free agency.
Despite the need of a power-hitting stud like Bryant at third base, the Cubs haven’t committed to playing him at the position exclusively next season.
“Right now, he is a third baseman,” Chicago general manager Jed Hoyer said. “If we put him in the outfield at some point, it would just be work on his flexibility and versatility. In general, as an organization, we have talked about this, we do want to do that with different guys. Hopefully, as we move enough guys around, it will cease to set alarm bells off every time we do it.”
A direct time of call-up for Bryant next year has yet to be set by the Cub executives. If the outfield is the future landing spot for the player, then a couple of months in the minor leagues to start 2015 would not be out of the question.
Meanwhile, teammates and scouts of other teams are more than just a little impressed with the No. 2 overall pick in the 2013 amateur draft.
“I put an eight on him,” said a veteran scout from the American League Central, using the major league rating system of two being the lowest and eight the highest number . “He is such an impressive young player who appears to have an insatiable desire to work. Every day I was at the ballpark early, he was there before anyone else taking groundballs. The Cubs may have a great one in Bryant.”
Teammate Logan Watkins saw nothing but a dedicated player on and off the field while he was in Iowa with Bryant, who is a Las Vegas native.
“The guys from Vegas, I always thought want to have a good time,” Watkins said. “He is just extremely focused on his career and getting better every day. He is going to be really successful. He is so talented, yet he fit in with all of the players and was not afraid to ask questions. You people will see something special when he gets here. It won’t take much time for it to be evident when he shows up.”
Bryant’s future manager, Rick Renteria, hopes that Bryant enjoys his day at Wrigley Field this Wednesday when he receives his award from the organization.
“We feel he is a pretty mature young man from what we saw of him in spring and what he has done this season,” Renteria said. “He should be very proud of his exploits from this year. We hope he enjoys the moment.”
Bruce Levine covers the Cubs and White Sox for 670 The Score and CBSChicago.com. Follow him on Twitter @MLBBruceLevine.