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Cubs' Bryant clubs first pro homer07/27/2013 1:17 AM ET
By Jonathan Raymond / MiLB.com
Kris Bryant was known for his power coming out of college, so much so that the Cubs made him the second overall pick in last month's Draft.
While by no means was he considered one-dimensional -- he batted .329 and worked a .493 on-base percentage at the University of San Diego this season -- it was his nation-best 31 homers that drove him up Draft boards.
On Friday night, in his sixth game since signing with Chicago, he flashed that prodigious power for the first time.
Bryant took a 3-0 pitch from Yohander Mendez in the third inning and drove it out to left-center field for his first Minor League homer, a three-run shot that helped power short-season Boise to a 9-1 thumping of visiting Spokane.
"It felt awesome. I mean, it's always good to get the first one out of the way in any season," he said. "It's also the hardest one to get, so it felt really good. It was a 3-0 pitch and I just decided if he threw a strike I'd take a good swing at it. And I did, and it was a good result."
It wound up being Bryant's only hit of the night, although he walked in the eighth.
Newly minted as the Cubs' No. 4 prospect, he admitted it was nice to show off his power in a game but made sure to add that he didn't feel any pressure to do so.
"I don't really focus on what people say, I kind of just do my thing," he said. "I know I have power and I know that's a big part of my game, so anytime I'm able to show that, I definitely think it's a plus. I'm very happy that it happened [early] into my pro career."
Bryant and the Cubs took longer to reach a deal than most first-rounders this year, but they eventually came to terms earlier this month -- he signed for a reported $6.7 million -- and he made his debut on July 21 in the Rookie-level Arizona League.
"It's been crazy," the Las Vegas native said. "It was like over six weeks off. Obviously, I'm hitting in the cage and stuff, but nothing really compares to playing in a baseball game. It's been crazy but a good time. It's something that I'm going to remember for the rest of my life."
Bryant played two games in Arizona before joining the Hawks. In four games with Boise, he's just 2-for-16, but the two hits were Friday's home run and a double. He's also walked twice.
His father, Mike, has helped him keep the right perspective as he begins his career. The elder Bryant was the Red Sox's ninth-round pick in the 1980 Draft and spent two seasons in the Boston system.
"I talked to my dad a lot. He played for a little bit and taught me to avoid some of the potholes he stepped in," Bryant said. "He's been an awesome resource for me and I'll definitely continue using him."
Shortstop Carlos Penalver went 3-for-4, fell a homer shy of the cycle, scored twice and drove in two runs for the Hawks.
After starter Rob Zastryzny allowed a run on four hits and a walk in two innings, Boise relievers Sam Wilson, Zack Godley, Scott Frazier and Tyler Bremer combined for seven one-hit frames.