The Cubs have waited 107 years for the mythical "next year" to arrive. What was an extra couple weeks?
The subject of endless speculation and discussion around the game, Kris Bryant's 2015 stay in Triple-A Iowa is over after seven games as news broke Thursday night that MLB.com's No. 2 prospect is headed to the Major Leagues. The Cubs have yet to confirm the promotion, but Bryant confirmed the the callup via Twitter.
Bryant went 1-for-4 with a home run in his final game with the I-Cubs, clubbing a mammoth home run to left field as Iowa put together a seven-run sixth inning during a 10-7 win over the New Orleans Zephyrs. The roundtripper gave Bryant 54 home runs in 180 Minor League games since going second overall in the 2013 Draft. He entered Thursday with a .328 average and 1.091 OPS as a Minor Leaguer.
The third baseman would have had two homers in his final Triple-A game, except New Orleans outfielder Cole Gillespie robbed him of a long ball in the fifth inning.
The San Diego product leaves behind quite the Minor League legacy. In 2014, he earned a MiLBY award as the Minor League's best hitter after leading the professional baseball with 43 home runs -- he edged out Joey Gallo by one. He and Gallo grew up playing together in Las Vegas.
The entire baseball world expected Bryant to be called up roughly two weeks into the 2015 season. Though Bryant's promotion aligns with the news that incumbent third baseman Mike Olt will miss time with a hairline fracture of his right wrist, the timing of the promotion should give the Cubs an extra year of control with Bryant and keep him in a Cubs' uniform through at least the 2021 season.
Those around Bryant said he handled the situation with aplomb.
"He's just mature," teammate Addison Russell said. "Everything about his game on the field and off the field, it's just mature. He's fundamentally sound on the field. Just a guy with a lot of confidence.
"The way he's playing, the work ethic, his approach, his mental game with baseball, he's just going about his business the right way and he's just mature.
Just after the second game of the I-Cubs doubleheader was rained out, Russell said he hadn't heard of the promotion, but offered his congratulations just in case.
"If that's true, I just say congrats," Russell said. "He deserves it. There are a lot of people for [whom] he'll be their favorite player."