Kris Bryant has quickly become the player to watch in the Southern League.
The Cubs' No. 2 prospect homered and drove in two runs in his first career four-hit game on Saturday night, leading Double-A Tennessee to an 8-4 triumph at Chattanooga.
After singling in each of his first two at-bats, Bryant slugged a two-run homer in the fourth inning to extend the Smokies' lead to 6-0. He raised his average 26 points to .304 and scored twice.
Bryant's longball was his sixth of the season, moving him into a tie with Huntsville's Nick Ramirez and Chattanooga's Scott Schebler for the Southern League lead. He also ranks third with a .982 OPS and is tied with Ramirez for the lead with 21 runs scored.
With the Cubs off to an 11-17 start and third baseman Mike Olt batting .156 to start the season, Bryant's strong start might make it easy for some Cubs fans to start calling for the future to start now. Team officials, however, have said they'd like MLB.com's No. 9 overall prospect to get a full season's worth of playing time in the Minors before moving up.
Still, it's hard not to get giddy after Bryant's first Double-A homer came off rehabbing Reds right-hander Mat Latos.
Charles Cutler contributed three hits and drove in four runs, while John Andreoli scored twice for the Smokies.
Pierce Johnson (1-1), Chicago's seventh-ranked prospect, earned his first Double-A win after limiting the Lookouts to two runs on five hits while striking out five over six innings.
Chris O'Brien was 2-for-4 with a solo homer for Chattanooga.