Chicago did not promote top prospect Kris Bryant earlier this season in order to gain another full year of control. But the Cubs are not waiting any longer, and according to ESPN's Jesse Rogers, the club will promote Bryant on Friday and he will be in the starting lineup against the Padres.
Bryant, 23, entered the season as the best prospect in baseball according to both ESPN's Keith Law and Baseball Prospectus. By keeping Bryant in the minors for the first 12 days of the regular season, the Cubs ensured Bryant will be eligible for arbitration four times and be deemed a Super Two player who Chicago can now control for an additional season.
While it was perceived the Cubs delayed Bryant's promotion in order to gain an additional season of control, the organization used an insufficient amount of major league experience to justify its decision. Ultimately, stating they wanted another year of control would likely lead to the Cubs facing a grievance from Scott Boras and Bryant.
Bryant had success in both Double and Triple-A last season, posting a .325/.438/.661 batting line to complement 43 home runs in 138 minor league games. He batted .425 this spring, and hit .333 in 29 games in Triple-A to open the season. Bryant is expected to become the Cubs' starting third baseman, however he could also take a corner outfield spot while hitting in the middle of the order.
Chicago entered the 2015 with notably high expectations after signing Jon Lester and piecing together a rotation that includes Jake Arrieta. Those expectations will only increase once the Cubs officially announce Bryant's promotion, and the playoffs could be realistic for a team searching for a postseason appearance.
The Bryant decision will likely prove to be valuable for the Cubs. He is one of baseball's rising stars, and could contribute significantly starting this weekend.