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Talking with Kris Bryant, Before He Became a Star

The Chicago Cubs are back in the postseason for the first time since 2008, and Kris Bryant’s a big reason for it. In 151 regular season games, the third baseman hit .275 with 26 home runs and 99 RBIs. Of his 99 RBIs, 48 came with two outs. His power stats — not to mention his skill in the field — made the rookie a star (his jersey was the biggest seller on, earned him a trip to the All-Star Game, and set him up as the favorite to win National League Rookie of the Year. There are plenty of other good candidates, like Dodger Joc Pederson, Giant Matt Duffy, and Pirate Jung Ho Kang. But those players didn’t put him Bryant’s numbers or have his consistency. And Bryant has a chance to bring his team to victory in the playoffs. The Cubs visit the Pittsburgh Pirates for the NL Wild Card Game on Wednesday. (Kang has been out since mid-September with a knee and leg injury.)

But before all that, Bryant was a top-five prospect in the minor leagues. Last year, I had a chance to meet Bryant at the 2014 All Star Futures Game. He told me then that when he was 8 years old and hit his first home run, his Dad gave him $100. Now 15 years later, Bryant has turned into an MLB star with a future of many more rewards and awards. Good job, Dad!