Kris Bryant’s dedication to his craft has made him one the most popular and recognizable professional baseball players on the planet. “I’ve always been the type of player where I want to be better than what people expect of me,” he says. “I want to do it while being as humble as possible. I just love playing baseball.” That exact mentality has allowed KB to embrace his role as one of the game’s brightest stars.
Originally drafted in the 18th round in 2010, Kris instead chose to play college baseball, where he emerged immediately as a star.
As a junior, KB finished the season leading the nation with 31 home runs, an .820 slugging percentage, 80 runs scored, 187 total bases and 66 walks. That year he was awarded the nation's top collegiate player, and he counts this trophy as his favorite from a personal collection that's been piling up from a young age.
It was his ability to hit lengthy home runs that set the All-American apart when entering the 2013 draft, when he was selected as the 2nd pick. As Baseball America’s 2014 minor league player of the year, he crushed 43 home runs which made him one of the game’s most highly-touted prospects.
After being called up to the majors early in 2015, KB was the unanimous pick as the NL Rookie of the Year, hitting .275 with 26 home runs and 99 RBIs.
But he wasn’t finished there. In 2016, KB helped guide the Chicago Cubs to their first World Series appearance since 1945 as they ended a 108-year wait for the title after winning an epic Game 7 in extra innings.
He was also recognized as the National League's Hank Aaron Award winner.
But the more KB’s name became linked to individual honors, the more he chose to focus on team goals and personal improvement.
“I think that’s the big separator: the ability to use the mental game to your advantage and determine the necessary adjustments you need to become a better player,” he says. “And that’s just who I am. I don’t want to be average or mediocre. I want to continue to strive to be the best I can be and nothing is ever going to be good enough for me.”
KB’s passion is evident, both through his intensity on the field and through the youthful personality and smile that have made him a favorite – both among fans and his teammates. The attention that accompanies being among the best in baseball comes with the territory. While he is willing to embrace it, KB won’t allow it to change who he is at heart.
“It's just about being the same person,” he says. “Whether good things come my way or bad things come my way, and to enjoy the opportunities I have.”