Kris Bryant has been labeled a future star ever since his college days at the University of San Diego. He crushed a nation-leading 31 home runs in his junior season, and that incredible production made him the second overall pick in the 2013 MLB draft.

His effectiveness at the plate has not decreased as he has risen up the professional ladder. As hard as it is to believe, it has improved.

He led all of professional baseball with 43 home runs in 2014 and won a host of honors, picking up the Baseball America Minor League Player of the Year Award as well as recognition from,, USA Today and Yahoo Sports.

Those ridiculous power numbers, coupled with all of those awards, resulted in him being named the top prospect in all of baseball by Baseball America and’s Keith Law

It’s safe to say that expectations are sky-high coming into only his second career spring training. The Cubs have said from the beginning that Bryant will start 2015 in the minor leagues no matter how well he does in the preseason, and so far, they are sticking to their guns.

Several people think that Bryant deserves to be on the big league roster when Opening Day rolls around, including former top prospect and current Nationals outfielder Bryce Harper. 

The major reason that the Cubs want to keep him in the minors as long as possible is to buy another year of contractual control before he is eligible for arbitration and ultimately a free agent.

However, Bryant is making a compelling case to be not only on the major league roster but to be the Cubs’ starting third baseman. It is safe to say that he is not letting the hype and expectations get to him.

To this point in spring training, Bryant leads the league with six home runs, per, which is double what any other player has. He also leads the league in RBI with nine. His 1.400 slugging percentage and 1.922 OPS also are league highs.

He is batting .450 in 20 spring training at-bats, and he is once again proving that his power is the real deal.

On Saturday, Bryant was scratched from the game due to fatigue in his right shoulder. Nonetheless, he came off the bench and hit two home runs, and the Cubs beat the A’s 3-1. It was the second time in three games that Bryant has homered twice in the same game.

Even Cubs President of Baseball Operations Theo Epstein couldn’t help but be a little effusive in his praise of the 23-year-old slugger.

“Spring training is spring training,” Epstein said via Jon Heyman of “But he’s putting on a show.”

From the front office’s perspective, Bryant’s placement is going to be a tough call.

Sure, holding Bryant back will give the organization a benefit in the financial department, but if he clearly is the team’s best third baseman and will give them the best chance to win, wouldn’t it make sense to name him the starter?

Whatever they decide to do, it is hard not to be giddy at the potential of the future Cubs lineup, especially with premium prospects like Javier Baez, Jorge Soler and Addison Russell ready to play in addition to Bryant.

They gave a sneak preview of that lethal heart of the order last week, as Soler, Baez and Bryant hit back-to-back-to-back home runs. All of them were no-doubters, too, and those three will surely hit plenty of home runs when the games actually count.

How the Cubs handle Bryant as the start of the season nears will undoubtedly be one of the most closely followed storylines in all of baseball. Everyone will have an opinion on what the best course of action will be.

But no matter what happens, Bryant is going to continue crushing baseballs deep into the bleachers.

He has shown he is pretty good at handling the hype.

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