Smokies’ Bryant tabbed Baseball America Minor League Player of the Year

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Baseball America announced Tuesday that 2014 Tennessee Smokies third baseman Kris Bryant has been named the publication’s Minor League Player of the Year. The honor comes less than a week after USA TODAY tabbed Bryant their top Minor Leaguer of 2014.

The 22-year-old combined to pace the Minor Leagues with 43 homers, over half of which were hit with the Smokies, over 138 games between Tennessee and Triple-A Iowa in 2014, while compiling a .325 average and driving in 110 RBI, the third-most of any minor leaguer this past season. Bryant also led the minor leagues with 78 extra-base hits, 325 total bases and a .661 slugging percentage.

Bryant dominated the Southern League in the first half of his first full professional campaign. The Nevada native earned three Southern League Hitter of the Week Awards and also named a starter for the Southern League All-Star Game in Chattanooga. The day before the circuit’s Mid-Summer Classic he won the league’s Home Run Derby at Historic Engel Field, totaling 16 big flies over three rounds to take the crown.

Tabbed the number eight overall prospect and second-best Cubs prospect by Baseball America before this year, Bryant was selected by the Cubs as the second overall selection in the 2013 MLB Draft out of the University of San Diego. Last week the slugger was chosen as the Minor League Player of the Year by USA TODAY, totaling nine of the possible 11 points.

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