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The San Francisco Giants have only lost three games since acquiring utility slugger Kris Bryant at the deadline. The boys from the Bay Area have the best record in all of baseball, by a wide margin at that, and are giving their new player a lot of credit for their continued momentum.
“[Bryant’s] been huge,” starting pitcher Kevin Gausman said, “not just in the batter’s box but in the field, being able to play right field, left field, third base … he can really kind of hop around, play wherever you want him to play. I think from day one, just him walking in the clubhouse, another guy in the clubhouse who’s won a World Series championship .. along with the MVP and the NL Rookie of the Year, all those accolades, I think everybody just really respected him even before he walked in the door. And I think he’s done a good job of keeping everybody on his side.”
It’s the defensive versatility that really sets Bryant apart. Because he can reliably play over half of the positions in the field, manager Gabe Kapler can really maximize the effectiveness of the Giant lineups. It’s no surprise then that the Giants have a four game lead over the division-rival Dodgers, who many thought were poised to win a second straight title this season.
Bryant’s bat is just icing on the cake at this point. The former Cub is hitting .321/.377/.571 since being traded at the deadline, including three homeruns. Most importantly for Giants fans, though, he seems incredibly comfortable with his new team.
“I know it’s all super new to me,” Bryant said, “the whole being here and playing with these guys, but there’s just something that feels a little different about it. It feels right. They’re just really good people. They put their head down, they go to work, they’re not flashy, and I kind of see myself as that type of player, too. And I think that’s kind of what the Giants organization is all about. They want guys that are good people that go to work, keep their head down. Like I said, we’re not flashy, we go out there and do the job and win and move on to the next one, and that’s a good feeling.”
Re-signing Bryant won’t be cheap, but the investment will be worth it if he continues to fit into the organization and culture the way he has thus far. You have to assume that the young team, who is overachieving this season based on expectations, will be contenders for the next few seasons at least. It could make for a nice second act for Bryant, who seems to care about winning above all.
Cover photo via Cunningham/Getty.