Kris Bryant Traded From Cubs To Giants: How The Move Alters San Francisco’s World Series Odds, Projections
Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images. Pictured: Kris Bryant
Chicago Cubs outfielder and third baseman Kris Bryant has been traded to the San Francisco Giants, according to multiple media reports.
Bryant was a linchpin member of the Cubs team that won the 2016 World Series — the team’s first championship in 108 years. That season, he hit .292/.385/.554 with 39 homers and won MVP honors.
Despite Bryant’s obvious value, his offensive production has undoubtedly waned since 2019, which has played a large part in the Cubs’ willingness to let him go — and unwillingness to hand him an expensive extension.
Even so, he is still hitting a well-above-average .267/.358/.503 so far this season with 18 homers and a bWAR of 2.1. He was named a National League All-Star.
The four-time All-Star will likely take at-bats away from outfielders Alex Dickerson and Austin Slater, who have each logged more than 220 plate appearances this season but with a below-average OPS+.
San Francisco is currently mired in a three-way dogfight for the NL West in what is by far the best division in baseball.
The Giants are three games up on the second-place Los Angeles Dodgers and 5.5 games ahead of the San Diego Padres as of Friday afternoon.
But, the Dodgers made a blockbuster trade for the Washington Nationals’ Max Scherzer and Trea Turner this week. Los Angeles also made a deadline day move for Danny Duffy. Meanwhile, the Padres improved with trades for second baseman Adam Frazier and pitcher Daniel Hudson.
The Giants needed to make a move and they pulled one off with just a few minutes to spare on MLB Trade Deadline day.
San Francisco’s odds to win the division were +280 at DraftKings, +270 at FanDuel and +275 at PointsBet before the Bryant trade news.
Their odds were +650 at DraftKings, +525 at FanDuel and +500 at PointsBet to win the National League pennant prior to the trade.
And the Giants were +1400 at DraftKings, +1500 at FanDuel, +1000 at BetMGM and +1200 at PointsBet to win the World Series.
If those odds change as a result of this trade, The Action Network will update this story with the relevant information.
The Giants had a 20.7% chance to win the division entering play on Friday despite their current division lead, according to FanGraphs. They had a 95.4% chance to make the playoffs entering Friday according to the same metrics.
The Cubs have become firm sellers this summer due to their precarious playoff position and with their World Series winning core of Bryant, Anthony Rizzo and Javier Báez eligible for free agency after the season.
All three of those players — and closer Craig Kimbrel – were traded this week.
The Cubs currently have just a 0.4% chance to make the playoffs, said FanGraphs.
Bryant had spent his entire career with the Cubs after he was selected overall in the 2013 MLB Draft.
BJ Cunningham’s Analysis
Adding Bryant to an already powerful Giants lineup is massive for San Francisco’s World Series chances. Evan Longoria is out for the season and Wilmer Flores has been maintaining the hot corner, putting up slightly above-average numbers at the plate (.320 xWOBA & 112 wRC+). Bryant will immediately take over for Flores and will be in one of the best lineups in all of baseball.
The Giants are top five in wOBA and wRC+ against right-handed pitching, but they have been pretty average against lefties (.319 wOBA & 100 wRC+). Bryant is one of the best hitters against left-handed pitching in MLB.
Kris Bryant versus Left-Handed Pitching in 2021: AVG: .342 (11th in MLB)
- wOBA: .473 (1st in MLB)
- wRC+: 113 (2nd in MLB)
- ISO: .367 (5th in MLB)
- Hard Hit %: 47.3% (7th in MLB)
Bryant also doesn’t have any weaknesses from a pitch value perspective, with positive run values versus every single pitch type. Bryant is especially good against sliders (+4.4 run value), which is a pitch the Giants are second to last in MLB against (-33.3 run value).
Bryant defensively, though, is a below-average defender with -5 DRS for his career at third base, but with that being said, this puts the Giants’ offense right on par with the Dodgers and the Padres.
Sean Zerillo’s Analysis
According to my projections, Bryant proved to be the most impactful acquisition at the deadline, upgrading the Giants by 3.1 wins in my power rankings — from an 82.9 win team to an 86-win team — if the season restarted tomorrow.
The move helps push back against the big trades made by their NL West rivals over the past week.
As a result, I would still place the Dodgers (103.1 True Talent wins) ahead of the Padres (94.1) and Giants (86) in an overall power ranking, but here is how that shakes out in my prorated predictions for 2021:
Updated 2021 Projection
- Los Angeles: 98.9 Wins (NL West Champion)
- San Francisco: 95.9 Wins (NL Wild Card No. 1)
- San Diego: 93.1 Wins (NL Wild Card No. 2)
Since the Padres missed out on Max Scherzer, the Giants ultimately did more to improve their team at the trading deadline than the Friars. However, the Dodgers still made the most impactful move, acquiring a pair of All-Stars from the Nationals.
The NL West has been the most exciting division in baseball this season. It should only continue to captivate baseball fans with all three contenders improving for the season’s final two months.