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XF Sep 8 '19
CHICAGO -- Kris Bryant is learning. Otis Sistrunk Jersey . Adjusting. Patching holes more quickly than major league teams can find his weaknesses.And thats the scary part right now for opponents of the Chicago Cubs. While the MVP talk for the sweet-swinging slugger grows in intensity, Bryant appears to be -- gasp -- getting better every day.I think thats the big separator, is the ability to use the mental game to your advantage, he said, and determine the necessary adjustments you need to be a better player. And thats just who I am. I dont 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.Yup, thats right. Bryant is batting .302 with 36 homers and a major league-best 112 runs scored, and he wants more. He has made at least five starts at four different positions, committing just 12 errors along the way, and he thinks he is only getting started.Bryants stirring second half -- he bashed 10 homers on his way to NL player of the month for August -- has thrust the third baseman into the discussion for NL MVP, along with teammate Anthony Rizzo, Los Angeles shortstop Corey Seager and Washington second baseman Daniel Murphy. He could become just the sixth player to win rookie of the year and MVP in one or consecutive seasons, but the Las Vegas native isnt too interested in the horse race for MVP.To even be mentioned in that category is unbelievable, he said. Its very humbling and honestly, it just keeps me more determined to just go out there and do better and contribute in any way I can.The Cubs got Bryant with the second pick in the 2013 draft, with Mark Appel going No. 1 overall to Houston. While Appel was traded to Philadelphia in December and is still in search of his major league debut, Bryant rocketed through the minors and hit .275 with 26 homers and 99 RBI while helping Chicago to the NL championship series last year.It was a smashing debut by almost every measure, but what came next was even more impressive. Bryant led the NL with 199 strikeouts last year, so he worked on his swing even more. He has moved all over the field this year on defense and looked comfortable in every spot, providing valuable versatility for the major league-leading Cubs.Asked about Bryants improvement from his rookie season, manager Joe Maddon pointed to several areas.Consistently shorter swing. More contact, Maddon said. Hes had smaller windows of chasing pitches out of the strike zone compared to last year where he did it more often. More recently, hes been using the outfield gap, which is really impressive. So offensively, thats what Im seeing. Defensively, just better feet on the infield. Hes got really good feet now on the infield.The big test for the 24-year-old Bryant is still to come. He closed last season with a 3-for-23 slide, and then struggled in the playoffs. He batted .214 with five strikeouts as the Cubs were swept by the New York Mets in the NLCS.In some ways, Bryants experience in the postseason was a launching point for his stellar sophomore year.Certainly, the playoff experience last year helped in terms of you know thats probably as high as my nerves will be, said Bryant, who homered in the All-Star Game against White Sox ace Chris Sale. This year I just feel a lot more calmer at the plate.The last player to go directly from rookie of the year to MVP was Boston second baseman Dustin Pedroia, who accomplished the feat when he was voted AL MVP in 2008. Cubs president of baseball operations Theo Epstein was the general manager in Boston when the Red Sox selected Pedroia in the second round of the 2004 draft, and he is enjoying his front-row seat for Bryants accelerated career path.Hes helping us win in so many different ways, Epstein said. Obviously coming up big of late, which is great to see. So he deserves all the accolades that are coming his way and that may eventually come his way. But I think hed probably be the first one to tell you that he wants the team awards, he wants the team recognition.---Jay Cohen can be reached at http://www.twitter.com/jcohenap Kenny Stabler Raiders Jersey .500 on the season. The Jets are now 0-5-1 in the second game of back-to-backs. The game started the same way the Vancouver game started the night before, with the Jets taking the first two penalties of the game and killing off the first, but the Oilers getting on the board first, scoring on the second man-advantage. Ronnie Lott Jersey .J. Ellis hit two-run homers and the NL West champion Los Angeles Dodgers defeated the San Diego Padres 4-0 Saturday night. http://www.footballraidersmall.com/Youth-Lester-Hayes-Elite-Jersey/ . The CFLs leading rusher kept adding to his gaudy numbers this season and scored the winning touchdown with just over two minutes to play. The New Westminster, B.C., native plowed three yards into the end zone for the last score of a heated, see-saw battle between the two teams with the best records in the CFL. No strangers to making bold moves in free agency, the Philadelphia Flyers made a trade for a veteran defenceman before agreeing to terms on a four-year contract. Numbers Game breaks down the Flyers addition of Mark Streit. The Flyers Get: D Mark Streit. Streit, 35, has been among the highest-scoring defencemen in the league. Since 2007-2008, he has 241 points in 367 games (0.66 points per game), which ranks seventh among defencemen with at least 200 games played over that span. Of course, over the last two seasons, since he returned from missing the entire 2010-2011 season with a torn labrum in his shoulder, Streit is minus-41, which is tied for worst among defencemen in that time. That doesnt all fall on Streit, however, as the Islanders have had their share of questionable goaltending and Streits puck possession numbers were strong prior to 2013 season. In Philadelphia, Streit can continue to play 22-23 minutes per game and anchor the power play. Again, going back to 2007-2008, Streit has 120 power play points in just over four-and-a-half seasons, so hes a decided asset with the man advantage. There is risk involved in Streits contract. Since he is over 35-years-of-age, it will count against the Flyers cap even if he retires before it is complete. While its reasonable to expect Streit to play the next couple years at a relatively high level, maybe by the time hes 38, its possible that hes not going to be handle playing the top-four minutes that contract necessitates in order to provide value. In addition to the Flyers most likely needing write big compliance buyout cheques to both Daniel Briere and Ilya Bryzgalov, just to squeeze Streits deal under the salary cap, the Flyers are going to be in a position to move a defenceman because (not including Chris Prongers contract, which surely will be allocated to long-term injured reserve) they will have more than $26-million allocated to six defencemen. Andrej Meszaros, with one year and $4-million left on his current contract, could be the easiest to move, even afteer he missed 37 games due to shoulder injuries last season. Hunter Renfrow Jersey. . Admittedly, acquiring top-four defencemen isnt easy and adding Streit probably makes the Flyers better next year, which is one thing. What it does for them in years three and four of the deal could be another entirely. It wouldnt be the first time that the Flyers have overspent on a free agent, and being the highest bidder leads to a likelihood of overpaying, but there is some irony involved in using two compliance buyouts on players overpaid as unrestricted free agents, in order to gain the financial flexibility to venture down the same path at a different position. The Islanders Get: RW Shane Harper and a fourth-round pick in 2014. Getting a fourth-round pick for Streit is pretty nice value for the Islanders, considering he was set to leave as an unrestricted free agent, which would yield nothing in return. A fourth-round pick brings slightly better than a one-in-five chance of landing an NHL player. Harper, 24, ripped up the ECHL last season, scoring 27 points in 15 games for Trenton, but has 41 points in 143 career AHL games, making it unlikely that hes going to make the jump to the NHL at any point. His inclusion in the deal is likely more related to giving the Flyers room for new contracts. Teams are allowed to have 50 players under contract and, according to www.capgeek.com, the Flyers now have 44 signed, with six restricted free agents still waiting for deals. The Islanders, on the other hand, are nowhere near their reserve list limit. The Islanders will have to make up for Streits absence, particularly on the power play. Veteran Lubomir Visnovsky is already a regular on the Isles power play, so the next best in-house option may be Matt Donovan, a 23-year-old who has 93 points in 147 AHL games over the past two seasons and is due for his chance in the NHL. Scott Cullen can be reached at Scott.Cullen@bellmedia.ca and followed on Twitter at http://twitter.com/tsnscottcullen. For more, check out TSN Fantasy on Facebook. ' ' '