Kris Bryant Uses Second Guessing As Motivation

"Bring it on," Bryant says of those who doubted him amid an injury-marred 2018.

Bruce Levine
February 24, 2019 - 1:38 pm
Cubs third baseman Kris Bryant

Jake Roth/USA Today Sports

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MESA, Ariz. (670 The Score) -- Coming off his most trying professional season, Cubs third baseman Kris Bryant has a renewed focus entering 2019.

Bryant hit .272 with 13 homers, 52 RBIs and an .834 OPS in 102 games amid an injury-plagued 2018, numbers that all represented career-low marks. He also heard the external noise questioning his play, and he has set about using the doubters as motivation. 

"Boy, has it motivated me this year," Bryant said. "I am excited. Hey, I came on in my career really strong -- Rookie of the Year (in 2015). You set those expectations really high after that. When you don't have a year like that, people go, 'What are you doing? You suck.' At the end of the day, you probably don't. It just wasn't as good as it was during some of your best years. As a player who understands the ups and downs  of the game, I just don't put much weight into that.

"This is not the first time I have been doubted. The negative stands out more because negativity sells. People want to read that stuff. I think I am at in terms of my abilities in baseball, I read one thing and it motivates me. You just shut that person up or prove them wrong. So bring it on."

Bryant was slowed by hand and shoulder injuries last season, which affected the extension of his swing for the final three-quarters of the campaign after a strong start in which he had an OPS above 1.000 before getting injured.

"This game is all about what have you done for me lately?" Bryant said. "Boy, did I get experienced in that last year. That is all I got to say about that."

Of course, Bryant had more to say, responding "definitely a little bit" when asked if he had been disrespected during his worst MLB season.

"When you are not playing, you have a whole lot of time to start going through a Twitter rabbit hole and start seeing things about yourself," he said. "You start seeing things said like 'trade him.' I am like, 'I am motivated by this. Keep them coming, bring it.' Whatever you guys write, I try not to read it. Most of you guys are great anyway, but honestly, it's about what have you done for me lately?"

Bryant has also made a point to correct a hitting flaw, working on it in offseason hitting sessions.

"I have to keep my back elbow super close to my body," Bryant said. "When I am bad or start fouling balls off, my back elbow is usually to far away from my body. When I jam the elbow closer to my side, the ball goes where I want it to go."

Bruce Levine covers the Cubs and White Sox for 670 The Score. Follow him on Twitter @MLBBruceLevine​.