Bryant named Southern League's top hitter for second straight week

KODAK, Tenn. (release) -- The Southern League announced today that Tennessee Smokies third baseman Kris Bryant has been named the league’s Hitter of the Week for the time period from June 2-8, marking the second consecutive week and third time this season the 22-year-old has been tabbed with the weekly honor by the circuit.

The Nevada native in seven games in that time frame compiling a .417 batting average (10-24), adding seven runs, three doubles, three homers, five RBI and six walks, in addition to a .533 on-base percentage and .917 slugging percentage. Bryant paced all Southern Leaguers in slugging percentage, OPS (1.450) and total bases (22) in that time period, while also tied for first in runs scored, roundtrippers, extra-base hits (six) and on-base percentage, as well as fifth in batting average.

Entering Monday’s action, the 22-year-old leads the Southern League in ten separate categories, including all three Triple Crown statistics, and has posted a .356 average (80-225), adding 55 runs, 18 doubles, 21 homers and 54 RBI in 62 games for the Smokies in 2014. The infielder as of June 9 leads all Minor Leaguers in extra-base hits (39) and total bases (161), in addition to ranking tied for first in homers, second in slugging percentage (.716), tied for third in runs, and fourth in batting average, RBI and on-base percentage.

The Southern League All-Star last week was also named the Cubs’ Minor League Player of the Month for the month of May, in addition to being announced as a starter for the North Division squad in the 2014 Southern League All-Star Game on June 17 at AT&T Field in Chattanooga, Tennessee. The infielder is expected to hit third for the North Division’s order and begin the game at third base.

The second overall selection of the 2013 MLB Draft by the Chicago Cubs was rated by Baseball America as the number eight prospect among all Minor Leaguers by the publication, in addition to the second-best Cubs prospect behind former Smokies infielder Javier Baez. Bryant was previously honored by the Southern League last week for the time frame between May 26 through June 1, as well as earlier in the year between May 5-11. Right-handed starter Corey Black was also recognized by the circuit as the league’s Pitcher of the Week for the span between April 21-27.

The Smokies wrap up their five-game series this evening with the Jacksonville Suns, the Double-A affiliate of the Miami Marlins, with first pitch set for 7:05 p.m. ET at Bragan Field. Tennessee is expected to give the ball to RHP Joe Gardner (1-0, 0.98), while the Suns are anticipated to counter with RHP Angel Sanchez (0-8, 6.52).

Following an off day on Tuesday, the Smokies return to action at home on Wednesday, June 11 at Smokies Stadium, with first pitch scheduled for 7:15 p.m. Tickets for that game and all remaining 2014 Smokies home games are still available and can be purchased online at www.smokiesbaseball.com, or by calling the Smokies Ticket Office at (865) 286-2300.


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