Rizzo was an NL All-Star for a third straight season, and finished fourth in the NL MVP voting. He was further honored with his first career Gold Glove and Silver Slugger. On any other club, he would be the team Player of the Year.
22-year old shortstop Addison Russell was an NL All-Star for the first time. He banged 21 homers and produced 95 RBI. Center fielder Dexter Fowler had a .393 on-base percentage, stole a team-high 13 bases, and scored 84 runs.
Veteran second baseman Ben Zobrist was an NL All-Star for the first time, the third All-Star nod in his career. He had a .386 on-base percentage with 18 homers, 31 doubles, 76 RBI, and 94 runs scored.
Perhaps most importantly, Zobrist, who also won the World Series a year ago with the Kansas City Royals, was the Most Valuable Player of this year’s Fall Classic.
Lester shared the NLCS MVP honors, and was an NL All-Star and the Cy Young Award runner-up. Arrieta was also an NL All-Star, and won a Silver Slugger Award. Hendricks finished third in the Cy Young voting.
In the bullpen, Hector Rondon had 18 Saves until giving way to trade deadline acquisition Aroldis Chapman, who registered 16 Saves down the stretch.
With all of their weapons, choosing the Cubs top player in 2016 was still an easy call. 24-year old Kris Bryant was the National League Most Valuable Player and the Hank Aaron Award winner as the league’s top hitter.
Bryant ripped 39 home runs and 35 doubles, knocking in 102 and scoring 121 runs. He hit for a .292/.385/554 slash line with a .939 OPS and 149 OPS+ mark.
The career trajectory for Bryant has been nothing short of incredible. He was the 2013 Golden Spikes Award as the best player in college baseball. In 2014, he became the #1 overall prospect in the game.
A year ago, Bryant was the NL Rookie of the Year and a National League All-Star, finishing 11th in the MVP voting. This year, he continued the progression, winning the MVP and leading the Cubs to a world championship.
“It’s all downhill from here,” Bryant joked after being named the NL MVP, per Colleen Kane with the Chicago Tribune. “This year has certainly been one of the best years of my life, winning the World Series, and now this is just icing on the cake. I look forward to really enjoying this offseason because I don’t know if this year will ever happen to me (again).”
I think we can all feel certain that this, just his second big league season, is only the beginning of one of the great baseball careers of this new generations of players. For the 2016 season, Kris Bryant is the world champion Chicago Cubs Player of the Year.