One year ago, Kris Bryant was disappointed to be starting the season in the minor leagues. This year, he is expected to be a superstar for the odds-on World Series favorite. The vibe is spring training has been considerably different for last year's Rookie of the Year. Bryant spoke to ThePostGame about the Cubs' expectations, Joe Maddon's surprises, David Ross's Instagram and more, on behalf of Stouffer's Fit Kitchen.
ThePostGame: How's spring training?
KRIS BRYANT: I'm feeling good. It's a little hot. It's kind of going quicker than last year, so that's good.
TPG: You've now done an undercover Lyft and pretended to be a European exchange student on a college baseball team. Are you getting a reputation as a bit of a prankster?
BRYANT: I don't know if I'm there yet. I don't know if I'll be able to do anymore pranks. I'll keep doing them as long as people are having trouble recognizing me.
TPG: Not a prank, but everything with Grandpa Rossy (David Ross Instagram created by Bryant and Anthony Rizzo) right now, how much fun are you having with that?
BRYANT: (Laughs) It's fun. Some people are taking it a little too far calling him, "Grandpa." We don't want him to be a grandpa yet, but he's enjoying it too. He's taking it like a champ and we're having fun with it. We're trying to find some good things to post. It's just fun because he does some things and says some crazy things in the clubhouse. It's fun to capture that, so the fans can see it.
TPG: It's you and Anthony running the account?
BRYANT: Yes, both of us. We have the password. We're going to give it to Rossy at the end of the year, so we're kind of getting him some followers.
TPG: Is it a David Ross-related password?
BRYANT: I don't know if I can say that. We might have some hackers out there.
TPG: You said this spring training is going faster. How is it different than last year?
BRYANT: Each year's a little different for me because I kind of know the guys more. Last year at this time, I had a lot more at-bats because I was playing a lot more games. This year, I'm able to work on a little bit more doing some things I wouldn't do during the year, but hopefully finding some things that work for me and taking them into the year.
TPG: Last year at this time, you had not played an MLB game. Do you feel like you have less stress and more respect from your teammates?
BRYANT: Yeah, definitely a little less stressful, knowing where I stand and what I need to do. My teammates have been really great to me. They know who I am as a player and a persona and they've always treated me great.
TPG: Are you being tough on the new guys?
BRYANT: No. I don't think I could ever be that type of teammate. I'll save that for the older guys and some of the other guys who are like that. I like to talk to the new guys and give them any advice I have. I've only been in the big leagues one year, but I've certainly went through some of the things these guys are going through. It's nice to help them along the way.
TPG: When Dexter [Fowler] showed up as spring training, how shocked were you?
BRYANT: I was completely shocked. Joe called us up and said he had a surprise. Joe [Maddon] likes his surprises. You never know what he's going to do. Turning around and seeing Dexter there, I knew what it meant right away, that he signed. Some guys were like is he saying bye to us? I knew why he was there and it was a cool moment. Obviously Dexter played a big role in our success last year and hopefully he will again this year.
TPG: When Joe says he has a surprise, what's the first thing that comes to your mind?
BRYANT: I don't assume anything. I assume it'll be different than all the other surprises he's had before. He's had zoo animals and magicians and PJs and talent shows and different outfits on the field. You never know what to expect with Joe.
TPG: What's the oddest thing he's done this spring?
BRYANT: There's so much stuff. Just bringing his van onto the field and coming out dressed as a hippy for practice. I wasn't expected that. I knew his van and what it looked like, but for him to come out with the players and coaches. Then there was [Munenori] Kawasaki doing some karaoke for us. We've done a lot of fun things so far in the spring.
TPG: What kind of relationship have you and Rizzo created and how excited should Cubs fans be about their two young stars becoming best buds?
BRYANT: We're really good friends. My approach as a player, when I'm struggling, he kind of helps me get through it. Two spring trainings ago, getting to know him. He's like that with everybody. Off the field, he's there too. He's a guy a lot of us look to.
TPG: Are you just playing third base this year or you could end up in left field or who knows where?
BRYANT: Yeah, who knows where. I've been told I'll be playing more third base, but I'll be ready any time they need me in the outfield, which I'm always ready for. You never know what to expect with Joe, so I'm always on my toes.
TPG: You guys are the odds-on favorite to win the World Series. I don't expect you to make any guarantees right now, but is it something you guys are starting to discuss, the pressure that's being put on you?
BRYANT: No, we haven't talked about that at all actually. We certainly hear it, but we expect a lot out of ourselves, probably more than anyone on the outside expects from us. I think that's a good spot to be for us as a team heading into the year, building off what we did last year.
TPG: Is it nice that you get to start outside of Chicago in Arizona for spring training and then Los Angeles and Arizona for the regular season?
BRYANT: Ummm, I honestly would rather have our first game at home, feel the energy. I personally enjoy starting at home, but I don't make the schedule.
TPG: Kris, I went to Northwestern. It will definitely be cold.
BRYANT: (Laughs) Nothing some heaters or some adrenaline can't fix.
TPG: Obviously a big story in Chicago right now is everything with Adam LaRoche and his son. What was your upbringing like in terms of your relationship with your dad and getting into some clubhouses and mingling with professional baseball players?
BRYANT: I never got the chance to be in any clubhouses growing up, but my dad was certainly the most influential person when it comes to my baseball career. Seeing that situation and seeing what we have in our clubhouse, the kids there, just having some kids running around, whether they're 2 years old or 15, it kind of takes the stress of the game off of you and it's just enjoying some time with some of the guys' kids. I've never seen a kid in our clubhouse that didn't put a smile on guys' faces.
TPG: Did you have a discussion as a team after this story escalated?
BRYANT: No, we didn't. Some of the older guys with kids may have had a discussion, but I'm only 24, so I don't have any kids yet.
TPG: What's your favorite part about spring training in Arizona?
BRYANT: How close the stadiums are. The travel's really easy here. You see how in Florida, they have to go all over the place. This makes it easier to get our at-bats in and our work in to get prepared for the season.
TPG: Does it feel like you're in your environment in the Southwest, growing up in Las Vegas and going to school in San Diego?
BRYANT: Yeah, definitely. It's close to home. I can have my family come out and watch some games. It's a similar climate to where I grew up. The heat is always nice to enjoy for a month.
TPG: Is there one game or one series you're looking forward to?
BRYANT: Honestly, I haven't looked at the schedule yet. I always look forward to going to San Diego, seeing some of my college buddies. It's my favorite place to play. I love San Diego. Petco Park is awesome. California is always a good trip. You get the beach and the weather. It's a nice place to play a game.
TPG: Do you think Las Vegas could ever support an MLB team?
BRYANT: I think so. It'd be cool. I definitely would have gone to the games when I was younger. But I don't know what kind of fans you'd have because it's a touristy city. I don't know if there'd be a fan base, but I'd like to see one there.
TPG: Where would the stadium be?
BRYANT: That's a good question. (Laughs) I don't know. Maybe on the outskirts. There's definitely room for it, but I don't know where it'd be.
TPG: Inside the Thomas and Mack Center?
BRYANT: (Laughs) You know, those summer games in Vegas would get pretty hot, so that's another problem they would have.
Bryant spoke to ThePostGame on behalf of Stouffer's Fit Kitchen. On March 21, Bryant and Royals third baseman Mike Moustakas hosted a Fit Kitchen City Takeover in Phoenix. The two players introduced fans to Stouffer's Fit Kitchen, completed a customized obstacle course and coached a softball game on Arizona State's campus.
-- Follow Jeffrey Eisenband on Twitter @JeffEisenband.