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Anthony Rizzo: His Impact On The Chicago Cubs

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Tuesday April 30th, 2013

Rizzo looks in 2013 to improve on his strong short 2012 campaign, in which he hit .285 with 15 HR and 48 RBI.

Rizzo looks in 2013 to improve on his strong short 2012 campaign, in which he hit .285 with 15 HR and 48 RBI.  He has struggled to carry a great Batting Average – but has launched 8 HRs and added 19 RBI in just 90 At-Bats heading into Monday Nights action, We at the ‘Reports,’ are calling him the NL Mendoza Line Masher.  The AL Mendoza Line Masher is definitely Adam Dunn.

By Bernie Olshansky (MLB Reports Writer):

Over the past few years, Chicago Cubs fans have not had a lot to cheer about. Anthony Rizzo is starting to break this trend. Rizzo was acquired by the Cubs from the San Diego Padres in early 2012.

The team sent Andrew Cashner—most notably—to the Padres and got Rizzo in return along with minor league pitcher Zach Cates.

Rizzo is exactly what the Cubs need in a power-hitting first baseman, and should hold down the position in the years to come. Andrew Cashner was a prized prospect at the time of the trade, but the Cubs evidently thought Rizzo was more talented and held more value.

The Padres wound up with Yonder Alonso to man First Base, so they did not lose a significant amount in the trade.

Anthony Rizzo Highlights and the song “Go Cubs Go”

Rizzo had  a decent rookie campaign - with a 3 Slash Line of .285/.342/.805 with 15 HRs and 48 RBI in just 337 AB during the 2012 season.

Rizzo had a decent rookie campaign – with a 3 Slash Line of .285/.342/.805 with 15 HRs and 48 RBI in just 337 AB during the 2012 season.   You also have to like the fact that the  23 Year Old from Ft Lauderdale, Florida also likes to take Walks.  His Walk Rate was encouraging in 2012 (27 in 85 Games Played) – and he is drawing even more free passes thus far in 2013.  He could end up with 60 – 70 Walks this campaign (Has 10 in the first 24 Games Played.)

So far this year (through Monday afternoon), Rizzo has not exactly set the world on fire with his .211 Batting Average, but he has impressed with his 8 HR and 19 RBI.

He has struck out 27 times, so he will need to limit this in the future if he is to become a premier First Baseman. He has definitely shown that he has the raw skill to be included in the Prince FielderAlbert PujolsAdrian Gonzalez conversation; he just needs to sharpen the skills and improve his average.

With Starlin Castro hitting in front of Rizzo, he will surely have his fair share of RBI opportunities. Castro is one of the highest average hitters in the league and will have no problem setting the table for Rizzo.

I could see Castro and Rizzo being one of the top 3-4 combinations in all of baseball in a few years when Castro realizes his power and Rizzo raises his average.

When Anthony Rizzo was in the Red Sox organization, he was expected to be the First Baseman of the future. The Red Sox then traded him for Adrian Gonzalez and Rizzo assumed the same expectations in San Diego.

In his first and only 49 games for the Padres, he hit just .141 with one HR and nine RBI. Although this is a very small sample size, the Padres must have seen something in Rizzo that turned them off of him. They then sent him to the Cubs.

2012 in the majors was short for Rizzo, as he only played in 87 games. He made the most of these games though, hitting .285 with 15 HR and 48 RBI. He struck out 62 times, which was a bit of a concern, but given his position and style of play, this was not too surprising.

2013 will see Rizzo continue to develop. Cubs fans hope that he will improve on his current .211 average and get close or even exceed his .285 average from last year. It will be interesting to see if he can build on his 2012 performance. So far, it looks like he will greatly exceed his 2012 HR and RBI total, as he is already more than halfway to 15 HR and is getting close to the halfway point of his 2012 RBI total.

Rizzo’s power will always be a part of his game, so the most important improvement he needs to make is his rate of Striking Out.

It is very common to see power-hitting 1B with high Strikeout totals, but what separates the Pujolses and the Fielders from the Adam LaRoches and the Paul Goldschmdits is Strikeout total. Average also plays a big part in the different tiers of First Basemen.

If Rizzo could be a .300 hitter, we might see the next Albert Pujols. With power like that of Rizzo, I would not be surprised to see him go 35 HRs -100-plus RBI. Hitting .300 would be a major bonus and could place Rizzo in the MVP conversation – although that may take a few years to achive.

Rizzo is only 23 years old this year, so it is a very realistic possibility that we see him develop even more throughout the next five or six years and enter his prime as one of the better First Basemen in the league.

Another unfortunate possibility could be a trade. The way the Cubs franchise is going, no one knows what the Cubs could do. But, we do know that Rizzo is a very talented young player with a lot of potential, and, a lot of trade value.

It is probably not a likely scenario that Rizzo is traded as Jed Hoyer and Theo Epstein have brought the man to all of the organizations they have been running over the last several years.

Whether or not the Cubs do keep Rizzo, we do know his future is bright.

Anthony Rizzo entered 2013 with high expectations as the Cubs Opening Day First Baseman. He has come along way since 2008.  The man has battled injuries, 2 team changes and has settled down in Chicago to be one of he most promising young power hitting prospects in the MLB today.  He could end up being a 35 - 40 HR, 100 RBI man in the 'Windy City' - and this would make him an icon at Wrigley Field

Anthony Rizzo entered 2013 with high expectations as the Cubs Opening Day First Baseman. He has come along way since 2008. The man has battled injuries, 2 team changes and has settled down in Chicago to be one of he most promising young power hitting prospects in the MLB today. He could end up being a 35 – 40 HR, 100 RBI man in the ‘Windy City’ – and this would make him an icon at Wrigley Field.  As of  April.29, Rizzo had a 3 Slash Line of .211/.304/.815 in 2013.  — Photo by chicagomag.com

***The views and opinions expressed in this report are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of mlbreports.com or their partners***

Today’s feature was prepared by our Baseball Writer Bernie Olshansky. We highly encourage you to leave your comments and feedback at the bottom of the page and share in the discussion with our readers. You can also follow Bernie on Twitter.

Bernie Olshansky

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About bernieolshansky

Living in the San Francisco Bay Area, I’ve experienced some exciting times with the local baseball teams—the Giants winning the World Series being the most memorable highlight. Some of my favorite players include Felix Hernandez, Tim Lincecum, and Cliff Lee among others. I played baseball up through my freshman year of high school and transitioned into being a full time fan. I regularly attend major and minor league games when I have free time. I enjoy working at a baseball store. I’m in my senior year of high school and hope to major in Journalism or Sports Administration in college. Follow Bernie on Twitter (@BernieOlshansky).

Posted on April 30, 2013, in MLB Player Profiles, MLB Teams: Articles and Analysis, Players: Fantasy Baseball Articles, The Rest: Everything Baseball and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

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