Anthony Rizzo: His Impact On The Chicago Cubs
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Tuesday April 30th, 2013
By Bernie Olshansky (MLB Reports Writer): Follow @BernieOlshansky
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.
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”
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 Fielder, Albert Pujols, Adrian 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.
***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. Follow @BernieOlshansky
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Posted on April 30, 2013, in MLB Player Profiles, MLB Teams: Articles and Analysis, Players: Fantasy Baseball Articles, The Rest: Everything Baseball and tagged @bernieolshansky, @bernieolshansky on twitter, adam dunn, adam laroche, adrian gonzalez, albert pujols, anthony, anthony rizzo, baseball, bernie olshansky, boston red sox, chicago cubs, first base, first baseman, italy, jed hoyer, mlb, NL Central, paul goldschmidt, prince fielder, prospects, rizzo, san diego padres, team-italy, theo epstein, yonder alonso, zach cates. Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.