Chicago Cubs Gradeout: Anthony Rizzo provided club with N.L. MVP-like numbers
Despite being only 26-years-old, first baseman Anthony Rizzo is the core-veteran of this young and thriving Chicago Cubs team that reached the NLCS for the first time since the 2003 campaign.
Like last season, Rizzo led a ground of up-and-coming rookies such as Kris Bryant, Addison Russell, and Kyle Schwarber who followed in the footsteps of Jorge Soler and Javier Baez.
When breaking down his individual stats against left and right-handed pitchers, you could easily tell which type of pitcher he preferred to hit against in the batter’s box.
With a right-handed pitcher on the mound, Rizzo recorded 115 hits, 27 doubles, three triples, 25 big flies and 76 RBI while being plunked 19 times. Let’s not forget an impressive batting line of .272/.378/.527.
He also managed to record a career-high 12 steals, which is something we haven’t seen in a long time.
And what I mean by that last statement is that we haven’t seen a Cubs first baseman steal at least 17 bags in a season, in a while.
Meanwhile, southpaws limited him to just six homers and 25 runs batted in with a strong batting line of .294/.409/.472.
One stat that stands out is how many times he was hit by a pitch. Which are exactly 30 times on the year. This isn’t a surprise considering how close he stands to the plate.
But with his fast hands and his ability to hit for power despite being so close to the dish, Anthony has proven to be a threat whenever he’s standing on the on-deck circle.
So opposing pitchers who attempted to paint the inside corner would much rather have him take a free base without him doing any damage. Especially if there are runners in scoring position.
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Almost every team that was put in front of the Chicago Cubs felt the wrath of their deep threat first baseman.
Rizzo homered off 13 teams this season, the highest being the Milwaukee Brewers with seven big flies with 21 RBI and the St. Louis Cardinals who were tagged for four homers and 16 RBI.
The only teams he failed to take deep were the Detroit Tigers, Miami Marlins, Kansas City Royals, Philadelphia Phillies, San Francisco Giants, and San Diego Padres.
Aside from his offensive presence, Rizzo’s fielding percentage went up by one point from last year. In 2014, he finished with a .993 mark with 1184 putouts, 118 assists, nine errors and 104 double plays.
This year, behind several potential defensive plays of the year, he finished with a .994 percentage, 1330 putouts, 126 assists, 102 double plays and nine errors. These numbers may not be enough to win him a Gold Glove award, but there’s a solid chance that he’ll take home N.L. MVP honors instead of Washington’s own Bryce Harper.
One could only hope, but if anything, he’ll emerge as next year’s favorite to win the award. Who was the last Chicago Cub to accomplish this honorable feat?
Sammy Sosa back in 1998.