The Chicago Cubs have been the talk of the baseball world all season. Are we watching history right before our eyes?
We could be. Not just the fact the team could be on the verge of its first World Series since 1908, but the future of this team is bright. There are solid players in every position on the field. But, it is not just the team’s history we are witnessing, but All-Time MLB accolades.
Ruth and Gehrig. Mantle and Maris. Mays and McCovey. Aaron and Matthews. Bryant and Rizzo.
Wait, what? Did I just put Kris Bryant and Anthony Rizzo on a list with legends of MLB lore? Yes, I did. By the time this talented duo finishes their careers, it is quite possible that they could be named on such a list.
As the second half of the season starts, the Chicago Cubs are looking to Bryant and Rizzo to keep up their production. Currently, the duo sits first and second in WAR in the National League and in the top 10 in several other categories. It is without a doubt that they are special.
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But it is not the fact that they are good now but their growth and potential that will place these players on the list with all-time greats.
No one is shocked that Bryant and Rizzo are playing as well as they are currently. The marketing department of the MLB started promoting the pair in the “Bryzzo Souvenir Company” commercials.
But, the improvements they have made over last year have been amazing. As the season started, Bryant made the effort to hit more line drives. It worked.
Bryant started the season hitting the ball hard to all fields, even it if was right at a fielder. The first three months Bryant was consistent, the last month……on fire.
Rizzo struggled to start the season. In April, he only hit .218 with 17 hits, eight were home runs. As each month came with improvements. In May, Rizzo batted .250, and .378 in June. His run production has remained consistent all season. His biggest improvement from 2015 to 2016? The walk to strikeout ratio. Last year, Rizzo walked 78 times and had 105 strikeouts.
This year, 50 BB and 54 Ks. He is going to strike out, we know that. But he is seeing more pitches, walking more, and setting up others for success.
The most hopeful part of the Cubs and the MLB does not come from what they are doing now or what they have done in the past. The hope is in their contracts. Both players are under team control until 2022.
Bryant’s contract is for only $652k per year, which was raised after his Rookie of the Year season in 2015. The Cubs should lock Bryant up for a long time like Jed Hoyer did with Rizzo in 2013.
The Cubs management have shown they are building for success and future. With Bryant and Rizzo locked up as the centerpieces of the team, we could be talking about this team for 108 years.