Chicago Cubs: Making the case for Anthony Rizzo leading off in 2018
By Jake Misener
Chicago Cubs: Rizzo is ready to ambush at a moment’s notice
Here’s the thing about Anthony Rizzo.
If you fall behind him in the count, he’s going to make you pay. It’s as simple as that, really. Let’s look at some numbers from last season, shall we?
- 1-0 counts: .471/.513/1.118
- 2-0 counts: .333/.333/1.111
- 3-0 counts: .000/.889/.000
- First pitch: .339/.391/.763
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Those are some impressive numbers. In 3-0 counts last year, Rizzo did not strike out – not once – while drawing 24 walks. And, granted, opponents are going to try to work around him more often than not. But, more often than not, you don’t just fall into such a good count. It takes grinding an at-bat out to get here – and Rizzo excels in this area.
When he faces a 3-1 count, Rizzo reaches in just under 90 percent of his plate appearances. If he can work the count full, his OBP is north of .500. Those are odds I like, to be honest.
I’ll admit – his numbers when behind in the count aren’t exactly eye-popping. But he’s also one of the only players on this roster willing and able to shorten up and choke up on the bat in such situations.
So how would this hypothetical lineup look?