Why the Chicago Cubs last two seasons make them dangerous

(Photo by David Banks/Getty Images)
(Photo by David Banks/Getty Images) /
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Chicago Cubs
(Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images) /

Chicago Cubs: Anthony Rizzo, First Baseman

In 2018, Anthony Rizzo finished right along the lines of his typical career numbers. A .283 average, 25 home runs and his fourth-straight year of over 100 RBI with 101. So it was a good year for Rizzo. Then why do we have a slide for him? Ah, yes. His first half. This was a tale of two seasons. If Rizzo had started as he finished? The Cubs might have won the Central, and he would likely be NL MVP. But this is baseball, and that’s not how any of this works.

Those finishing numbers were a typical ‘Rizzo’ season. The only issue was with how he started. The first half Rizzo was–hell, I don’t know who he was, to be honest. A .246 average (And below .200 for a while), with a remaining slash line of .341/.407 and an OPS of .748. This was one of those times that Maddon decided to employ Rizzo into the leadoff spot. It worked, and he stayed there longer than most assumed. His second half slash line was .329/.420/.550 and an OPS of .970.

His home runs were similar (12 first half, 13 in the second) and he finished with more RBI in the first half. But clearly, much of that was Rizzo hitting at the top spot. What the Cubs needed at that time was consistency, and he provided it. Even with a terrible half, which I think Rizzo would agree with, he finished with a solid year. Don’t expect a Jekyll and Hyde season like this, again. Anticipate a LOT more Hyde.