Chicago Cubs: Rizzo setting the tone early in 2019
Dating back to 2016, Rizzo has gotten off to a slower start to the season, not really kicking it into gear until June. If we look at his home run totals as of June 1 in each of the last five campaigns, you really get a picture at how much better he’s played to this point in 2019.
- 2015: 9 home runs
- 2016: 11 home runs
- 2017: 12 home runs
- 2018: 8 home runs
- 2019: 15 home runs
Rizzo is also batting .290 so far this year, 19 points higher than his career average of .271. In terms of home runs, batting average and runs batted in (43), Rizzo is second out of the first basemen in the division, only behind Bell, who is having a start to the season nobody would have ever predicted, as he leads all of baseball in runs batted in.
Something is clicking earlier than usual for the Chicago slugger and he is giving his teammates someone to look to in times of struggle. This Cubs team seems to be drawing some early-season motivation from things like the 73-win, last-place PECOTA projection, a disappointing end to 2018 and the rest of the division making impactful moves all winter long.