Chicago Cubs: Presenting the top three players of 2019
Chicago Cubs: the undisputed leader of the team, 2019 Winner
1. All-Cubs Awards – First baseman, Anthony Rizzo
It is with great pleasure and honor that Anthony Rizzo is named the 2019 All-Cub best player awardee. Rizzo is the type of player that does not stop, keeps producing and whose numbers are always getting better.
This season Anthony Rizzo hit 27 home runs, two more than last season. With less times at bat this season than last (512 /566) Rizzo understandably has fewer hits than in 2018 (150/160). However, all the other offensive stats went up for Rizzo from 2018 including: OPS (.924 / .846) SLG (.520 / .470) and on-base percentage (.405 / .376). Rizzo is another player you expected would get a hit every time he came up to bat, especially with only 86 strikeouts for 571 at bats.
Let’s not forget how Rizzo always answers the call when asked to be the leadoff man? Usually, the Cubs win and Rizzo ends up with a hit or home run during those outings. Rizzo is without a doubt the Cubs best leadoff choice – always.
Rizzo will never say die for his team and plays hurt sometimes because he knows that him being out there on the field or batting gives the Cubs a better chance than without him.
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It’s also about time that we recognized how much this guy gives up his body to get us on base. In September, Rizzo broke the record for being hit by the most pitches in Cubs history. Frank Chance held the record formerly but in September Rizzo passed the 108-year record with 139 hits by a pitch. Rizzo finished the season with a Cubs record of 141 HBP.
Looking for the guy that everyone loves? Look no further as confirmed by Chicago Cubs President of Baseball operations, Theo Epstein recently during contract discussions:
"“The way I look at him is that he’s a special player and he’s done so much for the organization and the city that we value him very, very highly and we think highly of him as a person,” Epstein said. “He’s closely associated with our organization, our brand and everything that we’re trying to do.”"
Just a month ago, Rizzo helped raise $1.3 million for kids with cancer. Of course fans know that Rizzo was once one of these kids himself and so they endorse the first baseman’s cause and always support him around Chicago; he is one of Chicago’s most endearing and loved sports figures. In July, a nine-year-old kid asked Rizzo to hit a moonshot for him as he organized a 5K run for kids with cancer. Rizzo answered Lambert’s request with grand slam against the San Diego Padres. You just can’t make up better stories than this and Anthony Rizzo is part of all of these tales.
Even with a lateral sprain in July, Rizzo couldn’t keep away from the team, driving around in a scooter to get to practice and meetings. The scooter was purple and white with shiny tassels and flowers on the basket made for snacks. If this isn’t evidence of Rizzo’s Cubs spirit which hasn’t died or changed since he joined the club in 2012 than nothing is!
In all fairness, an honorable mention must be given to outfielder Kyle Schwarber due to his offensive production and work with charity this season. Schwarber is considered a runner-up for the first place spot this year. Schwarber led the team in home runs and no one ever doubts his Cubs spirit. A great All-Cub performance from Kyle Schwarber this year.
Any way you slice it, Anthony Rizzo is the undisputed leader of the club in word, deed, action, play and community involvement. Based on my criteria, Chicago Cubs statesman, Ernie Banks would have been proud to honor first baseman Anthony Rizzo with the 2019 All-Cub Awards Player of the Year is Anthony Rizzo.