Cubs Best Case and Worst Case Scenario – First Base

Best Case Scenario – Anthony Rizzo Meets Reasonable Expectations, Hits 30 HR

The hype train was very high when Rizzo hit 15HRs and batted .285/.342/.463 in his first action in a Cub uniform. That hype has gone down because of the season he had last year, when he only put up a .742 OPS. He seemed to be over thinking at the plate and there is reason to believe Rizzo will have a bounce back season.

The best-case scenario for Anthony Rizzo would be not the lofty expectations we had before being called up, but a more realistic look at what the Cubs have in him. I have mentioned it a few times that I just do not see Rizzo as a number 3 hitter – to me he fits the bill of a clean up hitter to a “T” – but has to hit at 3 because the Cubs do not have any other options (at the moment). That being said, a triple slash of .250/.340/.480 would be a really good looking season for him. Rizzo won’t ever be a high average guy but he does do a good job of getting on base, also we know the power is legit so we Cubs fans hope that it will be around .480 year in and year out. A season that has his HR total close to 30 and RBI near 100 should not shock anyone.

Rizzo plays great defense, so that is something nobody really has to worry about. When looking at his BABIP (.258) you can tell Rizzo was extremely unlucky, and I do not expect another year like that. My Uncle mentioned it in our comments section about how we know Rizzo is a good player but a great player he may never be. That is not a bad thing at all; Cubs have a guy with high power, a good eye and terrific defense. Not a bad guy to have long term. – Kenny

Worst Case Scenario – 2012 Is the Fluke Year, Not 2013

After he had a rough 2013 at the plate, Cubs fans are hoping that Anthony Rizzo can rebound to his 2012 levels for a full season. Of course, this mindset assumes that Rizzo’s 2013 was a fluke season, and his 2012 was more his true talent level. Unfortunately for all of, there’s plenty of reason to think it’s the opposite.

First off, Rizzo’s contact issues have reared their ugly head again, especially against lefties. As an everyday starter, Rizzo’s going to be getting around 200 PAs vs lefties, and he absolutely needs to do better than the 72 wRC+ he managed against them in 2013. Yes, his BABIP was low against LHP, but he also hit many more popups and fly balls vs LHP, meaning his BABIP may stay low.

There’s reason to be worried about Rizzo’s BABIP overall, as well. He pulls the ball on the ground very often, so much so that defenses put on the Ryan Howard shift when he comes to the plate. Those grounders, which for most hitters actually boost BABIPs, are a severe negative for Rizzo. This isn’t exactly scientific, but three hitters who also see the lefty shift, Adam Dunn, David Ortiz, and Jim Thome, saw far lower BABIPs to their pull side. I think Rizzo’s pull-happy tendencies may really drag down his average over his career, especially in 2014. I think a BABIP in the .280 range is about as high as I would expect.

If that is the case I think 2014 could look a lot like 2013 at first base. Think something in the .240 range, average wise, with strong power and on-base numbers, making him roughly a two-win player. -Tommy

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