What did Anthony Rizzo show us in 2012?
With gradual improvement versus left-handed pitching, in line-drive frequency and with opposite-field contact (and an improving rate to all fields), he's working his way out of the hacker stigma he drew in his San Diego Padres cameo. Unfortunately, he still doesn't take many free passes, and that growth against southpaw potency brought him all the way up to ... .208-4-17. He'll need to keep mashing the more dominant handedness to have a chance of sniffing .285 in a full season - possible, but hardly probable.
Focus instead on the 15 homers in 337 at-bats - a dream for hard-line extrapolators. He avoided relying on his home environment, which despite recent statistical results remains a decent place to leave the yard for a lefty stick. Besides the sizzle-before-fizzle Bryan LaHair, the North Siders didn't carry another big bopper from Rizzo's side, so the results are a bit skewed.
Walks will come eventually, but in the immediate future, expect more strikeouts ... but also more yard-departers. The 23-year-old squarely belongs in the large tier of first basemen boasting stark drawbacks but also tantalizing profit traits. As long as you favor power (not necessarily 30 taters, but close) and run production and are willing to absorb a clip hit, he'll continue delivering.
About Tim Heaney
Tim's work has been featured by USA Today/Sports Weekly, among numerous outlets, and recognized as a finalist in the Fantasy Sports Writers Association awards. The Boston University alum, who competes in the prestigious LABR and Tout Wars, has won numerous industry leagues in both baseball and football.
He appears frequently, including every Sunday, on Sirius XM Fantasy Sports Radio, as well as every Wednesday on 1570 AM WNST in Baltimore.
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