Chicago Cubs: Full-Season Stat Projections for Top Prospect Anthony Rizzo
The Chicago Cubs are in rebuilding mode, but fans still have a lot to be excited about for the 2012 season. The first year of Theo Epstein's plan is in effect, and anything can happen.
Rebuilding comes from the ground up, so the farm system plays a vital role in this process. One of the gems in the Cubs system is first baseman Anthony Rizzo, acquired from the Padres in a January trade.
Rizzo is a future middle-of-the-order hitter, and though he likely won't make the team out of spring training, he could be called up to help out the woeful Cubs mid-season. As long as he stays in the minors until late June, the Cubs get an extra year of control over the first baseman.
Here are both major and minor league projections for Rizzo in 2012.
2011 Major League Season: 49 Games
2011 Minor League Season: 93 Games
Rizzo wasn't called up until June of last year and struggled in his short stint in the majors, going back down to the minors once before ending his season back with San Diego. The biggest problem for Rizzo was his strikeouts. He went down on strikes 46 times in 153 plate appearances for the Padres and had a high rate in AAA as well.
The Cubs may want to keep Rizzo in the minors for a good part of the season to help get him major-league ready and avoid another 2011 season. There is no place in the lineup for him on opening day, and the Cubs aren't going to keep him on the roster if he isn't getting massive amounts of playing time.
Expect him to be called up before the trade deadline.
2012 Major League Projection: 72 Games
2012 Minor League Projection: 80 Games
2011 Major League Season: .141 avg
2011 Minor League Season: .331 avg
Rizzo was absolutely unstoppable in the minors last year. His .331 average in 93 games shows that. However, he was aided by a particularly high BABIP, or batting average on balls in play, so his average should dip a little bit from that mark in 2012.
As for the majors, Rizzo should have a much better handle on hitting this time around. He is still just 22 years old though, and he'll still struggle while he's developing, but there should be a significant improvement over his disaster 2011 major league season.
2012 Major League Projection: .246 avg
2012 Minor League Projection: .310 avg
2011 Major League Season: 9 runs
2011 Minor League Season: 64 runs
Scoring runs in the minors was never a problem for Rizzo, crossing the plate 64 times in 93 games. He has good speed for a first baseman and can even swipe several bags over the course of a season.
As he did in all other aspects of his game, Rizzo struggled scoring runs in the majors. This is obviously a reflection of his .141 average in 2011, and both should vastly improve this season.
2012 Major League Projection: 33 runs
2012 Minor League Projection: 55 runs
2011 Major League Season: 1 homer
2011 Minor League Season: 26 homers
Power has never been a problem for the lefty in his career. He has had back-to-back 25 home run seasons in the minors, first in the Red Sox system, then last year with the Padres organization. Rizzo will dominate minor league pitching once again, and this year should be able to show the Cubs his home run talent and maybe hit some bombs onto Sheffield Avenue.
2012 Major League Projection: 10 homers
2012 Minor League Projection: 22 homers
Runs Batted in
2011 Major League Season: 9 RBI
2011 Minor League Season: 101 RBI
Anthony Rizzo is an RBI machine. His 101 in the Pacific Coast League in 2011 were good enough for sixth in the entire league, eight behind the leader and current Cub, Bryan LaHair. Oh, and every player above him on that list played at least 36 more games than Rizzo.
Cubs fans can't help but get excited at the possibility of Rizzo hitting in the heart of the order for years to come.
2012 Major League Projection: 35 RBI
2012 Minor League Projection: 80 RBI
2011 Major League Season: .281 OBP
2011 Minor League Season: .404 OBP
One of the best parts of the first baseman's game is his ability to draw a free pass. Even though he hit just .141 with the Padres in 2011, his OBP was .281 thanks to his 21 walks. His walk rate has been solid over his past three seasons and even improved in his time in the majors. Rizzo's OBP should increase in 2012.
2012 Major League Projection: .335 OBP
2012 Minor League Projection: .382 OBP
Final Stat Lines
2012 Major League Projections:
72 games, .246 avg, .335 OBP, 33 runs, 10 HR, 35 RBI
2012 Minor League Projections:
80 games, .310 avg, .382 OBP, 55 runs, 22 HR, 80 RBI
Anthony Rizzo should see more time in the majors this year and will improve on his disastrous 2011 campaign. Though nobody knows when exactly he'll be called up, it looks like it will be at least late June.
He may not make a significant impact for the Cubs in 2012, but he has the talent and potential to be a star in the middle of the Cubs lineup for the next decade.