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Why the Chicago Cubs Would Benefit from Calling Up Anthony Rizzo

MESA, AZ - FEBRUARY 27:  Anthony Rizzo #44 of the Chicago Cubs poses during spring training photo day on February 27, 2012 in Mesa, Arizona.  (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
Jamie Squire/Getty Images
Matt EurichAnalyst IApril 12, 2012

Sitting at the bottom of the division at 1-4, few are surprised that the Chicago Cubs are off to a slow start. 

Since Theo Epstein's arrival in the Windy City, it has been well documented that this will be a rebuilding project, and good results are more likely to appear in the future.

After watching these first five games, two things are evident:  the team lacks solid arms in the bullpen and lacks power in its lineup.

Five games in, the Cubs bullpen has an ERA of 6.19—good for 28th in the league and tied for 23rd in home runs with three.

Although the bullpen situation may only improve by a trade, the lack of power in the lineup could be solved by calling up highly touted prospect Anthony Rizzo. 

Rizzo, 22, who came to Chicago in a trade with San Diego, is regarded as one of the best power hitting, left-handed first basemen prospects in the game. 

Through six games at Triple-A Iowa, Rizzo has hit three home runs and is batting .333 on the young season. Rizzo is known for his incredible power as well as a good eye at the plate, but will more than likely struggle with striking out in the early stages of his big league career.

Calling up Rizzo does not automatically make him the savior or even the best player on the team, but will give him the chance to grow at the major league level, instead of being stuck in Triple-A playing against inferior talent. 

As of now, 29 year-old Bryan LaHair is holding down first base, and is doing a relatively good job (.417 BA, 1 HR), but its naive to think that LaHair will be part of this team moving forward.

If the Cubs are serious about wanting to grow the organization from within and point to 2014 as a season to start being competitive, it makes more sense to allow guys like Rizzo, as well as center fielder Brett Jackson, to mature at the big league level now instead of producing great numbers in the minors against lesser talent.

 

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