In his first major league stint last season with the San Diego Padres, Anthony Rizzo's numbers were nothing to write home about.
Over 128 at-bats (153 plate appearances), Rizzo batted .141, with an on-base of .281, and a slugged .242, while only hitting one home run. Hardly the kinds of numbers one might expect from a potential franchise player.
With this performance in the back of his mind, new Cubs GM Theo Epstein stood firm in his stance that he would not rush Rizzo's promotion from AAA Iowa. Even with the team tanking early in the season, the Cubs seemed in no hurry to move up their top prospect.
In mid April, Epstein spoke with the Chicago Sun Times, explaining:
"Those guys are continuing their development at Triple-A, and things that they’re working on, they need to continue to improve."
Eventually, Rizzo's stat line of .342 BA, .405 OBP, .696 SLG, and 26 homers was simply too much to ignore.
In the 21 games since his call-up, Rizzo has posted four home runs while hitting .329 and slugging .524. While it delayed his ascent from prospect to franchise savior, the extra minor league at-bats clearly helped Rizzo refine his swing and adjust to the better pitching he will see in the majors.