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MLB 2011: Should the San Diego Padres Call Up Anthony Rizzo?

PEORIA, AZ - MARCH 06:  Jorge Cantu #32 of the San Diego Padres warms up on deck during the spring training game against the Oakland Athletics at Peoria Stadium on March 6, 2011 in Peoria, Arizona.  (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
Christian Petersen/Getty Images
Adam BernacchioAnalyst IIIDecember 9, 2016

The San Diego Padres may have the worst offense my eyes have ever seen. They are really, really bad offensively.

As a team, the Padres have a .212/.295/.311 slash line with 12 HRs. Those numbers in each category are dead last in all of baseball by a wide margin. For the love of everything holy in this world, their cleanup hitters are hitting .126 this season!

Nothing has worked for the Padres offensively so far this season. And what really hasn’t worked have been their replacements for Adrian Gonzalez. Both Brad Hawpe and Jorge Cantu have been terrible.

Hawpe has five hits in 55 plate appearances and Cantu has a .411 OPS. Collectively, Padre first basemen in 2011 are hitting .105 with one HR in 86 AB’s.

With Padre first basemen struggling, there has been a recent campaign to call up 1B Anthony Rizzo from Triple-A Tucson. Rizzo was batting .420/.487/.768 with six HRs in his first 17 games of 2011 and was one of the players the Padres acquired in the Gonzalez trade.

While it’s easy to say bring up the hot prospect to replace the jabroni veterans, calling up Rizzo would be a mistake by the Padres.

First, one player is not going to fix the Padres’ offensive mess. There are holes all over their lineup. Asking a kid to be the savior would be really unfair and put a ridiculous amount of pressure on a player who has only played 17 games at the Triple-A level.

Second, are the Padres really going to risk a year of player control just to finish in third or fourth place in 2011? The Padres are a small market team, so having a player under control for as long as possible is like gold to them. I don’t see how calling up Rizzo anytime soon would make much sense.

The Padres should let Rizzo develop and then let him compete for the first base job next spring training and maybe by then, the Padres will be ready to compete in the NL West.

Here are some other things you should know about Anthony Rizzo…

Age: 21

Bats: Left

Throws: Left

College: None. Went to Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, FL

Drafted: Sixth round of the 2007 MLB June Draft

Minor League Stats:

 

Keith Law Ranking and Analysis

Ranking: No. 38 out of 100 best prospects in baseball for 2011.

Analysis: “Rizzo is a plus-fielding, plus-makeup, power-hitting first baseman, a potential Adrian Gonzalez Lite kind of player if he can improve his performance against left-handed pitching. Rizzo is still quite young and will play most of 2011 at age 21, but he already has handled Double-A pitching well, showing increasing power as he gets older and stronger after missing most of 2008 while fighting Hodgkin’s lymphoma.

At the plate, Rizzo has a simple, easy stroke that generates mostly line drives, although he’s showing more ability to stay back and drive the ball out to right. His plate discipline remains borderline before you consider his age, and he’ll have to close the gap between his performances against left- and right-handed pitchers. But there’s still a lot of development time for Rizzo with the ultimate long-term ceiling of a fringe All-Star at first base.”

 

You can follow The Ghost of Moonlight Graham on Twitter @ theghostofmlg

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