Trading away a power hitting superstar in the prime of his career for a bunch of no-named prospects has got to be the most devastating event to a team's fan base.
As painful as that deal was to the Padres franchise, there is now a reason for optimism and excitement—and that is because of Anthony Rizzo.
Let’s breakdown the player who just might one day force the Red Sox to become the team that will regret trading for Adrian Gonzalez.
Anthony Rizzo—1B—San Diego Padres
Weight: 220 lbs
Current Stats (AAA Tucson): .365/.444/.715, 16 HR, 63 RBI, 42 runs, 5 steals
Scouting Report—Rizzo is a big swinging kid with great hand-eye coordination and a very likable personality.
He was diagnosed with Lymphoma early on in the 2008 season and missed the rest of that year, and part of the ’09 season, while undergoing treatment. He has been cancer-free since then and has not stopped hitting since.
Early on in his development, Rizzo was a go-the-other-way type hitter who would lace pitches into the left-center field gap. Last year he learned how to turn on inside pitches and hit them out of the ballpark. As is the case with most power hitters, he tends to use that approach too much and will swing and miss a lot more often.
Still, his power numbers have increased dramatically and he now has the look of a middle of the order power hitter that the Padres lost in Adrian Gonzalez.
Rizzo will find that major league pitchers won’t allow him to work the count and tee up on fastballs the way he has in AAA. He will be worked over on the inside part of the plate, which will tie him up quite a bit.
Still, this kid has demonstrated the ability to adjust to all kinds of adversity; there is plenty of reason to project him as a star-quality player for many years to come.
2011 Analysis—The Padres organization are asking themselves, “Adrian, who?” after Rizzo’s AAA breakout this season. He has rightfully earned his promotion to San Diego and will likely be a fixture there for a long time.
This season, however, is going to be one of adjustments for the young slugger. He will quickly learn that big league pitchers won’t let him get ahead in the count time after time and sit on low-grade fastballs.
His swing will need to be calmed down a bit as he has developed too hard of a swing that forces him to briefly lose eye contact with the pitch. This will not go over well in the big leagues.
Still, Rizzo has prodigious power and when he makes contact the ball will go a long way. There will be plenty of run production from him this season, which will warrant him with strong consideration for a spot on a fantasy team.
Compare To—Adrian Gonzalez, Carlos Pena, Chris Davis
Jeff Mans is a co-host of The Fantasy Alarm Show on SiriusXM Fantasy Sports Radio, the Senior Writer at Fantasy Alarm and a contributor to Bleacher Report.