Anthony Rizzo No. 12 overall in Fan Graphs Trade Value series

anthony rizzo chicago cubs

This comes straight from Fan Graphs:

Rank Name Age Team Position Projected WAR Controlled Through Contract Dollars Last Year
12 Anthony Rizzo 24 CHC 1B 3.3 2021 $64,000,000 37

I love Andrew Cashner, but I think we can stop asking which side won the Padres-Cubs challenge trade from a few years back. Rizzo might not ever become a superstar — the bar needed for that level as a first baseman is very hard to clear — but he’s solidified his position as one of the game’s better young hitters. He controls the strike zone far better than most players his age, and if he continues to build on the power he’s shown this year, he might end up a +5 WAR player yet.

But with Rizzo, it’s not just the youth and the bat; it’s also the contract. He’s set to make $5 million in each of the next two years, $7 million in each of the two years after that, $11 million in 2019, and then the team has $15 million options for both 2020 and 2021. Rizzo has seven years left on his deal, and even if both options are picked up, the average salary is still less than $10 million per season. The Cubs managed to buy out the prime years of the most expensive thing in baseball at bargain salaries. This deal is basically all upside, providing both short-term and long-term value.

Rizzo might settle in as a good player instead of a great one, but he’s a crazy cheap good player, and will remain cheap for the better part of the next decade.

After barely making the All Star team, it’s nice to see some national recognition for Anthony Rizzo.  Rizzo’s ranking at No. 12 in baseball is about more than just his on the field value though, and you just can’t help but feel good inside after reading about how valuable Rizzo’s contract is to the Cubs.

A year after posting a .233 batting average, due in part to a .258 BABIP, Rizzo has managed to increase his already above average walk rate of 11 percent last year up to 13 percent, while also increasing his power from an ISO of .186 a season ago up to .223 in 2014, all while maintaining a healthy 18.4 percent strikeout rate which has not moved in two seasons.  The BABIP that suppressed Rizzo’s numbers last year has regressed back to the mean and now stands at .298, it’s no question then that Rizzo’s average has risen up to .275 on the season.

Along with the increase in power and patience this season, Anthony Rizzo has silenced the last of his critics by feasting on left-handed pitching.  In 106 plate appearances Rizzo is actually performing better against lefties than his is against righties, hitting .300 with six home runs.

Any questions there were about Rizzo heading into this season have been answered, and the Cubs will look to preemptively sign more of their top prospects in the future.  This would allow the team have cost-certainty with their core players, which will help immensely when the time comes to take a more active role in free agency.


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