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Anthony Rizzo is terrorizing Triple-A pitchers while waiting for Cubs call-up

Jun 12, 2012, 1:50 PM EDT

Anthony Rizzo Getty Images

Interleague games in AL ballparks gave the Cubs a short-term opportunity to call up first base prospect Anthony Rizzo and play him without having to bench anyone, but they passed on the chance and so Rizzo continues to be a nightmare for Triple-A pitchers.

He homered twice Sunday and two more times Monday, and Rizzo is now hitting .370 with 22 homers, 16 doubles, and a .753 slugging percentage in 59 games for a 1.183 OPS that leads all of minor-league baseball.

Toss in the damage he did as a minor leaguer while in the Padres’ farm system last season and Rizzo has the following career numbers at Triple-A: .345 batting average with 48 homers, 50 doubles, 158 RBIs, and a 1.093 OPS in 152 games.

Based on merit alone he’d presumably already be in Chicago, but because finding a spot for him in the lineup would require shifting Bryan LaHair to the outfield and/or lessening the role of a suddenly hot-hitting Alfonso Soriano the 22-year-old Rizzo is left to do his Babe Ruth impression in Iowa against a bunch of pitchers with no shot to get him out.

  1. windycity0301 - Jun 12, 2012 at 2:22 PM

    I could understand management not bringing him up if LaHair was actually playing everyday. He has not been playing against lefties, as they’ve played Jeff Baker instead. Clearly the Cubs have shown recently they don’t believe LaHair is an everyday player, so I can’t understand why they don’t bring Rizzo up to play. I also understand they are trying to showcase Soriano, and if he keeps hitting they might actually get a bat to go along with the bucket of balls for him.

    I’ve been patient with their “plan” so far, but are they really going young when they keep running Baker, Johnson, and Koyie Hill out there all the time? So far, it seems like there’s no plan.. maybe as the say, all will be revealed.. hopefully sooner than later.

    • wlschneider09 - Jun 12, 2012 at 2:46 PM

      Maybe has to do with avoiding Super 2 status as well? It sure doesn’t make sense on any purely baseball level.

    • hackerjay - Jun 12, 2012 at 2:46 PM

      Well, for one thing, both LaHair and Rizzo are lefties, so to bring up Rizzo would mean that LaHair would get zero chances to start. Secondly, this season is a lost cause, so there just isn’t a whole lot of reason to waste service time on your best prospects.

      Rizzo will be up soon enough, but I just don’t think there is any rush.

    • istillbelieveinblue - Jun 12, 2012 at 2:52 PM

      Koye Hill was brought in because the top three catchers in the organization were all hurt. Clevenger is back, and Geo is on his way. Hill will probably be DFA.

      Rizzo is still down there for a couple of reasons. One: he strikes out way too much (42K vs. 20BB.) Two: He’s still a work in progress on defense, though he has improved this year (7 errors). I want to see him in the majors as much as anyone, but why rush him, he’s only 22 years old? He’ll be in Chicago this year for sure, probably sooner than later. Theo has preached patience from day one, and he and his staff are sticking to that plan. (frustrating as hell for us fans, though!)

      • windycity0301 - Jun 12, 2012 at 2:57 PM

        Fine, I have patience, but I am losing it quickly watching Jeff Baker out there playing first base all the time. If you’re giving LaHair a shot, do it. He sinks or swims. But, I like his chances and output far better than what Baker gives you.
        As far as Hill, I get that he’s a place holder. Then why run him out there when you have a healthy Clevenger who’s still hitting .280- .300 and deserves a shot at playing everyday until Soto gets back.(though I have some harsh feelings about him as well, Mr. Flashinthepan)

    • riverace19 - Jun 12, 2012 at 2:55 PM

      It pisses me off that LaHair sits vs lefties in favor of Jeff Baker. Let the guy learn. Baker is going nowhere fast. He probably wouldn’t be on 50% of major league rosters. Stunting LaHair’s growth in favor of a dead end road isn’t smart.

  2. riverace19 - Jun 12, 2012 at 2:48 PM

    This is purely about having Rizzo under team control for an extra year. The Cubs mentality is clearly long term as they head for 100 losses.
    Good thing Soriano is hitting; that makes moving him by July 31 a little bit more possible.

    • cerowb - Jun 12, 2012 at 4:16 PM

      Yes! This is solely a financial move. I understand it’s frustrating, but honestly, the Cubs are not going to win anything this year, or next year, and everyone knows that – especially Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer. There is just no reason to call up Rizzo and risk another year of cost control for the future.

      It’s absolutely the right move to keep him in AAA to avoid an early arbitration.

  3. fnc111 - Jun 12, 2012 at 2:49 PM

    It’s been revealed plenty. The Cubs suck and will never be good. Lovable losers is good for baseball though so I will give you that. Cubs fans will have to be satisfied with .500 in maybe 4 years. That’s as good as it will get guys. Don’t lose any sleep over a team that plays the majority of its games during the day. I would give the Cubs a fighting chance if they got a new stadium and played at night. But for the long term you will be lucky if you win 70 games in 2013.

    • jwbiii - Jun 12, 2012 at 5:18 PM

      When was the last time the Cubs had the best regular season record in the NL?

      • riverace19 - Jun 12, 2012 at 5:47 PM

        2008. 97-64 then got swept by the Dodgers. Still remember the GS by Loney in the second inning of game 1 off Dempster. That one swing of the bat pretty much ended the series.
        Thanks for asking.
        There are about 100 other places that Cubs haters can go to kick the wounded dog.

    • bigmeechy74 - Jun 12, 2012 at 5:30 PM

      Nice trolling

  4. proudlycanadian - Jun 12, 2012 at 2:59 PM

    You jinxed him. Now he is hurt.

    • malowitz - Jun 12, 2012 at 5:00 PM

      I was at the game this afternoon. I didn’t see the slide into the dugout (I was seated behind so it happened out of view). I think he probably jammed his leg into the fence. He stretched a bit and walked off on his own. I think he’ll probably be OK.

  5. WhenMattStairsIsKing - Jun 12, 2012 at 3:54 PM

    He’s up soon. He has to be. I’d like to see Soriano eaten and dealt, LaHair to the OF and Rizzo at 1B.

  6. fnc111 - Jun 12, 2012 at 5:49 PM

    Contract the cubs

  7. fnc111 - Jun 12, 2012 at 5:51 PM

    We are the white sox

    First place sox


    • windycity0301 - Jun 12, 2012 at 5:58 PM

      Unfortunately, Typical…

      • chiadam - Jun 12, 2012 at 6:22 PM

        What does that mean? Typical of the smart way to run a baseball team? Bring him up now and he gets to arbitration a year earlier. See: Castro, Starlin. Hendry (trying in vain to show he did something right and save his job) stupidly brought Castro up in May. He could have delayed his service time by waiting another 5 weeks.
        You also cannot shop LaHair and Soriano with Rizzo here. This makes nothing but perfect sense. The sooner Cubs fans accept that Rizzo will not be here until after the trade deadline, the better (unless a move for Soriano or LaHair is made sooner).

    • Uncle Charlie - Jun 12, 2012 at 7:29 PM

      Do all Konerko jerseys come with a free inferiority complex?

  8. foreverchipper10 - Jun 12, 2012 at 6:05 PM

    Buster Olney said Rizzo left today’s game early. Maybe a callup?

    • chiadam - Jun 12, 2012 at 6:24 PM

      He hurt his ankle. July is the soonest. I’m going to hire a skywriter here to get this out to the masses.

      • foreverchipper10 - Jun 13, 2012 at 10:21 AM

        Didn’t know it was for an injury. My apologies.

  9. windycity0301 - Jun 12, 2012 at 6:44 PM

    Chiadam… I was responding to the White Sox fan above…

  10. sfm073 - Jun 13, 2012 at 9:53 AM

    Actually pitchers have a 65% chance of getting him out.

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