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Anthony Rizzo has lived up to the hype for the Cubs

Sep 17, 2012, 12:48 PM EDT

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Anthony Rizzo hit .342 with a 1.101 OPS in 74 games at Triple-A this season after hitting .331 with a 1.056 OPS in 93 games at Triple-A last year, yet the Cubs took their sweet time calling him up.

Rizzo finally arrived on June 26 and has hit .300 with 14 homers, 11 doubles, and an .843 OPS in 72 games, wiping away any worries stemming from his terrible 49-game debut with the Padres last season and making it clear that he’ll be in the middle of the Cubs’ lineup for a long time.

He had the best game of his young career yesterday, going 3-for-5 with two homers and six RBIs against the Pirates, and the 23-year-old followed up an August slump by hitting .359 with five homers in his last 16 games.

San Diego soured on Rizzo last season, trading him to the Cubs for Andrew Cashner and acquiring Yonder Alonso from the Reds to replace him as their long-term first baseman. Cashner remains a very promising young arm, but Alonso is two-and-a-half years older than Rizzo and has hit .273 with eight homers and a modest .742 OPS in 140 games for the Padres, albeit while calling pitcher-friendly Petco Park home.

  1. larryboodry - Sep 17, 2012 at 12:59 PM

    Here’s hoping Brett Jackson and Josh Vitters are next year’s Anthony Rizzo.

  2. lanzurrah - Sep 17, 2012 at 1:01 PM

    Rizzo wasn’t a good fit for the Padres. Ballpark plays against his strengths as does the NL West pitching.

  3. icanspeel - Sep 17, 2012 at 1:06 PM

    Padres gave up on Rizzo too early, but he probably wouldn’t have those numbers if he was on the Padres and playing at Petco. Rizzo and Alonso/Cashner will be compared for awhile, but in the end I think both sides may end up happy.

  4. hushbrother - Sep 17, 2012 at 1:21 PM

    Rizzo looks like a hitter, but the bat-waving thing and the way he loads up his hands might make him susceptible to off speed stuff.

  5. legacybroken - Sep 17, 2012 at 1:28 PM

    Must be painful for BoSox fans since Rizzo was the centerpiece of the Gonzo trade who was then traded to LA for peanuts because he was among 25 players that can’t stand Bobby V.

    • djpostl - Sep 17, 2012 at 2:03 PM

      It’ll hurt Red Sox fans more when Casey Kelly evolves into a good pitcher, as he was the actual centerpiece of said deal.

    • 18thstreet - Sep 17, 2012 at 3:47 PM

      For peanut? They took away Crawford’s and Beckett’s contracts, they took some of my blood pressure by taking Nick Punto, and they gave prospects back.

      Make no mistake, those are not peanuts.

    • hokiegajanisgod - Sep 17, 2012 at 5:43 PM

      I wouldn’t call unloading both Crawford AND Beckett’s awful contracts (and, to some extent Gonzalez’s overpriced contract; he simply isn’t worth the $21.5 mil per year he’s getting paid…). Cherington is a genius for what he did.

      It sure would have been nice to have stood pat and kept both Rizzo and Kelly. Alas, you cannot do that in the AL East; until there is a long overdue salary cap, the Yankees will buy their way to the playoffs every year.

      Only the Yankees can afford to keep giving out awful contracts (Igawa, Texiera, A-Roid, etc), and not feel their effects.

  6. chargrz - Sep 17, 2012 at 2:28 PM

    Padrtes made a horrible trade when they got rid of Rizzo. they are desperate for a 1st baseman as Alonso has no power! Of all the teams he has to rank at the very bottom in power numbers. Rizzo was never really given much of a chance.

    • vanmorrissey - Sep 17, 2012 at 3:33 PM

      That’s a crock of BS. Rizzo had plenty of time in AAA last year prior to being called up and he busted out with the Padres due to both the ballpark and his swing, which starts in New Jersey and ends up in the Grand Canyon. Go take a look at last year’s swing compared to this years, completely different approach and stance at the plate. Hoyer’s love affair with Rizzo from Boston to SD to Chicago gave Padres the opportunity to acquire Cashner, who’s still a work in progress, granted, but how long were they supposed to wait for Rizzo? People like you were the ones wanting to call him up last year, and when that happened he failed. Can’t have it both ways, call him up and he fails then blame it on the early call up. BS.

      • chargrz - Sep 17, 2012 at 4:02 PM

        Longer than a few months as that is the amount of time The Padres had Rizzo. Cashner is more than a work in progress. Padres needed a power hitting 1st baseman more than an avg. pitcher.Just another stupid trade.

  7. Tim's Neighbor - Sep 17, 2012 at 2:43 PM

    Alonso has outhit Rizzo in Petco at least. Petco is the problem, not Rizzo or Alonso.

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