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Dale Sveum says Anthony Rizzo’s season is “not as bad as everybody makes it out to be”

Sep 23, 2013, 9:45 AM EDT

castro, rizzo getty Getty Images

Anthony Rizzo has been one of the most disappointing aspects of the Cubs’ season, as the 23-year-old first baseman has seen his OPS drop 60 points following a very promising first season in Chicago last year.

He’s been particularly bad since June 1, hitting just .214 with 12 homers and a .692 OPS in 100 games. However, if you ignore Rizzo’s ugly batting average his 22 homers, 38 doubles, and 74 walks are strong totals for a 23-year-old in his first full season and Cubs manager Dale Sveum talked to Patrick Mooney of CSNChicago.com about how he feels Rizzo has gotten too much criticism:

You analyze a year and it’s not as bad as everybody makes it out to be. … It’s his first time ever playing every single day in the big leagues. It’s his first time with the pressure of hitting third every single day. The learning process of that is out of the way.

Sveum is right in that Rizzo’s overall production has been right around average among NL hitters, which is far from disastrous even at an offense-driven position like first base. Of course, Rizzo’s lack of development (and a similar story with Starlin Castro) is part of why there’s speculation that the Cubs might fire Sveum.

  1. Marc - Sep 23, 2013 at 10:29 AM

    Rizzo’s BABIP in the big leagues has dropped 53 points this year versus his half season last year, which adds up to 106 point of OPS lost immediately. His career minor league BABIP was .344, which isn’t really sustainable in the bigs, but it makes his BABIP of .257 in 2013 look like quite the anomaly.

    So given that his walk rate jumped over 50%, his K rate increased by only a little better that 10%, and he got a small bump in ISO, I’d say he was probably better this year than last (excluding baseball luck).

    • cubfan2112 - Sep 23, 2013 at 3:36 PM

      I am tired of seeing people say a babip like .344 isn’t really sustainable, if you look at the really elite players they don’t seem to have a problem sustaining a BABIP in that range. M. Cabrera for example 2013 – .355 2012 – .331 over 11 years his AVERAGE BABIP is .346.

      • paperlions - Sep 23, 2013 at 6:50 PM

        For Rizza, a .344 is probably not sustainable…using the elite hitters as a reason to argue that something is sustainable for okay hitters is a poor tactic. You know why people always say that such high (and usually low) BABIP is not sustainable? Because if you always say that, you’ll be right about 98% of the time.

  2. mustbechris - Sep 23, 2013 at 11:52 AM

    My fantasy team disagrees with this sentiment…

  3. earpaniac - Sep 23, 2013 at 1:31 PM

    I’m more worried about Castro. He looks utterly lost and worse, disinterested some days.

  4. chiadam - Sep 23, 2013 at 4:08 PM

    Expectations are based on two things: past performance and contract. Rizzo has had very little of the former, so stack his season up against his contract, and Sveum is right. People just need to let go of things like batting average. Castro on the other hand…yikes.

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