From young minor league prospects to rookie big-league talent, Prospect Press will be providing an inside look at baseball's best talent for years to come. Today's Prospect Press focuses on Chicago Cubs first baseman Anthony Rizzo.
Prospect Press: Cubs To Promote Anthony Rizzo
Monday June 25th, 2012
It was around this time last season that many baseball fans and fantasy baseball enthusiasts were awaiting the promotion of Anthony Rizzo from Triple-A to the San Diego Padres. In fact, Baseball Press wrote about the promotion back on June 11 of last season. Since that time, Anthony Rizzo has been traded to the Chicago Cubs and is currently playing for the Triple-A Iowa Cubs.
After much speculation, the Chicago Cubs appear ready to promote Rizzo to the big-league level where he will make his Cubs debut against Dillon Gee and the New York Mets on Tuesday June 26. Rizzo, 22, currently leads the Pacific Coast league in home runs (23), slugging percentage (.702) and OPS (1.110). Overall, he's hitting .345/.408/.702 with 23 home runs, 62 RBI, and 179 total bases over 255 at-bats.
Rizzo is no stranger to the majors, as he played 49 games with the San Diego Padres in 2011. During his big-league action with the Friars, Rizzo hit .141/.281/.242 with a .523 OPS. While he never produced great numbers for the Padres in 2011, it's hard to value his success based on a small sample size and the fact that he played in PETCO Park, which can be brutal on left-handed hitters.
Bryan LaHair has enjoyed a terrific season at first base for the Cubs this far. He's hitting .286/.367/.543 with a .910 OPS and 13 home runs. LaHair has some experience playing the outfield in the past and will likely move to right field upon Rizzo's promotion. In 2012, LaHair has appeared in four games in the outfield and has started three games in RF.
With Chicago currently 15.5 games out of first place at the time this was written, the team feels it's time to see if Rizzo can handle the first base job on a daily basis moving forward. Promoting Rizzo will also help the team offensively as the Cubs currently rank 28th overall in the league in on-base percentage (.301).
From a fantasy standpoint, owners looking for batting average and on-base percentage stats could take a chance on Rizzo. He doesn't project as a true power hitting first baseman, but can hit the ball to all fields with authority. Much like it was in 2011 when he was promoted to the Padres, owners will have to be patient with Rizzo in the early going. He'll likely bat near the bottom of the lineup to start his career in Chicago, but if he shows life early on, he could find himself batting in the number five spot. NL-Only owners will obviously want to own Rizzo, but mix league owners in deeper leagues may want to wait to see his production numbers before adding him.
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