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Monday, April 30, 2018

2018 FANTASY BASEBALL CRISIS POINT: ANTHONY RIZZO 1B CHICAGO CUBS

When it came to prospective first round picks for 2018 fantasy baseball, one of the more rock-solid dependable players on paper would have been Chicago Cubs first baseman Anthony Rizzo.  Still in the younger stage of his prime at 28, Rizzo's offensive numbers since arriving in Chicago have been downright silly in how similar they were each season.  Consider that from 2014 through 2017, Rizzo hit 32 home runs 3 times and 31 the other year.  Want more?  How about Rizzo driving in between 101 and 109 batters each of the last three seasons.  Then there are the runs scored where Rizzo has come in at 94 twice and 99 during that same span.  No matter where you looked, Rizzo was as safe a player as you can possibly project which made his late first-round price tag well worth the cost.  With all that said, things have taken a dramatic turn for the worse when it comes to Rizzo this season as he has endured both injuries (back) and a horrific slump that has him sitting with a .157 average going into Monday night's games.  With just 1 home runs and 8 runs scored/RBI, Rizzo arguably has been one of the biggest busts of the season.  So as we always do in this space, let's dig in and find out what is going wrong and if this will continue:

As far as the average is concerned, there are some obvious red flags that have developed here, with the first being Rizzo's pathetic 4.9 BB/9 rate.  This number is in major outlier territory as Rizzohas been at 11.00 BB/9 or better in that category each of the last four seasons and was at 13.2 a year ago which is tremendous.  My theory for what is going on there is that Rizzo's timing got all screwed up when he hit the DL with a back injury and he has been pressing ever since.  Having not patience like Rizzo has shown this season is a major reason for the average hit and so no shock there are struggles in the latter.  A spike in Rizzo's K/9 rate (his 17.3 mark is up from 13.0 the year before) doesn't help either. 

Now on the flip side there, Rizzo has gotten horrendous BABIP luck as shown by his ridiculous .182 mark.  That is downright hideous bad luck and so that number will eventually move a bit back towards the mean which means an average rise.  The fact Rizzo is getting such bad luck has led to the pressing and so here we are.  Once those hits start falling in, count on Rizzo going back to his patience and low strikeout ways that made him such a star in the first place. 

Now in terms of the power, that too is related to the jumpiness Rizzo is experiencing at the dish and so we have a key reason for the fact he has just one home runs so far.  Rizzo's fly ball rate is actually up slightly this season so no overall worries about the approach there.  Again, once the luck begins to even out, Rizzo will start looking like his old self.

When you put it all together, do yourself a favor and try to steal Rizzo from his impatient owner.  Rizzo is still in his prime and is such a dependable slugger that this won't go on for much longer.  The buy low window will only stay open for a bit longer so be sure to strike now before it is too late and the opportunity goes on by. 


1 comment:

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