Anthony Rizzo is the Rookie of the Month and Other Bullets

If Ryan Dempster had been dealt to the Dodgers, as he’d hoped, we might have seen him in his debut in this weekend’s series. As it was, he wound up with the Rangers, debuted last night, and got slapped around by the Angels.

  • Anthony Rizzo is the NL’s Rookie of the Month for July, after hitting .330/.375/.567 in the month. Here’s an aside for discussion: if you thought Rizzo had too many at bats last year with the Padres to be considered a “rookie” this year, you were off by about three. In other words, Rizzo just barely qualifies for the competition … does he have a shot? There was a time when Bryce Harper seemed a mortal lock, but his production has fallen off a bit. If Rizzo keeps destroying the ball for two more months, might he have a real shot?
  • Rizzo is on pace, by the way, to finish the year with about 24 homers, 60 RBI, 12 2B, and a .316/.360/.556 line. I doubt he’ll actually reach those numbers, but that’s the basic pace at this point.
  • Another “of July” for the Cubs? Darwin Barney is the best defender of the month, according to ESPN’s fancy calculations. My eyes tell me he’s ridiculously good, but it seems he’s even better than that – he was the single best defender in all of baseball (at any position) in July.
  • Paul Sullivan looks at what we learned about the Cubs from the trade deadline. Mostly, we learned that the chances the Cubs “go for it” in 2013 are slim to none.
  • The Cubs’ Facebook page was hacked yesterday, sending out a profane message about Bill Murray. F*** Bill Murray was the specific message. Creativity at work there.
  • The MLBullets at BCB look at Cliff Lee being waived, and what a relative non-story it is.

Brett Taylor is the editor and lead writer at Bleacher Nation, and can also be found as Bleacher Nation on Twitter and on Facebook.

73 responses to “Anthony Rizzo is the Rookie of the Month and Other Bullets”

  1. Fishin Phil

    I could have come up with a much better profane message than that. I am disappointed in the hackers of today. Whatever happened to “No Hacker Left Behind”?

  2. EQ76

    I think that even if Rizzo does hit those numbers there’s no way on earth he wins ROY… too many man crushes out there Harper.. that’s unfortunate.

    1. Wester

      Thats a clown question bro

      1. Ian Afterbirth

        Hahaha!
        I see what you did there!

  3. Bren

    Did anybody see the list of all the team hacks on Deadspin….the Nats one was kind of funny, they threatened to move back to Montreal.

    1. rhino70

      The list on Deadspin was hilarious! The Yankees hack had me rolling.

  4. Tom

    Obviously the Cubs PR Dept was upset about the news that Bill Murray will not be in Ghostbusters 3 and wanted to relay their disappointment.

    1. CastrotoBarneytoRizzo

      I guess it was true that Jim Belushi got a job in the Cubs PR department…

  5. Stinky Pete

    - I thought some of the other team’s hacked messages were kind of funny. Apparently, the Cubs are way behind the curve on hacked messages too. Ah well. Maybe they can get a good draft pick on hacked messages next year.

    - I’m guessing as long as Harper keeps his average over .100 he wins ROY simply because he is Bryce Harper. I was livid when Sandberg finished 4th (Behind Darryl, even.) for MVP in 1990. Despite all my rage, nothing happened. So I really don’t get too wrapped up in awards anymore.

  6. gratefulled

    Harper’s line .258/9/29

    I wouldn’t say that his production has fallen off a bit. They seem to have nose-dived right into mediocrity. I say we take another look at this on Sept. 1st. We will have a much better idea of Rizzo’s production by then.

    Who are the other possibilities for NL ROY?

    1. Featherstone

      Oh so you mean, .258/.332/.420 which is about 100 times more meaningful. Yeah those numbers are down, but he still has an OPS+ of 103. Not earthshattering by any means, but he is only 19 playing in the Major Leagues. With those numbers he doesn’t deserve to beat Rizzo, assuming things remain the same.

    2. someday...2015?

      Zach Cozart, Bryce Harper, Rizzo, and Wade Miley all have realistic chances to win NL RoY.

  7. ptbnl

    I hope Rizzo doesn’t win ROY. The last couple of Cubs that did kinda ended up sucking.

    1. baldtaxguy

      Help me…Jerome Walton is one I recall. What is the other(s)?

      1. rhino70

        Geo Soto – 2008
        Kerry Wood – 1998

      2. coby

        Geo Soto

        1. baldtaxguy

          Soto…? That part of my hard drive must be corrupted – does not compute now.

      3. Beer Baron

        Tony Campana stared in the movie “Rookie of the Year”…that’s good, right?

        Actually the other Cubs ROYs are Kerry Wood and Geo Soto. Not exactly the Jerome Walton caliber flops, but neither really lived up to expectations.

        1. Scotti

          And Hinske won after spending all but one season in the Cubs’ system.

  8. KidCubbie

    Well Rizzo is ROY in my book. Thats the only one that counts.

  9. baldtaxguy

    I can’t remember the team, but the hack about about the first 10K fans entering the ballpark receive a baby pit bull was kind of funny…for a second – not sure whether it was random or had some sort of signicance to the team. And I smiled at the name for a sex-changed Derek Jeter – a play off of Mickey Mantle’s name that I can’t recall now. I agree, the Cubs hack message was simple-minded.

    Thanks for the info on Rizzo qualifying for ROY – I thought it was close.

  10. J R

    Yeah Rizzo has to be the ROY if this continues at all. Harper has really struggled, and his numbers really were never that great.

    1. hansman1982

      Harper has the hype machine that is ESPN behind him.

      Basically, it would take a flapjacking miracle for Rizzo to win RoY considering the Nationals are getting some insane love right now and are staying in the discussion everyday with Strasburg.

      1. Wester

        Harper = Tebow in a baseball uniform…just a mediocre player that the media loves

  11. CubFan Paul

    I’m quite sure Cardenas and Jeff Baker would look better defensively too this year by playing every day because it’s all about Dale Favre’s defensive positioning.

    Cardenas should be starting at 2B for the offense. This Cubs team isn’t good enough to have a utility guy play every day

    1. andrew

      i was at the game wednesday and there were two plays that Baker didnt make that I have no doubt Barney would have made. The positioning has made everyone look better defensively but Barney is a legitimate gold glove contender. Offensively Barney isnt great but hes as good as a lot of other starting second basemen and he does have a terrific glove.

      1. CubFan Paul

        So lets settle for average. Great.

        1. hansman1982

          Or you could say we are settling for one of the best defensive 2B in the league.

          I am by no means a Barney apologist and barely support him being on the roster, but while he is earning the minimum and we are going nowhere, fast, he is not a bad option (against a sea of not bad options).

    2. Jeff1969

      Yeah but one big knock on Cardenas during his whole career so far has been his weak defense. At every poistion they have tried him at. I’m sick of all the Barney bashing. So many people are brainwashed by this idea that 2B guys are power hitters, 100 RBI guys. That’s the steroids playing, the performance enhancers that I think like 90% of players used to be on. Now it’s gone, and we can get back to seeing what men without insane amounts of testoterone or whatever can do on the field. Barney is a great fielder, always has been since anyone first saw him in college, and at every position he has played. Get used to normalcy, go back & look at the 1970′s. There’s gonna be one or two anomolies, like Joe Morgan was, or Ryne Snadberg, but guys like Barney, like it or not, who are excellent fielders, decent competent hitters, and play hard, are going to be much more valuable than they were in the pre-my body fell apart era where we thought Chase Utley was becoming the norm. Defense, speed, positioning, smarts are all making a comeback from the days of the fake homer madness bullcrap era that is hopefully over.

      1. Mick

        I like it, Barney’s not the problem he’s part of the solution. There’s nothing better in baseball than having an outstanding pitching staff with stellar defense up the middle. Until we have an outstanding pitching staff, we’ll have to settle for stellar defense up the middle (as long as you’re wearing an eye patch on your left eye).

      2. beerhelps

        +1 there jeff, exactly right

        1. Danny

          100% agree with Jeff & Mick. The Barney bashing is getting real old. Sit back and enjoy this guy’s insane defense.

      3. fortyonenorth

        I’ll go out on a limb here….

        Barney’s defense reminds me of Walter Payton in the sense that he’s a guy who I love to watch because I know he’s going to make the play and he’s going to do it beautifully. Fine to talk about rebuilding, but at some point you have to rebuild – and Barney’s not a bad piece to build around. Mind you, I’d love to see more punch at the plate, but I’ll take him in a heartbeat over just about any 2b in the league.

        1. TWC

          NOTE: August 3, 2012 @ 1:05 EDT:

          Barney’s defense reminds me of Walter Payton

          Darwin Barney love officially jumps the shark.

          1. CubFan Paul

            F’n ridiculous

          2. Scotti

            I disagree. That is an exceptionally apt analogy (the whole quote and not just the snippet you took). Walter Payton “played the game right” and that is what Darwin Barney does. Barney’s skill level is FAR south of Payton’s but that was not the analogy made. You can say that someone reminds you of Walter Payton because of their looks and not jump the shark. Same deal with professionalism.

            1. Chris

              Why not say his defense and approach reminds you of Ryne Sandberg? Or Mickey Morandini. Just sounds strange to compare him to Walter Payton. There were many other Cubs that “played the game right” to compare him to. Picking a football player, who while being a hall of fame running back, was not the iconic human being the media portrayed him to be, is just a strange comparison.

              1. Scotti

                First, if you’re looking for a professional athlete to be anything off the field then you’re looking in the wrong direction. Second, my own family’s limited experience with Payton was that he was an incredible person. Very congenial fellow who invites you off the street into his home for a chat kind of guy. I can’t find anything bad to say about the man.

                Re. having to stick to second base as a reference point… I think your reference of Mickey Morandini proves the point that NOT sticking to second was a good choice by the original poster. Mickey Morandini is simply not know for exuding professionalism. He may have been a great pro but he just isn’t known for that. And, certainly, steering clear of Sandberg (who was known as a guy who did things right) was also wise. The OP simply didn’t make a defensive or offensive comparison. If he had used Sandberg then he would have been blasted with “Barney can’t this” and “Barney can’t that.” And rightly so–there was a lot that Sandberg did that Barney never will.

                Choosing a football player who was known in THIS city for blocking just as much as setting yardage records was a very apt choice. No HR record (Sandberg) to confuse anyone with. I mean, did you really think the OP meant that Darwin Barney was a great all-purpose RB?

          3. fortyonenorth

            Good one, TWC – I told you it was a limb :)

          4. Edwin

            I think Darwin Barney is a much better 2B than Walter ever was.

            1. OlderStyle

              In defense of Sweetness, he would have been a world-beating 2B.
              (better than you, Joe Morgan)

          5. Edwin

            Oh and for the record, there was an episode of Happy Days where a guy literally jumped over a shark and it was THE BEST one.

            1. OlderStyle

              That was a good one, though I’m partial to the the Malachi Crunch demo derby when Fonzie defends Pinky Tuscadero’s honor.

      4. CastrotoBarneytoRizzo

        Thank You!!!! I’ve been trying to tell all of BN this about Barney all year long. Nice to see some more people coming around…

  12. Hawkeye

    We should all be thankful that Mike Maddux backed out of the Cubs job last minute. Look what he did to Dempster in just two days. Had Maddux been around all year, we would have got nothing for Dempster as he would have zero trade value.

    Of course, I am only kidding. To bad to see Demp get knocked around. Say what you will about him as a person, his getting beat up in the AL only helps to solidify the stereotype that the NL is inferior in every way.

    1. Hee Seop Chode

      Too bad my food. I loved seeing it. Rosenbloom tears Dempster a new one today by, ahem, telling the truth: http://www.chicagotribune.com/sports/rosenblog/chi-why-epstein-played-nice-with-dempster-20120802,0,6630440.column

      1. Hee Seop Chode

        *foot

  13. donnie kessinger

    I really love what Barney has done this year and would be glad if he was a part of the future. With that said, I wonder if Theo would be tempted to sell high on him in the off-season? There may be some team out there who would overpay with a great pitching prospect or two.

    1. CubFan Paul

      I’m was surprised that Barney wasn’t traded last Tuesday. With all the pathetic middle infielders teams are picking up off the scrap heap Barney definitely has value to a contending club

      1. DocPeterWimsey

        Yes, a lot of teams have pathetic middle infielders. However, not many contenders have pathetic middle infielders. The Tigers did: but they addressed that in a trade with Miami. The Giants also have a problem in the MI: they have Theriot at 2nd (offensively the same as Barney, defensively a bit worse) and Crawford at SS (offensively worse than Barney, but comparable defensively). The Dodgers have a huge problem at SS, but they do not recognize it: Dee Gordon’s great speed blinds them into thinking he’s useful when his OBP is even worse than Campana’s. (Gordon will be a great fielder, too.)

        In a way, this is like the Soriano situation: the contending teams have different demands than the Cubs have a supply. (David Stockman now is very confused, I know…. ;-))

  14. Fastball

    Garza would never make it through waives. His contract is too cheap to pass up for a starting pitcher of his caliber. Teams would be all over him on the waiver wire.

  15. Mysterious4th

    Rizzo IS our future gold glover and mulipul 1st basman. I am stoked for his development and watching him grow into a killer player. Hopefully a cardnial/brewer killer

    1. Hee Seop Chode

      How cool would it be to have a gold glove right side of the infield?

  16. Jeff1969

    I wouldn’t be suprised if there are millions of fans who would be happy to return to the days of the roid crazy homer happy fake assed crap baseball we had just a few years ago. I say screw that. Real baseball fans, and fans that have played the game past when they were 11 or so, know that guys like Barney are massively important. Look at his WAR, look at how he rates when compared against the whole league. I’d much rather see Barney make a great diving stop, get up, and throw the runner out, or hang in there to turn the DP than a cheating piece of crap like Sammy Sosa hit 3-run homer after 3-run homer. If you want to see all that fake garbage, go back to your vdeo games.

    1. Chase S.

      No, it’s more like solo homer after solo homer for Sosa.

  17. Fastball

    I’m waiting for Vitters to get called up. Want to see what he can do for us. I think Sveum can help him with his defense at 3b. I look at the improvement Soriano, Barney and Castro have made in their defensive games this year. Let’s get him up here and get things moving forward. Same with Jackson. God if we only had 2 or 3 decent pitchers we could call up. Well that isn’t the case so it’s going to be a very long August and September on the days Garza and Shark aren’t pitching. I am holding out hope for Wood who can still do a nice job the rest of the way. But the 4 and 5 spots are going to be ugly the rest of the way.

  18. Jeff1969

    How about the Cubs keep Barney, let him possibly win a gold glove or two, and then trade him when possibly a guy like new Cub Villanueva is ready to come up? Villanueva really looks like a 2B prospect, really. He used to play SS so…and his size is more like a 2b as well. We’ve seen what happens when you don’t trade a guy when he’s hot, a la LaHair, but Barney is proven, and adding more prestige to his reputation with his remarkable fielding is only going to make him more valuable. Keep him out there until somebody honestly better, not guys like Cardenas or Miller is ready. Logan Watkins is another guy, maybe after another year of Barney, Watkins is ready, trade Barney, turn it over to Watkins, hopefully he does decently, trade him, and turn it over to Villanueva who will hoepfully man the position for a while. Notice all the hopefully. That’s the best you can hope for.

    1. DocPeterWimsey

      Who was trying to pry LaHair from the Cubs when he was “hot”? (Incidentally, LaHair’s performance this year is completely within expectations of constant rates.) Modern GM’s do not fall for “hot/cold”: they go with projections and comparisons with what they have.

      As for Barney getting a gold glove, he does not hit well enough to attract the attention that he probably would need. A good fielder who also is a good hitter is much more apt to take the award. Heck, a good hitter who is a poor fielder (see Jeter, Derek or Ethier, Andre) is more apt to take the award….

      And I think that we can hope for more than hope! (2nd derivatives are nice and all, but….)

      1. MightyBear

        I think that’s true to a point but if the fielder is spectacular they can overcome weaker hitting (See Ozzie Smith, Brooks Robinson, Omar Vizquel, etc.)

        1. Scotti

          If Barney finishes the season with one error he’d be the leading candidate and get plenty of hype. His fielding percentage is .998–that’s 1B territory.

          While I agree with those who believe that his defense is over-hyped (he leads MLB 2B in PO but is only 10th in assists–an indication that he benefits from the range of Castro who leads NL SS, and is 3rd in MLB, in assists), Barney is a very good defender and there isn’t any reason to trade him at this point.

  19. Jeff1969

    Oh, and then there’s Torreyes who has caught fire. See, what Jed & Theo are doing is creating options. The Cubs seem to have been so limited, to have had so few options in the past, now look at 2B as an example. Yeah Hendry drafted/acquired some of these guys, but Jed & Theo possibly picked up the two most significant players in Torreyes & Villanueva. Now instead of Barney, Watkins, and then maybe DeVoss, we have two more options with even higher ceilings. I obviously have faith I know.

    1. MightyBear

      Not only that but when we are competitive and need another piece to put us over the top at the big league level, we may be able to trade one of those guys for that piece. Much like the Rangers did with Dempster. Great points Jeff.

  20. Peter O

    Don’t you have to qualify for the batting title to win ROY? I don’t think he’ll reach the 500 PA’s necessary to do that.

  21. Patrick

    Barney isn’t as bad offensively as a lot make him out to be. I’d rather have a guy who hits 270-280 with 10 HR and holds down the defense than a guy who loses us 10 games because of an error. In a few years Barney’s value could mean us making the playoffs or not.

    1. willis

      Agreed. Just wish his OBP would be a little higher than it is.

  22. Dan

    Not sure if this was covered but Dempster took out a Full-Page Ad thanking Chicago.
    I know he’s not exactly ‘liked’ by many Cubs fans right now but it was still nice of him.

    1. Dan
  23. TSB

    Living here in LA for the last 40 years, let me give you a entertainment analogy to Darwin Barney. When Capitol Records signed the Beatles in 1963, they found a gold mine. After that for years, they missed opportunities to sign many bands, missing out completely on the “San Francisco” bands, R+B, and the southern sound. Why? They were looking only for the big score, a band that would be the new Beatles. So it is with many Cubs fans. They had one of the greatest second basemen of all time (Ryne Sandberg), and they will pass up quite competent and above average second basemen waiting for the next superstar. Barney is no Sandberg; then again, who is?

    1. TWC

      Well. That is an analogy. I’ll grant you that much.

      1. TSB

        Thank you. I’m surprised that you know what an analogy is; keep up the good work!

        1. TWC

          I think your analogy is crap, you insult my intelligence. That’s cool, kid. Have a swell weekend.

      2. TSB

        My, what a thin skin! Are you sure you are not a Yankees fan? Hope you have a good weekend also.

  24. Karen P

    I absolutely love Barney. My co-workers (predominantly Tigers fans) were all salivating at the thought of landing him a few weeks ago. I’m incredibly grateful that deal didn’t pan out (assuming the Tigers actually were interested) because he’s so stinkin’ solid. Obviously Castro continues to improve on defense, but it’s so reassuring having a steady presence to help balance him out when he is a little off his game.