Anthony Rizzo is as much a cornerstone of the Chicago Cubs’ organization as any player has been in a long time.
Which makes it all the more crazy to think that he’s just 26 years old, and only joined the organization four years ago. For a great read on the journey through baseball that brought him here, check out this New York Times piece.
Although he wasn’t technically the most valuable player on the Cubs (let’s say, by WAR) in 2016, there’s no doubt that Rizzo is something of a unofficial captain on this particular team. He’s the heart and soul of the lineup, a solid defender at first base, the most consistent hitter, a leader in the clubhouse and a hero to many in the community (not just for his baseball ability, but also for his multiple visits to hospitals and charity work in the city).
Incredibly, he’s sometimes lost in the shuffle on a team full of stars, but he got some deserved attention yesterday with the release of MLB 16 The Show (for which he’s been involved in the promotions), and with his piano performance for teammates.
He also recently received a ton of love from a couple guys close to him with the Cubs, and I’m here to share it with you.
In an article at Cubs.com, Cubs manager Joe Maddon and third baseman Kris Bryant tossed out some love for their big first baseman, for his work both on and off the field. “He is a great teammate,” Maddon told Carrie Muskat of Rizzo. “This guy gives his time to everybody. This guy is a positive to everybody he comes in contact with. He’s absolutely about the team. He’s willing to carry the message of the organization and the group.”
Maddon went on to compliment his actual play on the field, his baseball intelligence and his ability and desire to slowly grow into the clubhouse leader role many expect he can fill.
Kris Bryant agreed, and pointed out how well Rizzo balances the necessary goofiness in the clubhouse with the need to be focused and serious when it’s time to turn it on. Check out the Cubs.com piece for more.
It’s great to hear things like that from those two people in particular. When a guy like Anthony Rizzo does what he does on the field while having the respect of his manager (one of the very best in the game) and another young player on the team (also one of the very best in the game), you know there is something real and tangible about what he adds to the Cubs.
I don’t need to recite his statistics from 2015 or explain his projections for 2016, because you already know both look excellent. Now, I hope you know how much more he can offer beyond what he does at the plate or in the field.
Brett Taylor contributed to this post.