Not unlike Jon Lester living in the narrative shadow of Kyle Hendricks, Anthony Rizzo is having yet another monster season for the Cubs … that has gone relatively unheralded.
Don’t get me wrong. Few players have as strong of a following as Anthony Rizzo, but a large part of that is due to his lovable personality and charitable ways off the field.
Playing alongside the presumptive 2016 NL MVP inevitably casts a long shadow when it comes to public discourse. But Rizzo has certainly tried his best, and for the most part, he’s succeeded.
After another really big day at the plate, Anthony Rizzo’s elite (and uniquely consistent) status as a perennial MVP candidate has been further strengthened.
But before we get into the numbers, let’s re-live his day below:
Rizzo may have finished with just two hits in his five at bats (which is a .400 BA anyway), but both of them were homers – his 30th and 31st of the year. As many people have pointed out, Rizzo has now posted three straight seasons of more than 30 HRs, and two in a row with at least 100 RBI. It’s also his fourth straight season with a walk rate above 11.0% and a strikeout rate under 19.0%.
Rizzo knows how to hit. He knows how to slug. He knows how to get on base.
Rizzo’s slash line at the end of the day was .290/.386/.552, and he even bumped his wRC+ up from 145 to 147, cracking the top ten in all of baseball. But where does he stand throughout all of the other key offensive statistics, against the rest of the qualified hitters in the league?
We may have always known that Anthony Rizzo is one of the best hitters in all of baseball, but the numbers support it as well (NL Rank, MLB Rank):
- AVG: .290 (19th, 38th)
- OBP: .386 (9th, 14th)
- SLG: .552 (6th, 12th)
- BB-rate: 11.1% (12, 22nd)
- K-rate: 15.5% (19th, 41st)
- wRC+: 147 (5th, 9th)
- wOBA: .394 (5th, 9th)
- WAR: 4.8 (T-7th, 21st)
As you can see, while he isn’t quite at the very top in any one component of his triple slash line, he’s sufficiently high enough across the board to be one of the best overall hitters in the game (a top ten wOBA and wRC+ show that).
Similarly, because he plays first base (and not all of the advanced defensive metrics love his defense there, even if I think he’s been pretty darn good at it), his WAR total isn’t as high as some of his fellow NL-mates.
But don’t let that shake you; Anthony Rizzo has easily been one of the most valuable (no matter how you define that) players this year.