There was a stretch of time when you couldn’t go a day without thinking about how fortunate the Chicago Cubs were to have two superstar-caliber players in their prime: Kris Bryant and Anthony Rizzo.
Ah. That was fun.
You know, these guys are still really, really good, right? It’s been easy to lose sight of it a little bit, what with Kris Bryant’s shoulder injury and somewhat lost season in 2018, plus Anthony Rizzo being so wildly consistent that his performance almost blends into the background.
Even still, the two rate as among the best duos of position players on any team in baseball. Using FanGraphs’ projected WAR (via Steamer) as a foundation, MLB.com ranked the top ten such duos, and Bryzzo wound up number six, behind only Francisco Lindor and Jose Ramirez, Mike Trout and Andrelton Simmons, Mookie Betts and Xander Bogaerts, Corey Seager and Justin Turner, and Alex Bregman and Jose Altuve. In case you were wondering, Christian Yelich and Lorenzo Cain came in 9th, and Paul Goldschmidt and Matt Carpenter received only an honorable mention.
Of Bryant and Rizzo, MLB.com noted: “Steamer joins many Cubs fans in expecting more from this talented duo in 2019. Bryant is a candidate to rebound significantly after shoulder problems held him to 102 games and sapped his power last year. Rizzo endured a rough opening month and wound up with his weakest offensive output since ’13. Both still were good, but both can be better.”
Fair enough. By the actual WAR last year, Bryzzo’s total (5.2) was less than 14 *individual* players in 2018, including their teammate Javy Baez (5.3). There is certainly plenty of room for a rebound, and I like the chances that we see it.