Speed guy Anthony Rizzo swiped his first bag of the year last night, but he also proved that he’s not just a weak guy with wheels. It turns out he can also slug a little bit.
— Chicago Cubs (@Cubs) May 1, 2019
That was Rizzo’s 6th homer of the year, and his big night last night pushed his season line up to .228/.371/.485, with a 130 wRC+. Not too shabby for a “bad” first month of the season, right?
Indeed, that 130 wRC+ mark is actually five points better than last year. If he could hold it there or improve upon it, he’d reverse a trend that has seen his wRC+ fall steadily over the past five years: 155, 145, 145, 134, 125. I don’t know that any of us think Rizzo is necessarily already in that kind of decline, but he does turn 30 later this year. *Some* decline would be expected.
The good news is that Rizzo is only sporting a .227 BABIP despite making the most hard contact of his career by far. That’s going to positively regress. Heck, perusing the peripherals, you could make the argument that Rizzo is actually performing as well as he ever has in his career at the plate. The expected metrics at Statcast agree that Rizzo’s results so far have not matched the actual quality of his contact, so that’s a very good sign.