Anthony Rizzo finally gets the call (Getty Images)
Your long nightmare is over, Anthony Rizzo owner. The Cubs have officially promoted the organization's top prospect, and he's expected to join the team at Wrigley on Tuesday for a match-up with Dillon Gee and the Mets. So this year's fantasy title is basically in the bag. Feel free to take a victory lap.
The big winners in this move are clearly the pitchers of the Pacific Coast League, who no longer have to deal with Rizzo. He's hitting .345 at the moment, reaching base at a .408 clip and slugging .702. The 22-year-old has cleared the fence 23 times in 69 games with the Iowa Cubs, plus he's dented at least one scoreboard. Yes, the PCL is a hitter-friendly league, but it's important to note that Rizzo is a category leader — he tops the circuit in total bases, home runs, slugging percentage and OPS. He's also hit left-handed pitching nearly as well as he's hit righties (.321 average, 1.056 OPS vs. LHPs).
There's really not much left for him to prove at Triple-A. Time to move on. Bryan LaHair, enjoy the outfield.
Rizzo was a disaster with San Diego last year, of course, batting .141 for the Pads, slugging .242, and hitting only one home run in 128 at-bats. He's allegedly altered his swing, closing holes that were easily exploited in 2011, so we're hoping for (much, much) better results from Rizzo 2.0. If you're looking for a lottery ticket in the power categories, this is your guy. He's still available in 78 percent of Yahoo! leagues, so most of you can still make the add. He belongs on a roster in any mixed format.
Could he struggle again? Sure, it's possible. He's 22, he's strikeout-prone, he's failed before. But the upside for this kid — if/when things finally click — is exceptional. There aren't many other players in your league's free agent pool who have the potential to deliver 14-18 bombs over the final three months of the season. Go get him. Last call.
If you require an official prediction (not a service I routinely provide), put me down for something like 31 R, 14 HR, 41 RBIs, .269 AVG. There's a range of outcomes here, however, and you're adding for the possibility that he'll beat the forecasts.
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