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Cubs’ Most Improved Player

By bullpenbrian at 10.10.2012 2 comments.

-Anthony Rizzo 2012: .285/.342/.463, .805 OPS.

After an underwhelming debut with San Diego in 2011 (.141, 1 HR, 9 RBI) Rizzo revamped his swing at Triple-A Iowa to become a legit hitting threat for the Cubs upon his arrival in late June.

In just over half a season (87-games) Rizzo hit 15 HR and drove in 48 RBI. In addition to his power, he also hit for average, against left-handers (4 HR, 17 RBI) and in the clutch with a sparkling .338 average with RISP. He finished second only to Soriano in game-winning RBI and held down the No.3 spot in the order from day one.

All signs indicate Rizzo will be a fixture at first base for years to come, a perennial All Star and a key figure in the Cubs’ rebuilding plans.

Perhaps the only thing more exciting than Rizzo’s improvement from Year 1 to Year 2 is how much better he could become next season.

Honorable mention: Alfonso Soriano 32 HR, career-high 108 RBI, best defensive season of his career.

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2 Comments

  1. AJHeater says:

    My vote goes to Alfonso Soriano. His best batting average, with the Cubs, since 2008. 30 plus homers and 108 runs batted in and the top defensive left fielder in the NL.

    • bullpenbrian says:

      Soriano could easily win the Cubs’ most improved player award. His transition from fielding casualty to reliable corner outfielder was outstanding.

      His numbers on offense speak for themselves. But the my determining factor in choosing Rizzo over Soriano is than Alfonso has played at a high-level (despite his fielding errors) for many years whereas Rizzo was cutting his teeth this season after a miserable debut in San Diego.

      Soriano was going to be a member of the Cubs regardless of whether he had a career year at the plate or improved defensively…Rizzo, however, needed to, and made, great strides to not only reach the majors…but also performed as a legit big leaguer from the get-go.

      Always a good problem to have when there’s two players, and not just one, battling for the honors of most improved!

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