Anthony Rizzo has been remarkably consistent over the past three seasons, but don't let the carbon-copy counting stats fool you into thinking he's completely plateaued as a player; there was some skill growth in 2017. He improved his strikeout and walk rates roughly three percentage points each way, lifting his BB/K to 1.01 -- his previous career high was 0.74 -- which was the fifth-best mark in baseball. Rizzo's .397 xwOBA, up from .368 in 2016, ranked 12th among 301 players with at least 250 at-bats. He added almost 50 points to his OPS against lefties and Rizzo hit for power at Wrigley Field (15 homers). There's no need to overthink this one; Rizzo is a rock solid second-round pick, and a case can be made that he should sneak inside the first.
Rizzo is batting .333/.375/.593 through 27 Cactus League at-bats with two home runs, eight RBI and six runs scored. Coming off of his second straight 32-home-run, 109-RBI season, Rizzo should again be viewed as one of the elite players in fantasy baseball this year. The 28-year-old has also been fairly durable, as he's played 155 or more games four times over the last five seasons. Rizzo should be an early-round pick who posts very strong returns in 2018.
Rizzo is not in the lineup against the Reds on Friday. Rizzo will occupy a spot on the bench for the second consecutive day following the club's division-clinching win. In his place, Alex Avila will man first base and bat seventh in the order.
Rizzo went 0-for-4 with a walk in Tuesday's loss to the Cardinals. Rizzo has been scuffling a bit lately, as he has just one hit in his last 15 at-bats and he's hitting just .241 this month. Rizzo is too talented to stay in a slump for long.
Rizzo went 3-for-4 with a home run, two RBI, two runs, and two stolen bases in Thursday's victory over the Mets. Rizzo collected just five hits over 30 at-bats (.167) in the nine games prior to Thursday's, but he showed signs of getting back on track by walking four times Wednesday, and he had no trouble seeing the ball in the finale of the Cubs' three-game sweep of the Mets. The two steals, which give him 10 for the year, don't hurt either.
Rizzo is out of Tuesday's lineup against the Pirates. The Cubs will give Rizzo his first day off in almost a month. Victor Caratini, a catcher by trade, gets a start at first base, hitting seventh. Look for Rizzo to play almost every day over the rest of the season.
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