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 left the Cubs' spring training complex in Scottsdale, Ariz. and returned to his native Florida following the deadly shooting Wednesday at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, which the 28-year-old attended from 2003 through 2007, Paul Sullivan of the Chicago Tribune reports. The Parkland, Fla. school holds a special place for Rizzo, who previously donated $150,000 to cover the cost of lights for its baseball field. Rizzo is expected to take the next several days to be with his family and the local community before returning to Arizona next week. The time away from spring camp shouldn't delay Rizzo's preparations for the 2018 season in any significant manner. After hitting 30-plus home runs and amassing 100-plus RBI and 90-plus runs for the third straight season in 2017, Rizzo once again profiles as a dependable early-round building block in fantasy drafts.