The Chicago Cubs embark upon the 2014 season after an off-season that saw the team made little changes to the Major League roster. In 2014, the Cubs will hope for improvement from their position players and pitching staff after a 2013 season that saw the team lose 96 games.
Anthony Rizzo was the starting first baseman for the Cubs in 2013 and will serve in that capacity with the team in 2014. With the Cubs in 2013, Rizzo hit .233/.323/.419 to go along with 23 home runs and 80 RBIs. Defensively, Rizzo had a UZR of 8.3 to go along with a DRS of 16 runs saved.
Many were down on Rizzo’s offensive numbers after the 2013 season. What may have been lost on those individuals is that Rizzo had an ISO of .186 last season to go along with a wOBA of .325 and wRC+ of 102. From that perspective, Rizzo had a relatively productive 2013 season. Though, the reason that did not appear evident on his slash line is because of his BABIP. Last season, Rizzo had a BABIP of .258. A mark that was significantly lower than his career BABIP of .270.
There is no question that the Cubs will be looking for improvement from Rizzo in 2014. Though, the only improvement that may be needed is for Rizzo to find more holes in the defense. Other than that, Rizzo’s power numbers appear to be inline with what most project out of the first baseman.
Rizzo, along with shortstop Starlin Castro, remains one of the core players of the Cubs long-term future. Rizzo also may be the most durable player on the Cubs roster. The Cubs currently do not have a backup to Rizzo at the first base position, meaning the 25-year old could see another season in which he plays 160+ games for the Cubs.
With his defense nearing the ranks of the top first baseman in the National League, Rizzo could emerge as a star during the 2014 season.