Chicago Cubs: Top 5 team MVP candidates

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Chicago Cubs Anthony Rizzo
(Photo by David Banks/Getty Images) /

No. 5: Anthony Rizzo

Despite a down year at the dish, Anthony Rizzo has still been a force in the Cubs’ lineup. While his overall numbers look like the worst since his breakout campaign in 2014, he’s been better than the numbers suggest.

Rizzo’s season statistics are weighed down heavily by the worst stretch of his Cubs’ career. In March and April, Rizzo produced just a 32 wRC+ (A statistic used to measure total offensive production and scale it to a league average. A 100 wRC+ means that the player created runs at the league average rate. Every one point above or below 100 represents one percent better or worse than average). That represents the worst month for Rizzo at the plate while he’s worn a Cubs’ uniform.

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Since the end of April, Rizzo has turned things around.

From May 1st until today, Rizzo has posted a .298/.392/.508 line with 23 home runs and 87 RBI. Those numbers turn out to a 138 wRC+, the 26th best mark of all qualified hitters over that stretch.

When the Cubs’ offensive struggles began, Rizzo’s bat got even hotter. Rizzo has hit .323/.421/.545 in the second half of the season and has the 16th best wRC+ across MLB in that same period.

While Willson Contreras, Ian Happ, Albert Almora Jr., and others have struggled to produce, Rizzo has been hitting consistently, proving to be an anchor for the offense whether he’s leading off or hitting in the cleanup spot.

Rizzo had a short stint on the disabled list in April, but since then he’s been healthy and a big time producer at the plate. With Kris Bryant, Kyle Schwarber, and Jason Heyward missing time, the consistency of Rizzo has been paramount to the team’s success.