With Bryant’s career off to such a great start, what about the other half of Bryzzo?
Anthony Rizzo has been in the big leagues for eight seasons, seven of which have been in Chicago. Over that stretch, he’s produced 28.8 WAR. That’s certainly good for a guy who’s likely about halfway through his big league career, but it’s not on pace to get him near the 66.8 career WAR that the average Hall of Fame first basemen has produced.
Although 38 WAR may not seem like an insurmountable number for Rizzo to accumulate over the rest of his playing career, it’s pretty unlikely. Rizzo’s best season by WAR standards was 2015 when he produced 6.4 WAR and finished fourth in NL MVP voting. He’d have to recreate that season six times to get to that 66.8 career WAR mark, and that’s pretty unlikely for a guy who will turn 30 in August.
If this article had been written two years ago, the conversation surrounding Rizzo’s chances at hitting the Hall of Fame WAR average would be totally different. From 2014-2016, Rizzo made all three All-Star Games and totaled 17.1 WAR. In his two seasons since then, he’s put up just 7 WAR combined.
Rizzo clearly falls well short of being a Hall of Famer in WAR and other WAR-based measurements like WAR7 and JAWS. Unfortunately, other statistics don’t paint an optimistic picture either.
While a career .270/.369/.484 slash line is very good, it just isn’t good enough to make a strong case for induction in the Hall of Fame, especially at a position full of big bats.
Through his first eight years in the majors, Rizzo has launched a respectable 191 home runs. By the time he retires, it’s pretty reasonable to expect Rizzo to finish with more than 400 long balls, but the major milestone of 500 homers seems well out of reach. Since 2014, Rizzo has averaged just over 30 home runs each year. To get to 500, he’d have to keep up that pace until he’s 39. Yes, it is possible, just highly unlikely.
Rizzo probably shouldn’t make any travel plans to Cooperstown, unless he’s planning on seeing one of his current teammates inducted. His 128 OPS+ is the 74th best of all first basemen and his 131 wRC+ puts him at 55th. Both of those numbers should only fall as his production inevitably slips at some point in his 30s.
But even with all of that said and knowing that Rizzo just isn’t statistically on pace to deserve induction in the Hall of Fame, the two-time Gold Glove winner does have some hope. Rizzo seems like a prime candidate to be inducted by an era committee.
His production doesn’t line up with those already inducted, but Rizzo’s reputation around the league is great. He’d likely be viewed more favorably among his peers on a committee than he would be by a more objective group of baseball writers.
Rizzo’s accomplishments on the field thus far don’t make him look like a strong candidate for enshrinement in the Baseball Hall of Fame, but the pivotal role he played in the Cubs ending their World Series drought will surely make him a Hall of Famer in the minds of Chicago sports fans.