For minor league Monday during the cancelled 2020 season, we are taking a look at the minor league careers of some notable Cubs. We are digesting the numbers and determining their history of development, with the benefit of hindsight. Today, we look at all star first baseman Anthony Rizzo.
Anthony Rizzo was drafted by the Red Sox back in 2007. He bounced around a bit, as he was moved around in some key trades. He was ranked as a 60-75th level prospect in 2011, then closer to 50th overall in 2012, right before his debut. He was always well regarded, but never made a splash as a can't miss guy.
Anthony Rizzo always had pop. His overall minor league slash is .303/.372/.542/.914. Playing in just 27 games between 2007-2008 due to his cancer diagnosis, he would only get regular playing time in 2009 (age 19). He had two full seasons before being called up in 2011: A full season split between A/A+, then one split between A+ and AA. In 2011, he played 93 games for the Padres AAA affiliate, before getting into 49 games at the big league level. While he destroyed AAA pitching that year, he struggled to a .523 OPS with the Padres.
The overall numbers:
Rizzo was traded to the Cubs prior to 2012. he split the 2012 season between AAA and MLB, staying in the show for good. Overall, he had 3 full minor league seasons: full seasons in 09-'10, then half seasons in '11/'12. It's worth noting that his slash lines improved nearly every step of the way, as he went from A to A+ to AA to AAA. While his batting average was all over, his walk rate and slugging drastically improved as he matured.
His strikeout rate has gotten better with age. In the minors, it was just 20%. That's pretty good for a slugging hitter, as long swings are prone to more Ks. At the major league level, he slashed that to 15.8% for his career, including less than 100 strikeouts annually for the last 3 years running. As he's matured as a big leaguer, he's shortened his swing with two strikes to cut down on strikeouts. While that was a notable adjustment as a major leaguer, the foundation for that was established in his time on on the farm.
An odd stat: his minor league OBP was .372. In the big leagues: .373. Way to be consistent. While he hasn't achieved that next level of power that she showed in the minor leagues, Rizzo's developed into a consistent first baseman. He'll put up a reasonable .280/ .373 /.510 slash, and be good for 30 home runs and 100 RBI. Certainly someone we saw coming based off of some of his minor league numbers.