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Monday

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February 2014

7

COMMENTS

Monday Mailbag – What's Wrong With Rizzo?

Written by , Posted in General

On Sunday I took to Twitter and asked for mailbag questions. In return, I received a few decent submissions that we’ll try to address. Before we get to that, I wanted to let everyone know that Josh, Sean and I will be recording the first episode in what we hope will be a weekly installment of the VFTB podcast. It should be posted tomorrow so I hope you’ll listen and enjoy it. On to the mail.

“what can Rizzo change for this year in order to raise his Batting ave? Is it mental or can his swing/stance change?” ~ @bonesinis

That is a good question and I think if I had the answer to it, you wouldn’t be reading this post because I’d have job offers from every team in the Majors. The truth is, I’ve not looked at it that closely. I remember coming into the season last year the focus was on the adjusted stance he was sporting that featured his hands low in the stance, which was supposed to allow him to hit better. I’d actually like to go back and look at the video of his at bats from the first part of the year to the end of the year to see if he made any adjustments in that area. I think last years struggles were to be expected. He was so hot the year before that you can’t really expect him to not see any adversity. Now, it becomes a question on if he can return the volley and adjust to the league. They adjusted to him and now it’s his turn to do the same. The good players do and the mediocre ones don’t. 2014 will be an interesting year for both him and Starlin Castro.

“As Of Right Now. What Is Our Pitching Rotation?” ~ @WindyCityKid312

The easy answer on this one is to look at what we can consider “locks”. Obviously Travis Wood and Edwin Jackson are in the rotation. Neither will be going anywhere. Beyond on that, can we really say that any other spot is a lock. Sure, if Jeff Samardzija is on the team, he’ll slot in there as well. Jake Arrieta had a nice showing last year and many feel like he’s got a spot locked up. Newly signed, Jason Hammel was brought in to bring a veteran presence in the back end of the rotation, but there are some that think he’s one pitch away from Tommy John surgery. I don’t think the rotation is a lock as of yet with those five. I think a guy to keep an eye on is Kyle Hendricks. He may not make the team out of spring training, but I think we could see him at least get a look sometime this season. He’s not a blow you out of the water strikeout kind of guy, but he gets outs and keeps the ball in the park. When you do that, you’ll keep the team in the game, and what more are you looking for out of the back end of your rotation?

  • Doc Raker

    Rizzo was horrendous in the clutch last year which tells me the opposition knows where his hole is in his swing and is pretty successful in getting him out when they go to it. Hopefully the Capn old teammate Bill Mueller can help him close that hole up.

    • Michael Jimenez

      Putting aside the SSS of “clutch” situations argument…

      With runners on base last year, Rizzo hit 257/354/463/817. With bases empty Rizzo hit 213/297/383/680.

      • Doc Raker

        He was like 0-20 with RISP until he got a bloop hit down the right field line late in the season. The opposing telecast was talking about the stat, I always watch the opposing broadcast if possible to avoid Len Kasper boring me to death.

      • Michael Jimenez

        “0-20” and that’s why I ignore clutch stats, small sample size which tells you nothing. Is it not clutch to get a hit when guys are on base? Limiting “clutch” to only scenarios like RISP -or late game situations- isn’t fair to any player. In 272 ABs with runners on last year, he came through at 257/354/463. I will take an 817OPS with runners on every day.

      • Michael Jimenez

        “0-20” and that’s why I ignore clutch stats, small sample size which tells you nothing. Is it not clutch to get a hit when guys are on base? Limiting “clutch” to only scenarios like RISP -or late game situations- isn’t fair to any player. In 272 ABs with runners on last year, he came through at 257/354/463. I will take an 817OPS with runners on every day.

  • Bryan

    I think Rizzo will take a big step forward this year. Some of the advanced stats showed that his low AVG was somewhat a result of bad luck, so I hope that is the case. Castro, on the other hand, worries me. Oh well, I will just wait with cautious optimism.

    • Doc Raker

      I think Castro fiddled around with his approach at the plate, I think he will bounce back and get locked in again. It would help if the line up featured more major league hitters, it must be easy to cruise through the Cubs line up and then ratchet it up a bit for only 2 guys. Hitting and not hitting is contagious and the Cubs line up is one big Louisville Slugger virus.