It’s easy to throw a poll up and ask a simple question. It’s far more constructive to provide some analysis behind the question and allow you all to make an educated choice. With that in mind, we will see exactly how many of you want the Padres to keep Anthony Rizzo and how many want to see him traded. Much of the debate centers on Rizzo in comparison to Yonder Alonso.
First, let’s start with the pertinent facts. Both Rizzo and Alonso have had very little Major League experience. With that in mind, we will compare just their minor league numbers. Rizzo played in 375 minor league games, and Alonso played in 313. The number of games are close enough to compare their overall career minor league numbers with certain caveats. Rizzo spent just one season at Triple-A, while Alonso spent parts of two seasons at the top minor league level. Rizzo played his Triple-A games in a hitter-friendly park and a hitter-friendly league. Alonso, while still not playing in pitcher’s parks necessarily, did not have the consistent hitter’s park advantage. Finally, Rizzo is two years younger than Alonso.
Now that the fine print has been read, the lawyers have issues their disclaimers, and the differences have been stated, let’s compare Anthony Rizzo and Yonder Alonso.
BA: Rizzo .296/Alonso .293
OBP: Rizzo .366/Alonso .370
SLG: Rizzo .514/ Alonso .466
OPS: Rizzo .880/Alonso .837
So we’ve covered the first set of statistics. These are more of the basic stats, and in each one Rizzo outperformed Alonso except for a slight advantage for Alonso in OBP. Now, let’s dive into some of the stats used less frequently.*
Strikeouts/Game: Rizzo 0.899/Alonso .649
Range Factor/Game**: Rizzo 9.51/Alonso 6.54
BB/Game: Rizzo 0.421/Alonso 0.473
*These stats are not necessarily advanced metrics, but are looked at far less than BA/OBP/SLG.
**RFg = (Put-outs + Assists)/Games Played
In this second set of data, Alonso fares better in strikeouts and walks, but worse in range factor. These are important areas to consider as we already know how much Rizzo continued to struggle with strikeouts after being called up last year. Alonso’s ability to strikeout less and walk more helped him edge Rizzo in OBP as we discussed earlier. Finally, Range Factor is really not much better of a stat than fielding percentage. It relies heavily on opportunity. If a player doesn’t get as many opportunities for put-outs or assists, their Range Factor will be less than a player who does get a lot opportunities.
The final piece of information we will examine is Baseball America’s previous prospect rankings of these two players. Rizzo was not ranked in the top-100 until just before the 2011 season. At that time, he was ranked 75th overall. Alonso on the other hand has gone the other way, Rather than moving up into the top-100, Alonso started pre-2009 ranked 35th, pre-2010 ranked 45th, then pre-2011 ranked 73rd. He has dropped each year in his prospect ranking.
There are clearly other factors to consider when determinign whether to trade Rizzo or not. What can the Padres get in return? What is the back-up plan if Rizzo leaves and Alonso flops? Consider those things as well, but all I can provide you is the empirical factors to help you make your decision. And it’s about that time.