How Successful Can Anthony Rizzo Be With the Cubs?

Anthony Rizzo‘s move to the National League Central couldn’t have been any better for his production.  Yes, I may be getting ahead of myself, but the NL Central is basically the anti-NL West.  His trade to Chicago will allow him to hit in a much more accommodating division.  Consider this, Rizzo will play 81 games in Wrigley plus an additional 30+ games against other NL Central teams.

Unlike the offense-suppresive confines of San Diego, the friendly confines of Wrigley Field should be a welcome change.  Rizzo will have a lot going for him in Chicago.  His offense should benefit, he won’t have as much competition at first base, and many of his games will be day games (more on that in a bit).

Let’s first take a look at the park factors for the NL Central and the NL West.  The average park factor for home runs, hits, and runs in the NL Central respectively are 1.016, 0.989, and 1.002.  The average park factor for home runs, hits, and runs in the NL West are 0.965, 1.003, and 0.997.  So, in every category besides hits, the NL Central has a more favorable park factor.

In addition to the park factors, Rizzo has proven to be a dead-pull hitter so far in his short career.  He only had three hits to the opposite field.  Wrigley Field should provide an advantage in that category with its short 353 right field dimensions and 368 right-center dimensions.

Finally, Rizzo will see more than his fair share of day games while playing in Chicago.  While his daytime batting average (.130) was worse than his night batting average, his daytime BAbip was 18 points higher than his nighttime average (.220).  Now don’t get me wrong, .220 is not something to be proud of, but 18 points higher in the day seems to indicate he hits the ball harder during the daylight hours.

In all, Anthony Rizzo should benefit in Chicago.  He will be given much more of an opportunity to shine.  He will be playing for the people who believed in him enough to draft him.  Chicago could mean big things for Rizzo, but he will be missed in San Diego.  His struggles didn’t really ever take away the glow Padres fans had about him.  While he will not be in a Padres uniform, I’ll still be rooting for him – except when the Cubs play the Padres.

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