I’ve seen enough. Anthony Rizzo deserves to be the National League’s Most Valuable Player.
This afternoon he and the Cubbies kicked off the holiday weekend in the best way possible, crushing a moonshot grand slam to right field with the bleachers full in a big 14-5 win over the DiamondBacks.
The numbers are there: 28 home runs, 83 RBI, 15 stolen bases, a .285 average and .927 OPS. The Cubs are entrenched firmly in the second wild-card spot, 7.5 games up on the Giants (thank goodness). Today’s win was their 76th of the season.
Rizzo has been the best lynchpin on the best team in the race. I cannot think of another guy (Harper and Goldschmidt need to be omitted because their teams simply aren’t in it) whose team would be more affected without him. Rizzo is just the guy who stands out to me in the middle of it all, and his 5.6 bWAR is right in line with that (he could very easily finish around seven).
He’s hitting afternoon grand slams at Wrigley, handing out orange slices to teammates, buying pizza for fans; the guy is just doing it all right now.
Harper has been still spectacular but many measures, but has been pretty quiet the last several weeks and has been pitched around to no fault of his own. Goldschmidt is a monster – everyone knows this – but over his last 18 games is hitting .214 for the .481 DiamondBacks.
We often don’t talk enough about a guy like Rizzo, but he’s quietly been a really special part of a great Chicago Cubs season. It’s one of the best stories in baseball right now and he’s got our vote.