With Alfonso Soriano destined to be traded or become a free agent by the end of the 2014 season, the Chicago Cubs will be relying on Anthony Rizzo to become the primary power hitter in upcoming seasons. Although players like Starlin Castro have shown a bit of pop, and recent acquisition Scott Hairston is a respectable power hitter, having Rizzo become the superstar that all of Cubs fans are hoping for would go along way towards pulling the Chicago Cubs up from the bottom of offensive production in the league.
In 2012, Rizzo managed to hit 15 home runs in only about a half a season’s play. If that stretches to 30, Anthony Rizzo will quickly establish himself as one of the great up and coming power hitters in the game. In the best case scenario, Rizzo will be hitting more than 30 home runs every year. But even if this is hopeful statistic is realized, it will take more from elsewhere in the lineup to generate the overall numbers the team will need to be successful. Having only two hitters capable of hitting more than 20 home runs in a year will only work if the rest of the lineup has high enough OBP to be on-base whenever the big hitters come around. As the Cubs stand now in terms of general offensive production, and specifically on-base percentage, this isn’t likely.
Last year, the Chicago Cubs as a team, were about 30 home runs away from middle of the pack in the MLB in terms of home runs hit as a franchise. They were more like 70 away from the top five teams in the league. Slugging percentage was an even more dire situation, as they were 27th of 30 teams with an overall percentage of .378, a far cry from the league leading New York Yankees at .453, or even division rivals Milwaukee Brewers at .437. Although it is likely that these numbers will improve somewhat in 2013 as younger stars get more experienced, Rizzo will have to be the centerpiece of the power for the team to have any hope of functioning as an offensive force in the NL Central.