The first on-base column focused on the regulars last year with above average on base percentages. It’s been a topic for a while now using sabermetrics and wanting players with high on base percentages.
The Cubs have completely re-built their roster from the ground up and one of their first acquisitions was Anthony Rizzo. Rizzo has played three seasons with the Cubs since the trade with the Padres. And in his three years with the Cubs he’s showcased a .343 OBP in 2012, 2013 with a .323 and 2014 with a .386 OBP.
To put the numbers in perspective Rizzo was seventh in OBP across all of the MLB. When looking at On Base Percentage you have to take into account a multitude of categories. On-base percentage is calculated using the following formula, where H is Hits, BB is Bases on Balls (Walks), HBP is times Hit By a Pitch, AB is At bats, and SF is Sacrifice Flies. The formula is: OBP = (H + BB + HBP) / (AB + BB + HBP + SF) So as we dive into the numbers why is Rizzo’s OBP way above the average OBP. He tied for 67th in 524 at bats registering 150 hits which was good for a .286 average for the first part of the formula.
The next category that propelled his above average OBP is his keen eye at the plate. Rizzo ranked 17th in all of Major League Baseball with 73 walks. His walk percentage was an absurd 11.9% while only striking out at an 18.8% clip. Overall this gives Rizzo a BB/K ratio of .63 which is way above the league average. The question becomes which Anthony Rizzo will we see in the 2015 season?
In the 2013 season his slash line was .233/.323/.419 with an OPS of .742 and an ISO of .186 while in the 2014 season was a complete turnaround. Rizzo’s 2014 numbers included a slash line of .286/.386/.527 with OPS .913 and a ISO of .240.
In looking at the numbers the big difference to me is the BABIP where Rizzo got struck with some bad luck in 2013 with a BABIP of .258 while in 2014 he had a reasonable .311 BABIP. His strikeout and walk ratios were virtually identical. It will be interesting to watch as we saw him get some better luck on line drives against shifts and continue to develop his stroke at the plate.
Editor’s Note: Rob Willer will be writing a weekly sabermetrics column for Chicago Cubs Online and contribute occasionally with minor league reports. Rob is a research intern for Baseball Prospectus and can be followed on Twitter @Rob_Willer