We often talk about players needing to show they’ve mastered a level before they’re ready to move up. It’s not exactly going out on a limb to say that Anthony Rizzo has mastered Triple-A, but his last two games have further underscored the point.
The Cubs prospect hit two home runs on Sunday for Triple-A Iowa then belted two more on Monday, part of a 3-for-4 night in which he also added a double and had four RBIs. The lefthanded-hitting Rizzo homered to center field in the second inning Monday—three of his last five homers have gone to center—and then hit a three-run shot to right in the fifth. The 22-year-old’s outburst has vaulted him to the top of the Pacific Coast League with 22 homers and put him in a tie with Wil Myers for second in the minors, trailing only Toledo slugger Brad Eldred’s 24.
Rizzo hit .331/.404/.652 in Triple-A with Tucson last season and has been even better this year despite moving to the less hitter-happy American Conference of the PCL as a result his being traded from the Padres to the Cubs in the offseason. He’s up to .363/.422/.721 through 215 at-bats with Iowa and has nearly matched his 2011 Triple-A homer total of 26. He’s not walking as frequently (10.4 percent of PAs last year, 8.4 percent this year) but has improved his strikeout rate (17.7 percent of PAs, down from 21.5 percent of PAs last year), and he’s hitting a combined .343/.411/678 at the Triple-A level between the 2011-12 seasons combined.