Use your ← → (arrow) keys to browse more storiesNext
Jamie Squire/Getty Images
The Chicago Cubs will have high hopes for minor league first baseman Anthony Rizzo once he finally makes his move to the major league level, but with his very minimal MLB experience, fans have to wonder who he will resemble best once he does arrive.
Rizzo has been tearing things up in Iowa, as he currently is batting .373 with seven home runs and 19 RBI in 75 at-bats. Compared to his .331 batting average, 26 home runs and 101 RBI in 356 at-bats last season with the San Diego Padres' Triple-A affiliate, Rizzo is looking like he is continuing to build the power numbers.
Which Cubs' Prospect Will Have the Best Career?
The one setback, and something that he may never be able to truly surpass as his power numbers rise, is his strikeouts, which were at 89 in the minors last year. That number was apparent during his brief major league appearance last year with the Padres, where he batted .141 with 46 strikeouts in 128 at-bats.
Of course, that was Rizzo's first taste of the big leagues, but there is no guarantee still that he will echo those minor league numbers in the bigs.
Here are a few players who Rizzo could resemble once he does hit Wrigley, but as Cubs fans hope, he will turn out to be a player of his own.
While both players are lefties and first basemen—despite Dunn's move to DH as of late—they share a resemblance in their home run or strikeout production.
Including Dunn's poor 2011 numbers, the 12-year veteran has a 162-game average of 38 home runs, 96 RBI, 110 walks, 187 strikeouts and a batting average of .243 with an OBP of .374 per Baseball-Reference.com.
Does Rizzo Resemble Dunn?
Compare that to Dunn's minor league numbers at the Triple-A level, then fans should expect similar numbers between the two players.
During the 2001 season, Dunn batted .329 with 20 home runs, 53 RBI and 51 strikeouts in 210 at-bats. While Rizzo had more at-bats in his last year at Triple-A, their numbers are eerily similar.
While Dunn is a strikeout machine, that doesn't mean Rizzo will be just as bad. One thing that could bode well for Rizzo is the power results, as Dunn has had eight seasons with over 38 home runs and six with over 100 RBI.
The Cubs need a productive left-handed bat, and while that may come with strikeouts, the need for power from the left-side of the batter's box is a fair payoff.
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images
Berkman is a bit similar to Dunn, except he is a bit more consistent while sacrificing the power numbers. While Berkman did and still does have the ability to go yard, his batting average and strikeout numbers are more reasonable in comparison to what Dunn has produced.
Does Rizzo Resemble Berkman?
As per Baseball-Reference.com, Berkman's 162-game average over his 14-year career includes a batting average of .296, 33 home runs, 109 RBI, 112 strikeouts and an OBP of .409.
Berkman does have one advantage—he is a switch hitter.
While that likely stands to be somewhat of an advantage for him, there is no doubt that he has batted left-handed for the majority of his at-bats given the ratio of right-handed pitchers to left.
Most importantly, Berkman has been a consistent rock for whoever he plays for. In his 12 seasons with the Houston Astros, Berkman batted .296 in 5,560 at-bats. He did become a frequent victim of the strikeout for a few years, but he never recorded more than 125 in a season—something Dunn has never come close to.
Denis Poroy/Getty Images
These two players have killed the Cubs over the years, so fans should be looking forward to having a player of their own to resemble either of these stars. And while Berkman did have solid numbers last season with the St. Louis Cardinals as Dunn looked terrible, remember what these players have accomplished their entire careers.
Rizzo is just 22 years old, and if he can resemble anything similar to what these two did during their prime years, then the Cubs should have a threat for many years to come at first. There is still a long road ahead before the North Side can claim Rizzo the new slugger to take over the NL Central, but the future sure looks bright during these gloomy days.