Anthony Rizzo (born Anthony Vincent Rizzo on August 8, 1989 in Fort Lauderdale, Florida) is an American professional baseball first baseman for the Chicago Cubs of Major League Baseball (MLB) and is a three-time All-Star.
He was selected by the Boston Red Sox in the sixth round of the 2007 MLB draft and became a top minor league prospect in the Red Sox organization.
After being traded to the Cubs in 2012, he emerged into an All-Star player.
Anthony was a sixth round draft choice out of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida in the 2007 MLB draft by the Red Sox. He was heading for Florida Atlantic University before he was drafted and signed with a $325,000 signing bonus.
Anthony played in the Red Sox organization with the Gulf Coast League Red Sox, Greenville Drive, Salem Red Sox and the Portland Sea Dogs. He hit 12 home runs in 2009.
In 2010, he hit a combined .260 with an on-base percentage (OBP) of .334 and a slugging percentage (SLG) of .480 along with 42 doubles, 25 home runs and 100 RBIs between stops at High-A Salem and Double-A Portland.
Anthony credited the easing of his swing and making better use of his legs for his power surge.
San Diego PadresEdit
On December 6, 2010, Anthony was traded along with Casey Kelly, Reymond Fuentes and Eric Patterson to the Padres for three-time All-Star first baseman Adrian Gonzalez. He was considered the third best prospect (Kelly was #1) and the best power hitting prospect in the Red Sox organization.
Kevin Boles (Rizzo's manager at Salem) also previously managed Gonzalez in the minors. Boles said, "Rizzo reminds me a lot of Adrian Gonzalez ... Rizzo is a bigger kid and has a little more power, Adrian is a little more of a contact hitter, but they had very similar styles of play ... We thought very highly of Anthony Rizzo. He's going to be a heck of a player.'"
Padres General Manager Jed Hoyer expected either Anthony or Kyle Blanks to eventually be the Padres major league starting first baseman.
The Padres invited Anthony as a non-roster player to their major league camp for 2011 Spring training. He started the 2011 season in Triple-A with the Tucson Padres.
In his first 15 games, Anthony hit .452 with six home runs and 24 RBIs.
In May of 2011, The San Diego Union-Tribune wrote that Anthony's debut in the Major Leagues might be delayed by the Padres despite the club's hitting deficiencies due to cost considerations created by the "Super Two" exception for salary arbitration eligibility.
The team cited Anthony's lack of experience above Double-A and his limited exposure to left-handed pitching as benefits of him continuing to play in Tucson. He was called up to the majors after hitting .365 with an OPS of 1.159 along with 16 homers and 63 RBI in 200 at-bats over 52 games in Tucson.
The San Diego Union-Tribune called Anthony "the most celebrated Padres call-up" since Roberto Alomar debuted with the team in 1988. His promotion was prompted by the Padres' inadequate offensive production and fielding play of veterans at first base.
In his debut on June 9, 2011 against the Washington Nationals, Anthony struck out in his first at bat, but then proceeded to hit a triple and score a run, helping the Padres to a 7–3 victory. He hit his first home run on June 11 against John Lannan.
After three games he was 3-for-7 with a double, triple and a home run while he demonstrated patience in drawing four walks for a .667 on-base percentage (OBP).
On July 22, 2011, Anthony was demoted back to Triple-A and Blanks was promoted. He had struggled with only a .143 batting average and 1 home run, striking out 36 times in 98 at-bats. Hoyer said he "worked hard, never made excuses, and endeared himself to his teammates" during his initial stint in the majors.
He was recalled to the majors on September 4 after finishing the season at Tucson batting .331 with 26 homers and 101 RBI in 93 games.
Anthony finished his first season in San Diego hitting only .141 with 46 strikeouts in 128 at-bats. Hoyer believed Rizzo would be the starting first baseman for the Padres in 2012 with Jesús Guzmán as the second option.
On January 6, 2012, the Padres traded Anthony and right-handed starting pitcher Zach Cates to the Chicago Cubs in exchange for right-handed starting pitcher Andrew Cashner and outfielder Kyung-Min Na.
The deal was negotiated by Hoyer, the Cubs' general manager. Hoyer had also drafted him while working as an assistant general manager for the Red So and later acquired Anthony while he was the Padres' general manager. He blamed himself for calling up him to the majors too early in San Diego.
Anthony started the 2012 season with the Triple-A Iowa Cubs. He again excelled in the minor leagues, batting .342 average with 23 home runs and 62 RBIs before being recalled by the Cubs on June 26th. Similar to his call-up in San Diego, he was expected to help a struggling offense.
He became the first player in Cubs history to have three game-winning RBIs in his first five games with the team. He hit seven homers in July, the most by a Cubs rookie in a calendar month since Mel Hall hit nine in August 1983.
He also led National League (NL) rookies that month in homers, hits (32), RBIs (17) and total bases (55).
Anthony ranked second among NL rookies in runs scored (14), and he was third with a .330 batting average, .375 on-base percentage and .567 slugging percentage. He was named the league's July Rookie of the Month.
On May 12, 2013, Anthony agreed to a 7-year, $41 million deal. The deal included two club options that could extend the contract to 9 years and $73 million.
He was named as the Cubs finalist for the national Heart and Hustle Award, named the Cubs finalist for the Roberto Clemente Award and placed 2nd for the Gold Glove award for first basemen.
Despite having an off-year in 2013, Anthony showed good power, belting 23 homers and 40 doubles in 606 at bats with a .233 batting average.
Anthony had his fifth multi-homer game on May 31st and his second career Walk-off home run on June 6.
In late July, Anthony won his first "Player of the Week" award. In mid-September Rizzo became the youngest player to receive the Branch Rickey Award as "a strong role model for young people".
He finished the season with a combined on-base and slugging percentage of .913 (3rd in the NL), 32 HR's (2nd in the NL) and an at-bats per HR percentage of 16.4 (2nd in the NL) and placed 10th in the National League MVP voting.
Anthony was elected on the player's ballot for the 2015 All-Star Team. It made the second consecutive year he played in the game.
He also competed in the 2015 Major League Baseball Home Run Derby for the first time in his career, but he lost in the first round of the derby to Josh Donaldson.
On September 8, 2015, he hit his 100th career home run and 300th RBI against Cardinals pitcher Michael Wacha.
He was hit by a pitch 30 times in 2015 and joined Don Baylor as the only other member of the 30HR/30HBP club. Rizzo finished the regular season with a .278 batting average, 31 home runs, 38 doubles and 101 RBI in 701 plate appearances and placed 4th in National League MVP voting.
Anthony is the top vote-getter, one month prior to the 2016 All-Star game.
As his family originated in the Sicilian town of Ciminna, Anthony chose to play for Italy in the 2013 World Baseball Classic before the 2013 season.
In April of 2008, Anthony was diagnosed with Hodgkin's lymphoma; the survival rate for Hodgkin's lymphoma is about 90%. He went through chemotherapy for six months. His grandmother was battling breast cancer at the same time.
On September 2, 2008, his doctor told him he was in remission. He still had six weeks left of treatment and had some follow up testing. On November 18, 2008, his doctor told him he "could live a normal life."
In 2012, The Anthony Rizzo Family Foundation was formed. It is a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization, benefiting cancer research and the families fighting the disease. The foundation is run entirely by Anthony's family, his close friends and his management team & Anthony provides oversight and leadership.
Anthony has an older brother, John, who was a lineman for the Florida Atlantic University football team.