Thursday, July 21, 2011

Rizzo Sent to AAA, Blanks Recalled

Initially I was not a big advocate for promoting Rizzo before he was ready.  Lately I've thought that, since this is not a year that will produce a post-season berth, why not keep him on the roster?

Well, San Diego sent Anthony Rizzo down following today's 5-3 win in Miami.  This is why I'm not working in a front office somewhere.

One hundred seventeen plate appearances does not a career make.  It is a small sample size, given that most everyday players log upwards of 700 PA's in a season.  But 117 PA is enough to draw some conclusions and see some trends.  Rizzo came up and made some great contact initially, including a RF HR at Petco off Washington's John Lannan.  His high water mark may have been the Boston series, in which he hit 3 balls to the deepest part of Fenway (two doubles and an out courtesy of Jacoby Ellsbury).  Two days later he had the second multi-hit game of his career.

Since, as Geoff over at Ducksnorts noted (slightly updated), he's hit .107/.206/.143 in 63 PA.  He was 6 strikeouts short of striking out every other at bat.  Teams routinely busted him in, and he routinely swung at those pitches, whether they were up, or down, or in the strike zone, or off the plate.  He made very little contact.

He was outmatched.  There was no point in keeping him in SD.  There are things he clearly needs to work on at the plate, and now that he has an idea of what they are he can spend the time to fix them.

Anthony Rizzo will be back.  It won't be until after 1 September, and might not be until next year (although I would be real surprised if he wasn't a roster expansion call-up).

In his place, we welcome Kyle Blanks back to the roster. Finally I can put my Blanks bobble head out and not get ridiculed ('Hey isn't that guy who had a bobble head night when he wasn't on the roster?'  yes, thanks for the reminder.)  Blanks is the original Rizzo: the kid who tore it up in the minors, then struggled mightily at the major league level when holes in his approach appeared (like an inability to hit a pitch low and away).  Like Rizzo, Blanks has legitimate big-league power, and assuming he can hit the pitches he couldn't reach last season will be a middle-of-the-order threat here.  Headley, Ludwick (for the next 10 days at least), and Blanks 3-4-5 is pretty good.

Not Pujols-Holliday-Berkman good, but still pretty darn good.

Padres start a 4-game set in scorched Philadelphia tomorrow.  My regular Thursday Podcast will air tonight, hope you can join me.

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