People who point out that Jed Hoyer traded for Anthony Rizzo often fail to mention that it was Theo Epstein who dealt him. And sure, Jason McLeod drafted Rizzo, but that was only in the sixth round.
In any case, all of that happened before Rizzo got 153 PAs in the majors in 2011. Apparently the Padres were among those who felt that a serious flaw in Rizzo’s swing was exposed in those PAs, since they recently traded a top-of-the-rotation starter, Mat Latos, to the Reds for a package that featured Yonder Alonso, who replaces Rizzo as the Padres’ first baseman of the present and the future.
Rizzo played in the Cubs’ season-ender at SD on September 28. If you subscribe to mlb.tv, take a look at his four at-bats in that game and listen to the commentary by the San Diego broadcast crew, especially by Tony Gwynn, and decide whether you still covet this guy.
At least with Colvin, it was the approach, not the swing itself, that was the issue. I know Rizzo was twenty-two at the time of this game, but Castro has taught Cub fans that a really gifted player has a certain buoyancy, and is never over his head. Especially if you are a first baseman of no particular defensive distinction–that’s eighty percent of first basemen–your hitting skills had better come very naturally to you. Hee-Seop Choi had different mechanical problems but the same dilemma: a first baseman in the batter’s box must never be a work in progress.
I am much less interested in Rizzo than in two rough and ready hitters who could play first for the Cubs in 2012: Fielder, of course, but also LaHair, who just ended 2011 having hit 55 regular-season home runs in three leagues (including the majors in September).