Patience or Panic: Anthony Rizzo

A wily veteran and two young arms have scuffled of late.

We’re just a few days from the 2023 All-Star Break, and early-season struggles are turning into season struggles. Should we panic?


Anthony Rizzo, 1B, New York Yankees


2022 seemed to prove that Rizzo’s transition from the friendly confines of Wrigley Field to the hitter-friendly confines of Yankee Stadium would be fruitful. His batting average dropped in his age-32 campaign, but he slugged more than 30 homers for the first time since 2017.

Power improvement notwithstanding, Rizzo’s 2022 continued a trend of declining average, runs scored and RBI since his torrid 2019 campaign. However, concerns that the slugging lefty might be over the hill were dispelled in early 2023.

In 53 games through the end of May, Rizzo looked like the Rizzo of old, batting .304 with 11 home runs, 32 RBI, and 30 runs. His .520 xSLG against a .510 SLG was a good sign that the early-season run might be sustainable. June and the first days of July have shown that sustainable it was not.

Since the calendar flipped to June, Rizzo has played in 25 games. In that span, he’s slashing .179/.330/.226 with no homers, 10 runs, and five RBI. That batting average is good for the ninth-worst mark in that time frame among qualified hitters. For some perspective, the extremely frustrating Giancarlo Stanton has the sixth-worst average in June and July, but he’s at least managed 3 home runs.

Verdict: Patience. If you’re in an OBP league, the Rizzo-induced heartburn has been milder thanks to his 13.6% walk rate since the beginning of June. He’s experiencing some death-by-BABIP to the tune of a .238 mark against a .310 xBABIP. The lack of home runs is annoying, but the Yankees are on a home stand that goes until the All-Star Break, after which they’ll head to Coors Field, so the dinger opportunities abound.


Logan Gilbert, SP, Seattle Mariners


Have I chosen to include this particular pitcher in this week’s edition to ask what’s eating Gilbert? Only partially.

The 26-year-old Floridian broke out in 2022 to the tune of a 13-6 record with a 3.20 ERA. Unfortunately for Gilbert and fantasy players who have him rostered, his 2023 ERA is nearly a full point higher. Making matters worse is a disappointing Mariners team that has propelled Gilbert to just five wins through 16 games.

Gilbert’s first 11 starts were relatively smooth. His 4.08 ERA was a tad underwhelming, but he was striking batters out at an electrifying 28.7% clip and walking just 4.3% of the batters he faced. His sub-1.00 WHIP and an xERA of 3.17 seemed to indicate that the ERA would come down and Gilbert was in position for a dominant summer.

Dominate the summer he has not. In his five most recent starts, Gilbert has posted a 4.45 ERA while averaging only four strikeouts per start, plummeting his K-rate to 16.9% in that time frame. His walk rate has shot up to 6.8% as he’s leaned more heavily on his slider. It’s a good pitch, but he’s throwing it at a 33% clip in his last five outings against a 24% clip in the first 11.

Verdict: Patience. I’d like to see Gilbert go back to his fastball a little more and be less predictable with the slider, but I think he’s likely to have a better second half. His 3.75 xERA is actually better than the 3.87 mark he posted last year and his 3.62 FIP is right in line with expectations.


MacKenzie Gore, SP, Washington Nationals


After being traded to the Nats at the 2022 trade deadline in the deal that included Josh Bell and Juan Soto, Gore looked like he might be a bright spot on an otherwise ghastly roster. Through his first 11 starts in 2023, Gore appeared to be a fantasy breakout, with a 3.57 ERA and a 29.8% K rate.

The fast start was not without red flags. His 1.41 WHIP was exacerbated by a precarious 11.3% walk rate, though he may have experienced the wrong side of variance with a .333 BABIP against. Nevertheless, for fantasy purposes, the results were solid; he even managed to go 3-3 in that stretch.

Gore’s subsequent 6 starts have derailed the breakout season. He’s 1-4 with a 6.23 ERA in those starts and his WHIP has jumped to 1.58. He’s managed to bring his walk rate down to 8.1% but his K rate has also dropped about 5%. He’s getting hit hard, as well. Batters are making hard contact at a 35.6% clip and producing an average exit velocity of 92.7 MPH.

Over this six game stretch, Gore’s expected statistics have been even worse. His .308 AVG is outperforming a .316 xAVG and his .369 BABIP pales in comparison to a .409 xBABIP.

Verdict: Panic. Gore has given up five or more earned runs in two of his last three and in three of his last six starts. His command is lacking and he’s getting hit hard; there’s still a lot of work to be done on the young lefty.

Jack Connors

Jack Connors is an avid Pittsburgh sports fan. In his free time, he enjoys playing golf and the guitar, and hanging out with his dog.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Account / Login