Anthony Rizzo Will Be Your Fantasy Baseball MVP This Year

Sports Illustrated

Every year, it seems as if the same players hover around the top of fantasy drafts. Mike Trout, Paul Goldschmidt, Clayton Kershaw, Josh Donaldson, and Kris Bryant are hot commodities — you should consider yourself lucky to draft one. However, the 2017 fantasy baseball MVP should bear a different name.

Anthony Rizzo’s journey began way back in 2007, when the Boston Red Sox selected him with the 204th overall pick in the MLB Draft. In 2010, the Red Sox elected to trade Rizzo to the San Diego Padres as part of a package deal for then All-Star Adrian Gonzalez. Rizzo was again traded in 2012 — this time for Andrew Cashner. The Cubs saw Rizzo’s immense potential and gave him the chance he deserved. He took advantage of his opportunity by smashing 15 home runs in 87 games and batting .285. Once Rizzo endured the sophomore slump, he began to break out. He has hit a combined 95 home runs over the last three years, and continues to develop and improve his game.

Last year, Rizzo tied his career-high in runs and home runs as well as setting career-highs in hits, doubles, triples, RBIs, batting average, slugging percentage, OPS, and total bases. Hitting behind NL MVP Kris Bryant certainly helps Rizzo’s cause, but that does not tell half the story. He is also the National League’s reigning Gold Glove and Silver Slugger winner. He is a three-time All-Star, and has finished fourth in the MVP voting each of the last two years. Oh, and Rizzo is fresh off a World Series victory.

In past years, Rizzo consistently performed as a top-tier talent. This year, he will finish as the top first baseman in all of baseball. Paul Goldschmidt does not have the same talent around him that Rizzo has, and Miguel Cabrera is beginning the inevitable career decline. Outside of that, there are no real threats to the throne. There are no other first basemen that can contend with Rizzo this year. Anthony Rizzo has a clear path to the top — all he has to do is play at the level he is capable of.

I always considered the first round of a fantasy draft the most difficult. There are so many options, and your pick has great implications on the rest of the draft and your season. This year, when you are on the board and the clock is ticking, the answer is clear. Take Anthony Rizzo — thank me later when you become a fantasy champion. I’ll even waive the commission for this one.