The 2012 Chicago Cubs' season isn't so much about wins and losses. Hell, it's not even about the games. As the L's have started stacking up at an accelerated rate on the North Side this year, Cubs baseball has devolved into a series of off-field situations that demand more attention than whatever is going on between the lines. First there was the draft, in which the North Siders pegged high school outfielder Albert Almora with the No. 6 overall selection. Then it was time for Jorge Soler Watch, a derby the Cubs won by inking the 20-year old Cuban outfielder to a 9-year contract. That means there's only one WATCH left, and it of course involves super-prospect Anthony Rizzo.
Rizzo has been tearing up Triple-A, to the point of contending for the triple crown. As soon as June 22 hits, the Cubs will be free to call up the slugging first baseman. They're already making precautionary moves for his arrival.
The Cubs' 12-3 victory over the Sox yesterday was most noteworthy (for the North Side, at least) because of the defensive alignment. For the first time all season, Bryan LaHair -- heretofore known as the out-of-nowhere first baseman who carried the Cubs in April -- played left field. David DeJesus was in center, with the suddenly surging Alfonso Soriano slotted at DH for the interleague series.
Make no mistake: this is because Rizzo is on his way.
Rizzo, 22 years old, is the gem of the Cubs' farm system and a huge part of the foundation Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer are hoping to build. Epstin and Hoyer need Rizzo to pan out, otherwise the Cubs are in more trouble than we originally anticipated. As soon as he arrives, he'll have the weight of an entire franchise on his shoulders. I don't think that's being too dramatic.
Rizzo has certainly proven he can kill Triple-A pitching. His line right now in Iowa: .364/.426/.745 with 23 homers and 59 RBI. He could be here by Friday, and should be a staple in the big league lineup by next week.
Get excited, Cubs fans. Your purported savior is on his way.
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