Yankees’ $20 million first baseman is hitting ice-cold wall

The decision by the New York Yankees to extend first baseman Anthony Rizzo’s contract has generally been received positively, notwithstanding his persistent back injury and advancing age.

Rizzo’s Promising Start to the 2023 Season

At 33, Rizzo kicked off the 2023 season with an impressive performance, recording a .283 batting average and a .374 OBP in April. He continued his strong form into May, with a .327 batting average and .382 OBP. However, a concerning decline emerged in his performance during June and July.

Struggles in June and July the Yankees Couldn’t Supplement

June was a challenging period for Rizzo, with a batting average of .173, a .311 OBP, a .227 slugging rate, and a .538 OPS. While one poor month doesn’t necessarily predict a season’s trajectory, July’s statistics haven’t shown any signs of improvement.

In his 44 at-bats this month, Rizzo’s performance has declined even further, hitting .159 with a .260 OBP and a .442 OPS. He’s also made 12 strikeouts while recording only seven hits and two RBIs.

Several factors could explain Rizzo’s slump, such as an unreported injury or the onset of fatigue. However, it’s clear that the Yankees cannot maintain their pace without Rizzo contributing offensively. Rizzo was instrumental to the team’s success earlier in the season, but as the Yankees have slipped in the standings and suffered losses to lesser teams, his performance dip has become increasingly noticeable.

Rizzo’s Overall Performance and Defensive Capabilities

Rizzo is one of the few Yankees who has stayed fit this season, playing in 87 games. His overall performance boasts a .254 average with a .344 OBP, 11 homers, 39 RBIs, and a 110 wRC+. Despite the recent dip, Rizzo’s overall numbers appear promising due to his strong start, but there’s a worrying downward trend, and the team needs him to regain his early-season form as the trade deadline approaches.

On the defensive side, Rizzo is experiencing his best year since 2020. He has saved three defensive runs and made four outs above average, with a .994 fielding percentage across 711.2 innings. Despite his defensive contributions, the Yankees’ ongoing struggles with offensive inconsistency mean his current offensive slump couldn’t have come at a worse time.

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