Javy Baez, Kris Bryant and Anthony Rizzo left their marks on Cubs’ all-time lists

The three ranked among the Cubs’ all-time WAR leaders at their positions.

SHARE Javy Baez, Kris Bryant and Anthony Rizzo left their marks on Cubs’ all-time lists
Anthony Rizzo’s 31.9 fWAR ranks fifth all-time among Cubs first basemen, and he had an outside chance of reaching No. 1.

Anthony Rizzo’s 31.9 fWAR ranks fifth all-time among Cubs first basemen, and he had an outside chance of reaching No. 1.

Alex Gallardo/AP

The core has been broken up and the champion Cubs of 2016 are a memory, but Javy Baez, Kris Bryant and Anthony Rizzo were Cubs long enough to move up some all-time lists.

Rizzo’s 242 home runs rank sixth in Cubs history, with Bryant 15th at 160 and Baez 17th at 140. By wins above replacement, as listed at Fangraphs.com, Rizzo ranks 20th in Cubs history at 31.9, with Bryant 21st at 31.1 and Baez 50th at 16.0.

How did they rank at their positions? Let’s check it out.

BAEZ: Though he doesn’t rank as high as Rizzo or Bryant overall, Baez ranks high among shortstops, where he played 483 times in 815 games with the Cubs.

Baez’s 16.0 fWAR is ninth all-time among Cubs shortstops and sixth if you exclude 19th-century players. The top two — Ernie Banks (with 50.7 of his 63.3 career WAR coming when he was primarily a shortstop in 1953-61) and Joe Tinker (46.6) are out of reach.

No. 3 is Woody English (27.3 in the 1920s and ’30s.) Baez had a 5.4 fWAR in 2018 and a 4.4 fWAR in 2019, so he would have needed about three good seasons to catch English.

With a low on-base percentage (.303), high strikeouts (29.3% of plate appearances) and low walks (4.7% of plate appearances), Baez was inconsistent. But his power boosted his weighted runs created plus to 102. Coupled with stellar defense, that was enough to boost him up the shortstop list.

BRYANT: He showcased his versatility this season, but Bryant played third base 652 times in 833 games with the Cubs.

Bryant’s 31.1 fWAR ranks fourth all-time among Cubs third basemen and third if you exclude 19th-century star Ned Williamson. Ron Santo (71.9) is the easy leader, followed by Stan Hack (55.8). Bryant’s 136 wRC+ tops Santo (128) and Hack (124), but it’s a different story at similar ages.

Bryant was a Cub at ages 23-29. At those ages, Santo’s wRC+ was 144 and his fWAR was 52.7. Hack was 23-29 in 1933-39 and had a 119 wRC+ and 23.6 fWAR.

Given Bryant’s superior numbers at similar ages and many of Hack’s most productive seasons coming against depleted rosters during World War II, it’s no stretch to suggest Bryant has been the second-best Cubs third baseman.

RIZZO: The Cubs’ all-time leader with 242 homers as a first baseman, Rizzo left with an outside shot at becoming the Cubs’ fWAR leader at first base in the 20th and 21st centuries.

Rizzo’s 31.9 fWAR is fifth all-time among Cubs first basemen and fourth if you remove 19th-century star Cap Anson, the Cubs’ leader at 81.8.

Ahead of Rizzo are Frank Chance (48.1), Mark Grace (44.2) and Phil Cavarretta (33.7). Offensively, Rizzo’s 132 wRC+ trails Chance’s 137 but leads Grace’s 123 and Cavarretta’s 119.

Given more time, Rizzo was a near-certainty to surpass Cavarretta but needed about three star-level seasons to catch Grace and four to catch Chance.

Could Rizzo have claimed No. 1 among 20th- and 21st-century first basemen? It wouldn’t have been easy, but he had a shot.

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