"It's definitely been an All-Star first half, there's no question. He would be All-Pro if he were in football," Maddon said. "I've been watching this whole first half. It's been one of the most impressive first halves I've witnessed since I've been doing this."
At last count, Rizzo sat in fifth place among NL first basemen, more than 7 million votes behind the D-backs' Paul Goldschmidt. And while Goldschmidt is having an MVP-type season, Rizzo's numbers make it tough to believe he won't be named to the team as a reserve. Rizzo entered play Wednesday sporting a .300/.408/.560 slash line. Each of those numbers ranked second among NL first basemen, and his .968 OPS ranked third among first basemen in both leagues. He's played in all 75 of the Cubs' games this season.
Rizzo was an All-Star reserve in 2014, but Maddon believes he still doesn't get the recognition he deserves.
"I really don't," Maddon said. "He's extremely consistent, hits all kind of pitching. He's one of the only hitters in the big leagues that has a legitimate two-strike approach. Plays wonderful defense every day and has really blossomed into a really good baserunner that can steal a bag now and then. He plays a complete game of baseball. I would almost bet he could play the outfield if you wanted to throw him out there, too. I can't say enough good things, he's been that good."
Joe Trezza is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.