Then and Now: Side-by-Side Video Compares High School, Current Versions of Anthony Rizzo

Don’t you just love all the clickbait-y ads flooding your online viewing experience? Use this weird trick to lose belly fat fast. Date Arab women now. What [insert 80’s star] looks like now will shock you. Here at Cubs Insider, we’ve put our own spin on those genius marketing ideas. Well, one of them.

We can’t promise that your jeans will fit any better after this — in fact, it’s entirely possible the opposite will be true — or that you’ll be able to get a date, but the changes in Anthony Rizzo‘s swing might be cause for a little shock and…

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Awwww, wook how cute he is. Widdow guy in that big batting cage.

That GIF comes from a workout back in 2006 (full video below), when the future Platinum Glover was still a few weeks shy of his 17th birthday. While there are shades of what he’d eventually become in the ringing clash of his aluminum bat, it’s nothing like the hulking beast we see ascending the ranks of MLB’s elite hitters.

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Shoo, son, that’s a grown-ass man. Big dude on a big stage. You’ve gotta love when Rizz really gets into one and leans back ever so slightly to admire the ball as it whistles off into the night. He always seems to be having fun out there, as though he’s still just that 16-year-old kid playing a child’s game.

Hey, wouldn’t it be super neat to see Baby Rizzo and Big Rizzo side-by-side? Hell yeah, it would. Hey, Corey (Freedman, our resident video wizard), can you hook that up?

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Sweet. What’s really cool here is how similar Rizzo’s moves are when you just sort of look at this GIF without focusing on any one detail in particular. Look at the step and extension, the hip turn…nearly identical. But you can see major differences in where his hands start (much lower now) and the length of his follow-through (much quicker and shorter now). Oh, he’s also wearing a different number, which is a super big deal.

There are other little differences in there, tweaks that I think provide excellent fodder for discussion below. For now, though, let’s take a look at Rizzo’s defensive skills, which have undergone a similar transformation.

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Note the lackadaisical effort in the early frame, an issue Rizzo made sure to correct prior to securing the final out of the World Series. I’m a little concerned, however, with him celebrating something so simple as a routine catch, and I really hope this is something relentless taskmaster Joe Maddon beats out of him — metaphorically speaking — this spring.

If you like what you just saw, Corey’s hard at work on putting together a whole lot more of these. But, like, for other players and not just more Rizzo stuff. Because that would be kinda weird. Not that wanting more Rizzo content is weird, just that…whatever, you get it.

And if you’re tired of graphics interchange format clips and would like the full showcase video of which I spoke earlier, here you go.

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