Matt Rizzotti seems to have been able to do just about anything since his promotion to Reading on May 13. Now, the New York native, who has had eight hits over his last 11 at-bats (3 games), has finally qualified for the league lead in batting average.
During his two plus months here in Baseballtown, Rizzotti has racked up numerous awards (Eastern League Player of the Week, Eastern League Player of the Month for June, Eastern
League All-Star, and Philadelphia Phillies Minor League Player of the
Month), and has become a staple in the Reading lineup each and everyday.
While it seems as if his numbers have been there since his first week in an R-Phils uniform, Rizzotti, 24, has not been among the league leaders due to not having enough plate appearances to qualify — until now.
On Sunday, the R-Phils and Akron Aeros game was suspended due to rain, so Rizzotti’s plate appearances didn’t count — yet. On Monday, much of the same, as the 265 pound slugger was in the middle of a great game (4-4), before a light malfunction suspended the contest after six innings.
On Tuesday, however, Rizzotti and the Reading Phillies were able to play baseball. The club completed their suspended game, and “Rizz” finished with a perfect 5-5 performance. In game two (Tuesday’s originally scheduled contest), he would need just four plate appearances to have his name amongst the Eastern League leaders.
In his first at-bat, he singled — in his second, he walked. Now, with just two plate appearances away from taking over the lead, Rizzotti would strikeout in the sixth, walk in the eighth, and although the R-Phils dropped Tuesday’s game 6-2, the Manhattan College product got the plate appearances he needed to qualify.
As of Wednesday, July 28 — Rizzotti is hitting .364 with 16 home runs and 58 RBIs in 68 games with the Reading Phillies. His .443 on-base percentage, .653 slugging percentage, and 1.096 OPS are also tops in the Eastern League.
Going forward, with just 40 games left in the 2010 season, Matt Rizzotti is on his way to shattering a Reading record. If the season were to end today, Rizzotti would be the new Reading Phillies All-Time leader in batting average, passing current leader Randy Ruiz, who hit a remarkable .349 in 2005.
What if he never played in Clearwater (A+), and started the 2010 season in Reading? Take away his 109 at-bats and 31 games with the Threshers, and who knows?
Oh, and in case you were wondering — “Rizz” hit .358 with one home run and 10 RBIs for Clearwater. Overall, he is a combined .362 with 17 home runs and 58 RBIs over 99 games between Cleawater and Reading — talk about impressive.
It has been one of those seasons for Rizzotti — a season you could only dream about. Day in and day out, he has not only been an impressive player to watch on the field, but one you cheer for.
Whether it has been his walk-off home run, his game-changing hits, his great personality, or the intensity in which he plays with, Matt Rizzotti has been a great guy to have around Baseballtown this season.