San Diego Padres top prospect Anthony Rizzo was called up to the Majors Thursday and had a successful debut. He went 1-for-2 with a triple, a run scored, two walks, and a strikeout helping the Padres beat the Nats 7-3. Rizzo was lauded by the announcers for having such a great eye for the strike zone, but maybe that’s only because he’s breaking the baseball code by sneaking peeks at the catcher to see where he’s setting up and possibly signs.
LBS correspondent Alan Hull informed us that MLB Network showed some clips of Rizzo peeking back at the catcher. We missed the MLB Network segment, but we went through all of Rizzo’s at-bats Thursday to see what we could find. He didn’t appear to check the signs his first two at-bats, but in his last two at-bats (both with men on), he seemed to peek back. Here are a few pictures where you can see his eyes looking back towards the catcher:
Here are two more pictures of Anthony Rizzo looking back at the catcher:
The pictures don’t quite do it justice, but if you watched him carefully you could see his eyes shift for a split second every few moments. Since this was the first time I’d ever seen Rizzo hit, I didn’t want to jump to conclusions about him stealing signs. I was thinking of the possible explanations for his eyes wandering, figuring it was possible he has a twitch or that he just does this on a regular basis. But when I saw clips of him batting in the minors, I didn’t see his eyes peeking, and his eyes didn’t shift backwards during his first two at-bats. Maybe this is only something he does when there are men on because he thinks he can get away with it. Or maybe he was nervous about being in the Majors and he wanted to have a successful debut, so he tried to sneak a few peeks. I’m not sure what was going on there, I just know that once word gets around he won’t be doing it for long.Google+