Today, Chicago Cubs manager Joe Maddon changed up the lineup rather significantly, moving Ian Happ into the leadoff spot, sending Ben Zobrist back down into the cleanup hole, and moving Kyle Schwarber all the way down to seventh.
After weeks of holding fast to Schwarber in the leadoff spot before bumping him down to second, why now drop him further?
The reason for the Schwarber move, according to Maddon, are multifold:
Joe Maddon on Schwarber batting 7th: "Let him go down a little bit and work on some things. One less at bat theory."
— Mark Grote (@markgrotesports) June 2, 2017
Joe's logic on moving Schwarber down includes getting him one less at bat per game, giving him a break because he's working so hard.
— Ryan Davis (@RyanQDavis) June 2, 2017
We’ll wait to pass judgment until we’ve got a little more context, and maybe some additional thoughts from both Maddon and Schwarber. My instinct is that if you’re wanting a guy to work through issues, you’d want to see him getting more at bats, not fewer. But obviously the other side of that is you are exposing him to more potential struggles if he gets more at bats right now.
Whatever the case, hopefully Schwarber finds himself with less pressure on his shoulders – be it applied by the situation, or applied by himself – further down in the order. In that event, he could be even stronger going forward if he works himself out of this slump at the big league level, avoiding any further uncomfortable talk about a possible AAA option.