Joe Maddon All But Confirms: Kyle Schwarber Will Be the Cubs' Leadoff Hitter

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Joe Maddon All But Confirms: Kyle Schwarber Will Be the Cubs’ Leadoff Hitter

Chicago Cubs News

I dig it.

The Cubs have hinted at it for a while now, and it’s going to happen: the team’s new leadoff hitter is thunderous slugger Kyle Schwarber.

As we’ve discussed, the Cubs don’t have an ideal leadoff hitter as things stand, so going with Schwarber – with Zobrist sliding in when Schwarber sits, or perhaps against some tough leftiesmakes the most sense:

“If you’re a little confused about Schwarber’s ability to lead off, let me remind you that being a lead-off hitter doesn’t mean what it used to. Just like the high average, low power, slap hitters have vacated the second spot in the order, so have the speedster (only) center field types vacated the top of the order. Getting on base is the primary directive, and Kyle Schwarber can do that as well as anyone.

In his rookie season (2015), for example, Schwarber carried a .355 OBP, despite a .246 batting average, because he walked over 13.0% of the time. That year (which I’m using, because he doesn’t have any meaningful statistics from 2016), Schwarber also had one of the better O-swing rates (30.2%) for players under 25, and, considering what he did in the World Series, it doesn’t look like any of those skills have eroded in the wake of the knee injury that cost him most of the 2016 season.”

Throw in the fact that leading Schwarber off means opposing starters will have to face him, Kris Bryant, and Anthony Rizzo in the very first inning no mater what? It’s just a good setup.

And if the Cubs do wind up batting the pitcher 8th, then every other time he comes to the plate, Schwarber will be hitting behind an actual position player (plus a non-pitch pinch hitter in later innings).


Author: Brett Taylor

Brett Taylor is the Editor and Lead Writer at Bleacher Nation, and you can find him on Twitter at @BleacherNation and @Brett_A_Taylor.