Given how the first half shook out, it might seem unthinkable to many of you, but Kyle Schwarber as a leadoff hitter is not entirely off the table.
Before word that Schwarber would be returning broke earlier this morning, Chicago Cubs manager Joe Maddon spoke about the possibility that Schwarber could slide back into the leadoff spot whenever it was that he returns.
“It’s a zero concern,” Maddon told CSN of batting Schwarber in the leadoff spot. “He would have struggled in the eight-hole …. That had nothing to do with placement in the batting order, because he was not trying to be any kind of a different hitter. He was not trying to accept more walks. He was not trying to do anything differently. It just was a matter that he was not hitting. In my mind’s eye, it had nothing to do with it, so I would not be concerned with putting him back there, just depending on what he looks like when he gets back.”
I, too, have my doubts that the leadoff thing directly contributed to any of Schwarber’s struggles, but I also have my doubts that he can immediately be thrust into such a role of prominence if the Cubs are looking to help him regain his confidence and swagger.
In general, I agree with Maddon’s philosophy about the batting order when you don’t have an obvious leadoff guy like Dexter Fowler: just get the best hitters up top. When he’s doing what he can do, Schwarber is one of those guys. But until he shows he’s really gonna be that guy, maybe it’s best that he hits a bit lower in the order for now.
We’ll see soon enough.
Either way, here’s hoping Schwarber has a good first day back, and gets a little something to build off of heading into the break. The dude can hit. We all know he can hit.