The Chicago Cubs Opening Day Lineup is Here(!): Almora Leading Off, Bote at Second

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The Chicago Cubs Opening Day Lineup is Here(!): Almora Leading Off, Bote at Second

Chicago Cubs

Later today, the Chicago Cubs will kick of the 2019 season against the Texas Rangers. Here’s the first lineup of the year.

Chicago Cubs Lineup: 

  1. Albert Almora, CF
  2. Kris Bryant, 3B
  3. Anthony Rizzo, 1B
  4. Javy Baez, SS
  5. Willson Contreras, C
  6. David Bote, 2B
  7. Ben Zobrist, DH
  8. Jason Heyward, RF
  9. Mark Zagunis, LF

Who would’ve guessed – after the way last season ended and Theo Epstein’s comments in the end-of-season press conference – that Mark Zagunis would be the Cubs Opening Day left fielder and David Bote would be the Cubs opening Day left second baseman? It’s the right call, given the roster, mind you. But still. How strange?

After all, it’s not like Mike Minor, the Rangers Opening Day starter, has very significant lefty/righty splits for his career:

Vs. Lefties: .308 wOBA
Vs. Righties: .313 wOBA

That gap widens a bit more last season (.334 vs. .307), but it does so in FAVOR of lefties. Nonetheless, Kyle Schwarber is starting the season out on the bench. There are obviously more reasons to pick certain players than just lefty/righty splits, but it does feel like there were some interesting choices there.

In any case, I’m glad to see Albert Almora leading off and playing center field. Historically, he’s done quite well against southpaws and with Ian Happ at Triple-A, he should have plenty of room to really take this job and run with it. I doubt he’ll be the leadoff hitter throughout the year, but if he’s hitting well and there’s a lefty on the mound, he’s as good a choice as any.

As usual, we’ll have your full Pre-Gamin’ closer to game time. In the meantime, check out Brett’s thoughts on Opening Day, urgency, and Joe Maddon.

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Author: Michael Cerami

Michael Cerami covers the Chicago Cubs, Bears, and Bulls at Bleacher Nation. You can find him on Twitter @Michael_Cerami