Chicago Cubs Lineup: Nick Madrigal Leads Off, Seiya Suzuki Moves Up

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Chicago Cubs Lineup: Nick Madrigal Leads Off, Seiya Suzuki Moves Up

Chicago Cubs

Nick Madrigal didn’t get off to the best start this season, but he’s got six hits and a walk over his last three games and is leading off tonight against the lefty Shane McClanahan (for good reason).

Chicago Cubs Lineup: 

1. Nick Madrigal, 2B
2. Willson Contreras, C
3. Frank Schwindel, 1B
4. Seiya Suzuki, RF
5. Yan Gomes, DH
6. Patrick Wisdom, 3B
7. Michael Hermosillo, CF
8. Ian Happ, LF
9. Nico Hoerner, SS

The reason I’m okay with Madrigal leading off tonight?

McClanahan has recorded 15 strikeouts and an 18.3% whiff rate over his first 9.0 innings this season. That’s good for a 39.5% strikeout rate, which is third highest in MLB. The numbers weren’t quite as elite last season (27.3 K%), but he’s still a big-time strikeout artist and Madrigal is one of the most extreme contact bats in MLB. Not a terrible idea to get him an extra at bat (if that’s how it plays out). My only issue is now you’ve got two contact guys back-to-back, with Nico Hoerner batting ninth, but that’s okay. I like Hoerner in that 9th spot.

Now let’s talk about why the leadoff spot was available: Clint Frazier is on the bench tonight, despite being the de facto leadoff man against righties all season. If you recall, Frazier had a red-hot Cactus League performance this spring, but hasn’t quite gotten the results yet during the regular season. So David Ross is letting the switch-hitter, Ian Happ (left field), and backup catcher, Yan Gomes (DH), take his usual spot(s) in the lineup, to see if they can keep producing.

For what it’s worth, Happ has looked a lot better from the right side of the plate this season, with four hits in 8 at-bats, all of which went the other way (if I recall correctly). Meanwhile, Yan Gomes has looked mighty comfortable at the plate this year, and I’m happy to have him in the lineup against lefties when possible.

In any case, with Frazier out and Madrigal moving up, the Cubs have made room for the NL Player of the Week Seiya Suzuki to bat cleanup, the highest he’s hit yet in his short MLB career.

Author: Michael Cerami

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