After his improbable return to the lineup last fall for the World Series, Kyle Schwarber looks primed for a huge season for the Chicago Cubs.
On Thursday, quirky and fun manager Joe Maddon revealed that Schwarber would likely bat leadoff for the Cubs heading into this season.
Schwarber will be #Cubs leadoff man, Maddon says. Leaning toward pitcher batting 8th again— Carrie Muskat (@CarrieMuskat) February 23, 2017
On the surface, this seems like a slightly bizarre move given Schwarber’s power, but there is some logic behind it.
Kris Bryant and Anthony Rizzo are locked into the third and fourth spots of the lineup. Ben Zobrist will slot into the second spot behind Schwarber.
There is also some logic behind the idea of maximizing the at-bats for Schwarber and he’ll have plenty of them at leadoff as opposed to batting fifth in the lineup.
Schwarber also gets on-base a fair amount, having done so at a .355 clip in 2015. During the World Series, though in small sample size, he got on base at a .500 rate.
Also, in the Cubs absurd lineup, they’ll mash enough home runs that this probably won’t even matter.