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The Cubs need more consistency at the top of the lineup

Are the Chicago Cubs however in require of a leadoff hitter? Is dependent on how you decide on to glimpse at the scenario.

The Chicago Cubs enter the 2019 spring with more queries due to the fact winning the Planet Sequence in 2016, but one which is remained consistent due to the fact Dexter Fowler‘s departure that subsequent winter.

Do the Cubs require a consistent leadoff hitter? You can glimpse at this in one or two techniques. One particular of the Cubs keys to achievement offensively in 2016 was Fowler’s capacity to get the offense rolling on a consistent basis. Soon after all, he did article career highs in OBP (.393) and fWAR (4.6) that yr.

The other way is wanting at how the Cubs build their lineup day by day. It was not mad observing Anthony Rizzo at the prime of their lineup in 2018. Joe Maddon has normally been the unconventional sort of supervisor.

Given that Fowler’s moved on, the Cubs have struggled to obtain his form of production in the leadoff role. You can argue Rizzo has been the Cubs finest player from the prime of the lineup the previous two seasons. In 2017, the Cubs tried out (and unsuccessful) with Kyle Schwarber and at the time that project concluded, it was a mixture of Ben Zobrist, Jon Jay and Albert Almora at the prime of the lineup dependent on matchups the relaxation of the year.

Soon after Jay’s departure, Ian Happ acquired the simply call to start off the 2018 year. Happ started the year gradual and could not obtain ample playing time to conclusion his early year slump. By season’s conclusion, you just did not know who would be at the prime of the lineup, but most days it was Zobrist, Almora or Rizzo.

Not one could maintain the place extensive-term, except for Rizzo, but the Cubs would want to bat him in the middle of the lineup.

The Cubs enter this spring with the identical trouble. With a great deal of totally free agents however on the current market, there’s a possibility the Cubs increase an additional utility player, possibly? It is not possible but it’s not out of the question possibly. I’m prepared to bet if they did increase an additional place player, he will not be foremost off for the Cubs on Opening Working day in Texas.

I’m not so guaranteed the Cubs require to go pursue a totally free agent for this role specifically, but they require to start off an individual in this role on a more consistent basis. Almora and Happ could be the prime solutions this spring to test out for this place. The Cubs glimpse at Happ to have bounce-again likely and have a much far better year in 2019. The key to that will be more consistent playing time, which could take place if he receives more alternatives at next foundation and if he can reduce down on his strikeouts.

In 2018, Happ finished with an abysmal 36.1 p.c strikeout charge. Nevertheless, he did stroll 15.2 p.c of his plate appearances. There is likely there. Almora experienced a sturdy first fifty percent of 2018 but actually struggled down the extend, like most of the Cubs offense. As a totally free swinger, I’m not guaranteed he’ll be capable to perform for a longer time at-bats to lead to more walks, the examination has been tested following a .338 OBP in 2017 and .323 OBP in 2018. He only strikes out at a 17.3 p.c clip, nevertheless. He will possible get some alternatives simply because his protection has tested to be elite.

Honorable mentions

Some other folks the Cubs may give a possibility to are Schwarber, Javier Baez and Kris Bryant. Schwarber has enhanced due to the fact returning from Triple-A Iowa in 2017 and has normally demonstrated wonderful capacity at obtaining on foundation. You can say the identical about Bryant, who is wanting to get again to playing at an MVP caliber level following an injury-plagued 2018 campaign. Likely into previous year it was talked over and Bryant played a couple games in the role when he was nutritious.

As for Baez, he’s equivalent to Almora in phrases of willingness to get his walks but has much more danger from a electric power standpoint (.554 slugging share in 2018). Though he however swings at a great deal of pitches off the plate, Baez showed much more poise in 2018 by utilizing all areas of the field (26.1 p.c reverse field share in 2018) on his way to an MVP caliber year.

Future: Cubs require to embrace the underdog role

The a few can make the case for the option, but like Rizzo, I imagine the Cubs would relatively see them do problems in the middle of their lineup.

The spring is just beginning, so, we’ll continue to keep track of what the Cubs test to do as spring training games commence to participate in out. No one from exterior the business is coming to preserve the working day however.

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