Not your prototypical leadoff man, but is there still such a thing?
What was once a rumor has indeed become fact. Schwarber will be the Cubs primary leadoff hitter to start the season. To some baseball historians, the move doesn’t seem to make much sense. But then again, with all the changes to the rules of the game, history is becoming just that. It’s no longer about speed and stealing bases like it once was. It’s about contact and patience. After not playing for an entire season, Schwarber proved his doubters wrong in the World Series. It was if he hadn’t missed a beat.
For that reason, it’s why I can’t question the idea of Maddon, or the ability of Schwarber to do it. And besides, Schwarber, Kris Bryant and Anthony Rizzo to potentially start a game? How many pitchers want to face them right away? None. At least none that have any sense about them.
But Maddon is a step ahead of this already. In his first year, he batted the pitcher in the eighth spot rather frequently. After going away from that in 2016 we may see a return to that this year. As we have pointed out before, you’re only guaranteed to be the leadoff hitter once a game. With the pitcher once again in the eighth spot, Schwarber could still get his opportunities to drive in runs. Once again, it’s an idea so crazy, it just might work.