Chicago Cubs News

Chicago Cubs: Examining the team’s options in the leadoff spot

Apr 26, 2017; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Chicago Cubs manager Joe Maddon (70) looks on against the Pittsburgh Pirates during the eighth inning at PNC Park. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports
Apr 26, 2017; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Chicago Cubs manager Joe Maddon (70) looks on against the Pittsburgh Pirates during the eighth inning at PNC Park. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports /
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Apr 26, 2017; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Chicago Cubs manager Joe Maddon (70) looks on against the Pittsburgh Pirates during the eighth inning at PNC Park. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports
Apr 26, 2017; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Chicago Cubs manager Joe Maddon (70) looks on against the Pittsburgh Pirates during the eighth inning at PNC Park. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports /

With Kyle Schwarber‘s struggles in the leadoff spot taking center stage, we break down the team’s alternative options at the top of the order.

Let’s start with a few simple truths. We’re a month – one – into the 2017 season. Things haven’t gone quite as well as fans had hoped, sure. But the Chicago Cubs are still the reigning World Series champions and have more talent than any other team in the division.

But entering Tuesday’s game against the Phillies, the team was clinging to a disappointing 13-12 record and a tie atop the National League Central. The bullpen turned around its early struggles to lead the league in ERA for the month of April and the bats of Kris Bryant and Anthony Rizzo are showing signs of life.

There are still a lot of struggles that need addressed. First-inning runs plague this club on a nightly basis. And on the other side of the diamond, current leadoff hitter Kyle Schwarber has struggled adapting to his new role atop the lineup card.

So what choices does manager Joe Maddon have? To be frank, quite a few. It’s just a matter of fitting the pieces together properly – not just in the batting order but across the diamond defensively.

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