What started as an experiment, ended as a success
After Dexter Fowler departed in free agency prior to the 2017 season, the Cubs inserted Kyle Schwarber into the lead-off position. It did not take long to realize Schwarber was not the answer to the Cubs’ problem. In 146 at-bats, Schwarber slashed .185/.304/.356, prompting a demotion to Triple-A.
With Schwarber no longer an option, the Cubs were forced to get creative with who they picked to lead-off. One of those selections was Rizzo. In 49 at-bats atop the order, Rizzo slashed .306/.379/.694 with five home runs and 12 RBI. While the sample size was small, Rizzo posted some great numbers at the top of the lineup.
Now that the All-Star break has passed, Rizzo is hitting lower in the order, closer to his normal slot of third. In the three-hole, Rizzo has tallied 254 at-bats this season, with 14 home runs and a slash line of .252/.385/.472.