Chicago Cubs: Ian Happ checking all of the boxes

(Photo by Norm Hall/Getty Images)
(Photo by Norm Hall/Getty Images) /

It looked like it would come down to the Chicago Cubs’ Ian Happ and Albert Almora Jr. for the center field and leadoff spot. But that’s not looking like it’s the case.

Coming into spring training, it seemed to be a two-player race between Albert Almora Jr. and Ian Happ to see who would earn the top spot on Joe Madden’s Opening Day lineup card.

However, it feels like that race has appeared to have turned into a runaway for Ian Happ.

In six games this spring Happ is hitting 471 (8-for-17) with four home runs (two from each side of the plate). On the flipside, Almora Jr. has had an incredibly rough and somewhat disappointing spring. He has gone hitless in his first 13 plate appearances in the Cactus League.

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A third in the mix?

Happ and Almora Jr. haven’t been the only two players get a look at the leadoff spot. Jason Heyward has, as well.

However, due to his struggles at the plate over his first two seasons in Chicago, one would think that he just isn’t the right fit in the leadoff spot.

Another potential option is Ben Zobrist, but since he has been dealing with a back issue for the majority of the spring, he has seemed to have lost his chance to make a serious push towards earning the spot.

Now it is Spring Training. So all statistics should be taken with a grain salt. But Ian Happ is tearing the cover off of the ball in Arizona sunshine, so take these number for what they’re worth.

The same can also be said for Almora Jr’s numbers. He’s bound to find his swing at some point which will then, in turn, reignite the fire underneath the Cubs’ leadoff man debate all over again.

Next: When will it be Almora's turn?

Face it, neither Happ or Almora Jr. aren’t going to be the everyday leadoff hitter. I still feel the same way about the situation now as I did back in December. I see Happ getting the first chance against right-handed pitching with Almora Jr. getting the first crack against lefties.

I’ve focused on just two names, but if I know Joe Madden as well as I think I do he’ll probably use at least a dozen different leadoff men before the season ends.