Chicago Cubs: Who’s the best after Bryant and Rizzo?

(Photo by David Banks/Getty Images)
(Photo by David Banks/Getty Images) /
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Chicago Cubs
(Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images) /

Ben Zobrist – .290, 1 home run, 10 RBI

Ben Zobrist spent most of the 2016 season batting behind Rizzo and Bryant in the batting order. At the time Maddon described it as a, “Rizzo sandwich.” This made for a nice right-left-switch hitter combination in the heart of the batting order.

But Zobrist contributed so much more than just that. His veteran leadership was so invaluable that Theo and Jed not only signed Zobrist as a free agent, they also traded away Starlin Castro to open up the second base job for him. Zobrist’s patient and disciplined approach at the plate also did an excellent job of setting the example for the Cubs many younger hitters to emulate.

Zobrist was the NL’s starting second baseman in the 2016 All-Star game. And ultimately he earned World Series MVP honors when he had the game-winning hit in game 7. That season Zobrist was arguably the Cubs next best hitter.

Then in 2017 Zobrist wasn’t the same as he spent most of the season dealing with a nagging wrist injury. Going into 2018 some people assumed Zobrist would serve more as a backup. However, Zobrist got off to a hot start early in the season. As he ages, the Cubs are no longer counting on him to be one of the slices of bread in a Rizzo sandwich. The fact that the offense continues without him in that role is a good sign. But don’t be surprised if Zobrist continues to hit so well that he not only earns more playing time, but he might even be the Cubs next best hitter at times this season.