Chicago Cubs: How would Bryce Harper signing impact other outfielders?

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Chicago Cubs: Maddon – a master of platoon matchups

If Harper joins the Cubs outfield, it will be a very left-handed heavy group. Schwarber and Heyward are both lefties. Happ is technically a switch-hitter, but he is much better as a left-handed batter than a righty.

So if the Cubs wanted to start an all right-handed-hitting outfield against a southpaw, they would have to resort to Almora, Zobrist and Bryant. However, Harper is the kind of hitter who you only take out of the lineup when you are trying to get him a day off. Anthony Rizzo starts against left-handed starting pitchers all the time and so would Harper.

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However, the Cubs outfield may end up being too left-handed. If some combination of Harper, Schwarber, Heyward and/or Happ is starting in the outfield and Rizzo is starting at first base that is a lot of lefty bats for an opposing manager to target with his left handed relief pitchers. Depending on how well the right-handed and switch hitters (Bryant, Baez, Zobrist and Willson Contreras) are playing, Maddon might have a tough time separating all those lefties in the lineup.

You also don’t want to use up your whole bench pinch-hitting for those left-handed hitters. Again, Harper and Rizzo won’t need to be pinch hit for. So maybe two additional left-handed outfielders isn’t too bad. But there may be some days when you have to factor in Tommy La Stella and/or Happ starting in the infield. If some right -handed bats spend time on the disabled list, such left-handed heavy lineups may be forced into action.