Cubs Opening Day: Projecting the starting lineup for Thursday’s game
No.7 David Bote-2B
Maybe service time manipulation was a factor, but David Bote won job at second base after a great spring camp as well. Bote slashed .311/.367/.622 with three home runs and eight RBI in 19 games. This will be the first time in his career where Bote gets the opportunity to keep the starting job to begin a full 162-game season. If he struggles, look for Eric Sogard to take his spot, or Nico Hoerner to be called up from the alternate site.
No.8 Jason Heyward-RF
At this point in his career, the Cubs know what they’re going to get from Jason Heyward. Defensively, he’s one of the league’s best, but he hasn’t lived up to his offensive potential. Heyward’s spring numbers (.263/.333/.395) are not far off from his career averages. It’s asking a lot for Heyward to bat .300 with 30 home runs, but it’s possible he can still provide some offense towards the bottom of the order.
Last season Heyward had a batting average of .290 with three home runs and 19 RBI in 69 at-bats with runners on base. If he struggles against left-handed pitching, look for the newly acquired Jake Marisnick to take his spot. Marisnick slashed .409/.435/1.000 with four home runs and eight RBI in 22 at-bats this spring.
In 28 games this spring, the Cubs offense ranked top-10 in runs (147-6th), batting average (.263-6th), and on-base plus slugging percentage (.830-3rd).
We’ll see if they can carry that productivity into the regular season, but thats the production this team needs to contend in 2021.