Looking ahead at the 2022 season, I can’t help but be reminded that the Chicago Cubs haven’t had a true leadoff hitter since Dexter Fowler left after winning it all back in 2016. In the years that followed, the leadoff spot was seemingly always occupied by a mix of players that really didn’t ever belong there to begin with.
The thing Fowler did well? He got on base. In that 2016 campaign, he reached at a .393 clip – setting the table for guys like Kris Bryant and Anthony Rizzo. Perhaps even bigger, though, was the chemistry the Cubs outfielder had with his teammates – that spark plug mentality is something this team is currently lacking, to say the least.
So how did Fowler reach in nearly 40 percent of his trips to the plate? He recorded 126 hits and 79 walks across 551 plate appearances. That, coupled with having the aforementioned All-Stars in Bryant and Rizzo behind you in their prime is definitely a winning recipe.
But, like I said, since then, the leadoff spot has been a gaping black hole for this team, filled by whoever’s name is drawn out of the hat on any given day. Luckily, there are players on the team who have stepped up and earned at least a shot to see what they’re made of in the top spot in the order. Let’s go ahead and identify the top 3 players on this current Cubs roster that deserve a chance to lead it off.