Chicago Cubs starting lineup coming into focus as Spring Training concludes

The structure of the Cubs starting lineup is in place.

2024 Chicago Cubs Spring Training
2024 Chicago Cubs Spring Training / Matt Dirksen/GettyImages

With Ian Happ's return on Sunday to Spring Training action, the Chicago Cubs starting lineup for the regular season is starting to come into focus.

Happ's return to the lineup saw him in a familiar spot. Happ was the leadoff hitter for the Cubs on Sunday, a spot that he was frequently used in at the start of his Major League Baseball career. Given Happ's ability to work counts to his favor and draw walks, chances are that he will get the first opportunity at being the team's leadoff hitter to open the 2024 under Craig Counsell.

Nico Hoerner, who mostly served as the Cubs' leadoff hitter during the 2023 season, will likely slide down to the bottom third of the lineup. Hoerner's slide down is not an indictment of his offensive profile, but rather his ability to make contact. Hoerner's bat-to-ball skills are among the best in all of Major League Baseball, creating the opportunity for the second baseman to have more run-scoring opportunities after the middle-of-the-order.

The Chicago Cubs starting lineup has the potential to be better in 2024 but it may not be the expectation.

Seiya Suzuki is also in a position to create runs with his spot in the potential Cubs' starting lineup. Expectations are high for Suzuki after a strong finish to his 2023 campaign. Suzuki is also protected in the lineup by having Cody Bellinger bat after him.

Christopher Morel serving as the cleanup hitter is an ideal spot for him given the potential that he has to change the course of a game with one swing. Morel has the most power potential of anyone in the Cubs' lineup and a more selective approach this season could see him cause real damage behind Happ, Suzuki, and Bellinger.

The Cubs will use a rotation of players as the designated hitter. Mike Tauchman, Patrick Wisdom, and Garrett Cooper will all likely be used as the team's designated hitter depending on the matchup.

Of course, the structure of the starting lineup will change over the course of 162 games. For now, the Cubs feature a lineup that is full of potential but may fall short of expectations depending on the development of Suzuki and first baseman Michael Busch.

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