Looking back at all the Chicago Cubs' leadoff hitters since 2016

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A recent interview posted by Marquee Sports with Chicago Cubs manager David Ross revealed that he is looking to lean on second baseman Nico Hoerner to be the team's leadoff hitter, at least at the start of the regular season. Hoerner broke out last year and proved he is worthy of everyday playing time not just because of his gold-glove caliber defense, but because of his bat-to-ball skills. In 2022, Hoerner slashed .281/.327/.737 with a wRC+ of 106. Put it all together, and you have a team-leading 4.5 WAR on the season. With his short compact swing that gets a lot of contact, in addition to excellent speed on the base paths, Hoerner has the makings to be a great leadoff hitter.

We have seen this movie before, however. Ever since former Cub outfielder and leadoff man Dexter Fowler left the team after 2016, the Cubs have struggled to find a long-term solution at the 1 hole. Over the years they have tried everything from contact hitters like Hoerner, as well as sluggers like Anthony Rizzo and Kris Bryant. Let's look at some of the other leadoff men the Cubs have tried and failed to replicate Fowler's production.

1. Jon Jay

First on the list is Jon Jay, a left-handed hitter who emerged as a decent leadoff option in Chicago for a time. Jay came aboard in 2017 following Fowler's departure, and he became then manager Joe Maddon's favorite option at the 1 hole by the middle of the season. The center fielder had plenty of experience at the position during his long tenure with the St. Louis Cardinals. In 53 games batting leadoff in 2017, Jay hit .267 while getting on base at a .324 clip. These numbers don't exactly jump off the page, but they were the best that the Cubs had at the time as the cursed leadoff spot has been a tough nut to crack. Unfortunately, Jay only stuck around for a year before departing in free agency.