The life of a Chicago Cubs fan is never easy. Some among us always find something to complain about; even in a year when they are the defending World Series Champions. The most brought up question is questioning Joe Maddon’s decision to bat Kyle Schwarber as the leadoff hitter.
In their defense, there likely are better options on the Cubs roster who fit the ideal mold of what a “true leadoff hitter” is. You have Ben Zobrist, Jason Heyward and even Albert Almora Jr. who might be seen as a better fit. But there is a method to the madness of Maddon’s decision, and frankly the reasoning is quite obvious.
The three most dangerous hitters in the Cubs lineup are Schwarber, Kris Bryant and Anthony Rizzo. Maddon’s logic of batting Schwarber is the leadoff position guarantees the Cubs three most dangerous bats will all get chances to swing in the first inning. You could have a more “traditional” leadoff hitter, but there are no guarantees all three get a chance to hit in the first inning. Batting him leadoff also ensures that your three most dangerous hitters will all get the most chances to hit the ball.
Let’s not forget that Schwarber is actually doing a damn good job seeing pitches and getting on base to leadoff a game!
A fan asked Jesse Rogers (tweet since deleted) when Maddon would take Schwarber out of leadoff. His answer shows how well Schwarber is doing.
When his OBP isn't .350 and .500 in the first inning. https://t.co/mdvUIFaNUA
— Jesse Rogers (@ESPNChiCubs) April 29, 2017
Pretty damn good stats leading off a game. That is leadoff hitter numbers you want.
The typical response is “imagine his RBI chances if he were hitting lower in the order”.
Yes, Schwarber would have more chances to drive in runs if he were not slotted in the first spot in the order. But here is the beautiful thing about baseball and the batting order. Technically you are only the leadoff hitter once in a game; especially in a Maddon lineup when the pitcher hits eighth. After the first inning, the ninth hitter (usually Javier Baez, but occasionally Almora) becomes the new “leadoff hitter”. That technically makes Schwarber the number two hitter, Bryant the three hitter and Rizzo is in at cleanup.
Once the lineup turns over, whoever is the leadoff hitter to start the game is rather pointless. Fans should find something new to complain about.