In a lineup with Kris Bryant, Anthony Rizzo, Kyle Schwarber and Ben Zobrist, it may be the young shortstop that is the most intriguing hitter on the reigning world champs.
That's because Addison Russell could be just beginning to tap into his limitless offensive potential.
Bryant has already won an MVP award, Rizzo has emerged as one of the best all-around hitters in the game and Schwarber is an October legend even though he's only played 97 games at the big-league level (including playoffs).
But Russell — who just turned 23 in January — is still waiting for that complete offensive breakout.
Russell led all shortstops in RBI last season (94 while playing the position, one RBI came as a pinch-hitter) and clubbed 21 homers, but he also sported just a .238 average and ranked 11th among qualified shortstops in OPS (.731)
"I feel like I'm just scratching the surface as far as power and understanding what pitchers are trying to do and what situations," Russell said. "I'm trying to work each day and get better."
Whereas Russell spent almost all of last season hitting below the heart of the order (92 of his 141 starts came in the six spot or lower), Joe Maddon has written him in fifth in 10 of 12 games and as the cleanup hitter protecthing Rizzo in the other two contests.
Russell admitted seeing his name in the heart of the order has been a confidence boost in the early going of 2017.
"This year, I came in with the mentality that I feel like I'm a threat in the lineup," he said. "It's just important to get myself in good hitters counts, which I feel like is the key to success in the five-hole — getting a good pitch to hit. That's what I feel like I'm doing."
Russell looked on the verge of an offensive breakout heading into the weekend at Wrigley as even his outs were coming on a line, just hit right at outfielders.
But after striking out only four times in the first 10 games of the season, he's now whiffed on three of his last five at-bats ending with Sunday's loss to the Pirates.
In terms of finding consistency and avoiding slumps, Maddon points to the work between the ears for a kid like Russell who is still adjusting to big-league pitching and developing as a hitter.
"It's about what you're swinging at," Maddon said. "That's what you're thinking and you get in a rut and then you want to start changing things because you're not hitting well because you're swinging at bad pitches that nobody can hit.
"That's really what a slump boils down to for me. A lot of times, a guy will go through a bad moment, he'll go through all these adjustments, trying different things and if you look at the video pre- and post-slump, he looks exactly the same. He arrives at the same spot. It's just about what you're thinking. It really is."
Russell showed good patience at the plate as a 21-year-old rookie in 2015, drawing a walk in 8 percent of his plate appearances. But he also struck out 28.5 percent of the time.
Last year, Russell improved in both areas (9.2 percent walk rate, 22.6 percent strikeout rate), but a .277 BABIP (batting average on balls in play) hints his low average may have simply been the result of some poor luck.
The strikeouts and walks are what Maddon and the Cubs coaching staff are paying attention to most when it comes to Russell's development.
"It's less strikeouts and more walks than he had last year," Maddon said. "If he's doing that, then he's really going to hit for some nice numbers overall. Batting average, home runs, his RBIs are pretty darn good the way it was.
"The numbers will increase as walks increase a little bit and strikeouts come down a little bit. Because he is so strong, everything else is gonna improve.
"I would bet at the end of the year, if you look at walks and strikeouts vs. last year, if they actually are improved in the right direction with one going south, one going north, you're gonna see closer to what he's capable of doing."