The leadoff spot has been in flux for the Cubs since Dexter Fowler left after the 2016 season. A new chapter in that role could soon be coming.
According to multiple reports, Kris Bryant talked about leading off for the Cubs in a meeting with new manager David Ross and it sounds like he will get a chance to do just that.
Bryant said offered to lead off for Cubs this year during his meeting with Ross. Sounded like he expects to get that shot.— Gordon Wittenmyer (@GDubCub) February 19, 2020
Bryant led off for University of San Diego during his junior year when he was college player of the year. Said he would seek advice/tips from guys with big-league experience.— Gordon Wittenmyer (@GDubCub) February 19, 2020
What he likes most about it: "fifth at-bat." https://t.co/wALwdnFnvA
The Cubs have been creative with the leadoff spot without the lack of a traditional leadoff hitter on the roster. Anthony Rizzo even has 57 games in the leadoff spot in his career.
Bryant has had seven starts at the top of the order. He hit .321/.387/.464 in those games.
Bryant on leadoff:— Gordon Wittenmyer (@GDubCub) February 19, 2020
"I think the past 3 years we haven’t really had someone that was stuck in the leadoff hole &stayed there. I think we totally took Dexter for granted while he was here. I certainly did, because he was up there working great at-bats. He was always on base ..."1/2
Bryant on leadoff spot, 2/2:— Gordon Wittenmyer (@GDubCub) February 19, 2020
"I think we have so much turnover, just trying certain guys out, you don’t get that consistency. If I need to be the guy that’s up there that's going to be consistent and get on base, I’ll be that guy." https://t.co/bbVDnYUSei
Bryant said he floated idea of leading off to Ross:— Gordon Wittenmyer (@GDubCub) February 19, 2020
"I didn’t request [it]. I said I’m here to do whatever you want. If you need me to be that guy for you, I’m your guy.”
The Cubs' own Twitter account has made it semi-official by poking fun at Bryant as a leadoff hitter.
Top of the line(up). pic.twitter.com/ruz69x13d1— Chicago Cubs (@Cubs) February 19, 2020
What this would do to the rest of the Cubs' lineup is going to be interesting. Bryant primarily batted second or third last year. Putting him at leadoff could separate him from Rizzo and Javy Baez in the middle of the lineup. Ross could also continue to change things up and put Baez or Rizzo second to keep the team's best three hitters back-to-back-to-back in the order.
Ross hasn't even managed a spring training game yet, but this could be his first big change. With the first spring training game coming up on Saturday, we should get a clue as to how Ross plans to send the team out. Suddenly the batting order is something to keep an eye on.