Kyle Schwarber was demoted from the leadoff spot to second in the batting order, then when that didn’t work, he batted seventh Friday — and didn’t do well there either, striking out twice.
Ben Zobrist took over that spot, most of the time anyway, and wasn’t all that great there either. Overall Zobrist is hitting .l244/.340/.561 (10-for-41) with three homers. The numbers aren’t bad, but the .340 OBP isn’t good enough, I don’t think. Small sample sizes apply here, of course.
The leadoff spot has gone to the following players, through Friday:
35 games: Kyle Schwarber
11 games: Ben Zobrist
3 games: Jon Jay
2 games: Javier Baez
1 game: Matt Szczur
1 game: Ian Happ
I suppose now that Joe has placed Happ in the leadoff spot, he could be inclined to leave him there for a bit. Happ went 1-for-4 Friday, a bloop double into left field. Since his strong starr, Happ’s numbers have declined as the league adjusts to him. Can he make his own adjustments at the big-league level or would he benefit from more Triple -A time?
Joe seems reluctant to play Jon Jay much at all. Jay has started just 20 of the Cubs’ 53 games, despite a lifetime OBP of .353 and some success career-wise in the leadoff spot (.341 OBP). This year Jay has a .379 OBP in limited duty (26-for-89 with 10 walks). As a leadoff hitter this year in those three games, Jay is 2-for-12 with a walk, really too small of a sample size to make any judgmenta.
I was a bit surprised Friday when Jay stayed in the game after pinch-hitting. Jay is a very good defensive center fielder and Happ is fairly new to the position. Yet Maddon left Happ in center field and put Jay in left; I thought he might move Happ to second base (his natural position), put Zobrist in left and Jay in center field.
Why not give Jay a few starts, and put him in the leadoff spot? Admittedly, this isn’t a no-brainer, but it couldn’t hurt and just might give the Cubs that leadoff boost they need.