No other player has been under more scrutiny during the Cubs rough start than Kyle Schwarber. The 2016 World Series hero was poised to take Chicago by storm going into the 2017 season and had every single Cubs fan foaming at the mouth with the thought they’d finally get to see him play a full season with the club and continue to murder baseballs like we’ve become so accustomed to.
What gave Cubs fans an even bigger baseball boner was the fact that Joe Maddon announced mid-February that the burly left fielder would be hitting leadoff for one of the most dangerous offenses in Major League baseball.
And Cubs fans lost their shit.
Going against all conventional wisdom, Maddon would put a 235-pound former high school linebacker at the top of his lineup but despite his lack of speed and “looking” like most leadoff hitters, Schwarber’s high OBP paired with the fact he has the potential to hit a bomb in every at-bat was too much for Maddon to pass up.
Maddon’s theory was simple regarding the move to the leadoff spot for Schwarber and centered around the idea of Schwarber protecting the hitters behind him because Maddon sees him as one of the team’s better hitters.
“There’s pause involved there, because if you don’t want to pitch to him, then the guys coming up behind are really pretty interesting. It’s formidable, so it’s uncomfortable from the other side.”
While the theory of using Schwarber as a leadoff to get more at-bats and protect the sluggers behind him is a great idea on paper, the theory is falling apart in practice.
With the Cubs sitting at 18-19 as of today, the media is losing their mind trying to analyze every single aspect of the Cubs playing below .500 baseball. At the forefront of the issues is whether or not Kyle Schwarber should stay in the one-hole moving forward in the 2017 season.
I’ll lay out the basic arguments for both sides and eventually give my insight as to what should happen with Schwarber.