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Wednesday, December 13, 2017

If Kyle Schwarber goes anywhere could it be back to Cubs leadoff spot? – Chicago Sun-Times

More Schwarber talk.

Jim Furtado Posted: December 13, 2017 at 07:05 AM | 30 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: cubs, kyle schwarber

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   1. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: December 13, 2017 at 11:15 AM (#5591619)
I simply don't get this Schwarber lead-off fetish of Maddon's. The gut is slow, and hits for a lot of power. He projects to 240/339/467. That's a guy you bat 3rd or 5th, not 1st.
   2. Batman Posted: December 13, 2017 at 11:24 AM (#5591633)
It sounds like somebody asked "Could Schwarber hit leadoff this year?" and Maddon just said he would if they don't have anybody else who would fit better.
“I definitely will consider that once again, but I want to see who all the available candidates are first.”
   3. Captain Supporter Posted: December 13, 2017 at 11:29 AM (#5591635)
Schwarber does project to be a high OBP guy if he hits .270 or so.
   4. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: December 13, 2017 at 11:33 AM (#5591644)
Schwarber is just one of those guys that gets undue attention for every little thing, mostly no fault of his own. The Cubs probably overhyped him early on, then a bunch of storylines have continued to be shoved down everyone's throats out of proportion to his production.

   5. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: December 13, 2017 at 12:06 PM (#5591715)
Schwarber does project to be a high OBP guy if he hits .270 or so.

Right, but if he hits .270, his SLG% will be well over .500, and you'd want him up with baserunners more often. Leadoff in the NL is a real waste of a power hitter.
   6. JJ1986 Posted: December 13, 2017 at 12:16 PM (#5591732)
I'm sure they'll add another piece, but right now the Cubs leadoff choices look like Almora, Schwarber or Happ. Bryant, Rizzo and Contreras are the meat of the lineup and you want Russell-Heyward-Baez to be the 6-7-8.
   7. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: December 13, 2017 at 12:18 PM (#5591736)
With Bryant, Rizzo, and Contreras all better/projected to be better, you just have to pick someone to put there. As of yet, neither Russell or Baez have hit enough (and may never hit enough) to be above average OBP and worth hitting up there. The on paper ideal version of Heyward doesn't exist, but he'd profile as the best option there. Almora hasn't been a FT player, but he really doesn't walk much or take pitches. Zobrist probably isn't an every day player anymore. Only guy I haven't mentioned is Happ, and like a number of those guys, he probably doesn't play every day either.

You kind of end up on Schwarber by process of elimination, and then just realize you're probably overthinking it anyway.

I do agree with you though, and I'd probably just have it be whichever of Zobrist or Happ is starting that day, with either Almora or Baez getting it against a LHP (both of them have pretty big splits).
   8. PreservedFish Posted: December 13, 2017 at 12:18 PM (#5591738)
Didn't Maddon bat Carlos Pena leadoff a bunch too?

Looking at the Cubs ... you have obvious great hitters in Rizzo and Bryant for the heart of the lineup. Guys like Contreras and Happ of similar hitting quality and are no better suited to leadoff. Schwarber's a better hitter than Baez, Russell, Heyward and Almora.

Zobrist is the clear leadoff hitter for me, but he doesn't always start. Without Zobrist, if you're trying to get one of the better hitters into that spot, which you should be, you're choosing between Schwarber, Contreras and Happ probably. So who knows.
   9. PreservedFish Posted: December 13, 2017 at 12:19 PM (#5591741)
HIVEMIND
   10. Pops Freshenmeyer Posted: December 13, 2017 at 12:20 PM (#5591743)
I simply don't get this Schwarber lead-off fetish of Maddon's.

Fetish?

My theory is that Schwarber was put in the leadoff spot last year to try and get him away from being too pull happy. It didn't work, obviously.
   11. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: December 13, 2017 at 12:29 PM (#5591760)
I'm sure they'll add another piece,

Unless they trade one of Schwarber/Happ/Baez/Russell, I wouldn't expect any bat they add to be anyone that will be expected to play regularly (so not even Jay level). Maybe a backup IF type.
   12. This is going to be state of the art wall Posted: December 13, 2017 at 12:31 PM (#5591762)
Right, but if he hits .270, his SLG% will be well over .500, and you'd want him up with baserunners more often. Leadoff in the NL is a real waste of a power hitter.


I'm taking an under on an ISO of .230 for Schwarbs, let alone "well over".
   13. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: December 13, 2017 at 12:57 PM (#5591810)
His ISO was .256 last year (.306 in the 2nd half).
   14. This is going to be state of the art wall Posted: December 13, 2017 at 01:11 PM (#5591837)
Yea I'm wrong. Probably .260 is the over under. Dude swings for the fences. Didn't realize he was .241 in 2016.
   15. catomi01 Posted: December 13, 2017 at 01:14 PM (#5591842)
When you have a team full of good hitters, I would be really tempted to just bat them best 1st down to worst last, and just get the best guys as many AB's as possible - especially if there isn't a logical lead off hitter. Failing that, bat your two best 2/3 or 3/4 and throw the highest remaining OBP guy(s) 1 or 1/2.
   16. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: December 13, 2017 at 01:19 PM (#5591848)
When you have a team full of good hitters, I would be really tempted to just bat them best 1st down to worst last, and just get the best guys as many AB's as possible - especially if there isn't a logical lead off hitter. Failing that, bat your two best 2/3 or 3/4 and throw the highest remaining OBP guy(s) 1 or 1/2.

That's basically the theory/thought process that puts Schwarber at leadoff (Bryant/Rizzo 2/3 has been pretty consistent for Maddon the last 2 years), if you see Schwarber as a decent OBP guy.
   17. catomi01 Posted: December 13, 2017 at 01:30 PM (#5591869)
And it makes a certain amount of sense - as long as he's hitting. And really, isn't Joe Maddon known for using more lineups and defensive alignments than most managers...until and unless someone stands out, chances are there will be a different leadoff hitter every other game. So mixing and matching between the guys cited seems like a decent enough strategy depending on who's hot at any given time.
   18. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: December 13, 2017 at 01:35 PM (#5591877)
Yep. Just about everyone hit leadoff once last year, except Bryant. Rizzo as leadoff hitter was a really fun couple of weeks.

Previous 2 years it was pretty much always Fowler though.
   19. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: December 13, 2017 at 01:51 PM (#5591895)
Why isn't Heyward the obvious leadoff hitter, when Zobrist isn't in the lineup? His OBP is still fine, he's just completely lost his power.
   20. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: December 13, 2017 at 02:00 PM (#5591906)
Why isn't Heyward the obvious leadoff hitter, when Zobrist isn't in the lineup? His OBP is still fine, he's just completely lost his power.

If anything you post here somehow sends vibrations out into the universe that results in more at-bats by Heyward, I will personally hunt you down.
   21. RJ in TO Posted: December 13, 2017 at 02:40 PM (#5591958)
Why isn't Heyward the obvious leadoff hitter, when Zobrist isn't in the lineup? His OBP is still fine, he's just completely lost his power.
A 0.326 OBP from a leadoff guy isn't fine. Even if you platoon him, against RHP his OBP is only 0.338, and it means you've got a guy ahead of your sluggers who you then have to PH for late in every game once the LOOGYs get busted out.
   22. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: December 13, 2017 at 02:50 PM (#5591968)
Why isn't Heyward the obvious leadoff hitter, when Zobrist isn't in the lineup? His OBP is still fine, he's just completely lost his power.

In addition to the points about Heyward's OBP (like I said above, the version of Heyward's bat the Cubs thought they were getting would be a nice leadoff option, but that guy doesn't exist), Zobrist's OBP last year was .318.

Schwarber in the first half was at .300 when he was demoted, he finished the year at .315 (so .335 in the 2nd half).

You're not making a convincing case.
   23. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: December 13, 2017 at 03:12 PM (#5591990)
A 0.326 OBP from a leadoff guy isn't fine. Even if you platoon him, against RHP his OBP is only 0.338, and it means you've got a guy ahead of your sluggers who you then have to PH for late in every game once the LOOGYs get busted out.


In addition to the points about Heyward's OBP (like I said above, the version of Heyward's bat the Cubs thought they were getting would be a nice leadoff option, but that guy doesn't exist), Zobrist's OBP last year was .318.


Per Steamer, Zobrist projects to a .353 OBP, Heyward .343, and Schwarber .339, while Scwarber projects to have 70 more pts. of SG than either.
   24. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: December 13, 2017 at 03:18 PM (#5591996)
Zobrist doesn't appear to have a regular position next year (Schwaber LF, Heyward RF, Baez 2B; plus Happ maybe should be ahead of him for all those spots too), and I'll be pleasantly surprised if he bounces back to that level but I'm not expecting it. That OBP for Heyward would be better than he's done so far with the Cubs, so also next expecting that either.
   25. Walt Davis Posted: December 13, 2017 at 03:52 PM (#5592023)
A league-average OBP in the leadoff spot is fine. Obviously it's not good much less the supposed ideal of a leadoff hitter, but that supposed ideal rarely exists. NL 2017 leadoff average was 270/337/424; I think non-P average was 259/337/452. A 326 OBP in the leadoff spot would be no big deal -- you're talking reaching base 7 fewer times per season, with probably no more than 2 of those coming when he was actually leading off an inning. As noted, the problem with Heyward leading off is not the OBP but the overall production and not wanting to maximize that guy's number of PAs. Alas, unless he bounces back, we have to say the same about Zobrist.

Almora should almost certainly lead off against LHP (unless we need him to bat 5th which we might). Happ has some speed and looks like the best choice against RHP when he plays. Granted there will be days when we've got Zo, Heyward, Baez and Russell in the lineup and just pick the best of the bad lot (probably Zo).

Of issues facing the Cubs, I'd put "who bats leadoff?" somewhere around 22nd. Granted, the first 12 are me screaming "Oh God, the bullpen! The bullpennnn!!!!"
   26. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: December 13, 2017 at 04:03 PM (#5592030)
Of issues facing the Cubs, I'd put "who bats leadoff?" somewhere around 22nd. Granted, the first 12 are me screaming "Oh God, the bullpen! The bullpennnn!!!!"

Which is pretty much exactly the same thing Theo said when he was asked about it.
   27. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: December 13, 2017 at 04:23 PM (#5592046)
that supposed ideal rarely exists

I hate that about ideals.
   28. Andere Richtingen Posted: December 13, 2017 at 05:35 PM (#5592103)
I don't mind the idea of Schwarber hitting leadoff, but I do mind the idea of him hitting .180 and hitting leadoff. If he can hit .250 his OBA should be pretty decent. And I like the fact that he sees a ton of pitches.
   29. Walt Davis Posted: December 14, 2017 at 06:00 PM (#5592918)
#27: I know. But sometimes comments here seem to suggest that guys with 350+ OBPs, some speed, not big power are pretty easy to come by and stick in the leadoff spot. Or at least "hey, this guy only has a league-average OBP, he shouldn't hit leadoff" comments are reasonably plentiful.

Last year there were 10 qualified batters with an OBP of 350 or better and a ISO of 150 or lower.

Posey -- not gonna bat him leadoff
Mauer -- maybe but no speed; #2 might be better
LeMahieu -- sure
Cesar Hernandez -- you got me
David Freese -- I had no idea; career OBP of 348
Cain -- lead him off
Markakis -- maybe but no speed
Headley -- why not
David Peralta -- I guess so
Inciarte -- lead him off

So looks to me like three obvious lead-off guys in LeMahieu, Cain and Inciarte and maybe two others in Peralta and Henandez. Possibly everybody here except Posey would be fine given their profile but few would consider Mauer, Markakis or Headley classic lead-off guys.

So for most teams, their choice is between an average OBP guy or a good OBP guy with power who should probably hit further down the lineup unless he's Rickey Henderson. Granted Schwarber as (probably) average OBP with power and no speed is a particularly unusual choice, but not because of the OBP.
   30. Infinite Yost (Voxter) Posted: December 15, 2017 at 12:58 AM (#5593065)
Didn't Maddon bat Carlos Pena leadoff a bunch too?


"A bunch" might be a stretch, but he batted leadoff in 10 games in 2012 and 3 more in 2013, for a total of 66 PAs. Maddon was the manager then. Pena's performance in that role was indifferent.

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