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Thursday, February 20, 2020

Cubs’ David Ross to use slugger Kris Bryant as leadoff man

MESA, Ariz.—New Chicago Cubs manager David Ross wasted no time in making his first big decision, announcing Kris Bryant as his leadoff man even before playing a game.

“You’ll see him at the top of the order a whole lot in spring training,” Ross said Wednesday. “Kris Bryant is a really good at-bat, gets on base, is probably one of our best baserunners. His baseball IQ is extremely high. When you talk about putting the best players at the top of the order, I want to put him at the top.”’

Bryant is on board, having hit leadoff in college after teams stopped pitching to him in the middle of the University of San Diego order.

The Cubs ranked last in the majors in on-base percentage (.294) from the No. 1 spot last season, after ranking first in the National League in 2018. Ross intends to give Bryant, who has a career .385 OBP, a long leash.

Any thoughts on this move?

 

QLE Posted: February 20, 2020 at 12:39 AM | 12 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: david ross, kris bryant, leadoff hitter

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   1. Walt Davis Posted: February 20, 2020 at 04:19 PM (#5925721)
Are we sure he means the leadoff spot and not #2? Anyway -- fine. Brian Downing was a leadoff hitter in 594 starts in his career including two seasons when he was the main leadoff hitter so it ain't nothing new.

Not sure what it means for the rest of the lineup -- KB, KS, Rizzo, Contreras, Javy, ugh, ugh, ugh. OK, I guess the 3 ughs mean it doesn't matter much what the rest of the lineup looks like. Hey Dodgers, I don't suppose you'd like to give us Pederson and Stripling for nothing would you?
   2. Itchy Row Posted: February 20, 2020 at 04:45 PM (#5925725)
Cubs slugger Kris Bryant still getting used to batting leadoff

That article was written after the last time he hit leadoff. It sounds like he didn't like it that much.
   3. bbmck Posted: February 20, 2020 at 04:54 PM (#5925728)
30+ HR from the leadoff spot in a season:

1970 - Tommy Harper 31
1973 - Bobby Bonds 35
1976 - Rick Monday 31
1996 - Brady Anderson 35
1997 - Nomar Garciaparra 30

2002, 2003, 2006, 2007 - Alfonso Soriano 38, 35, 39, 33
2007 - Jimmy Rollins 30
2008 - Grady Sizemore 33, Hanley Ramirez 32
2011 - Ian Kinsler 32
2012 - Mike Trout 30

2017 - Charlie Blackmon 37, Brian Dozier 34, George Springer 34
2018 - Francisco Lindor 37, Mookie Betts 32, Matt Carpenter 30
2019 - George Springer 39, Ronald Acuna Jr 34, Joc Pederson 33, Francisco Lindor 32, Max Kepler 32, Marcus Semien 31

Seasons with a record number of team games with a HR from the leadoff spot so counting multi-HR games the same as single HR games:

1930 - 110
1937 - 129
1950 - 151
1955 - 160
1962 - 206

1965 - 226
1969 - 229
1970 - 292
1986 - 328
1987 - 385

1999 - 396
2000 - 410
2004 - 419
2006 & 2007 - 421
2008 - 435

2016 - 536
2017 - 604
(2018 - 597)
2019 - 727

Pretty sure the starter and a PH/replacement both hitting a HR would count as 2 games, 2001 has 19 subs hitting a HR in the leadoff spot the most in any season.
   4. Moses Taylor, glorified meat shield Posted: February 20, 2020 at 05:49 PM (#5925738)
Are we sure he means the leadoff spot and not #2?

Yes, leadoff. He's also said Rizzo is likely gonna hit 2nd.

So I'd guess it goes: KB, Rizzo, Javy, Schwarber, Contreras, etc (I'm predicting Nico starts at AAA since he skipped it before and he's probably not ready, so 2b will be a Bote/Kipnis platoon, RF will likely be a Heyward/Souza platoon, and Happ will be main CF with Almora getting spot starts, with the batting order going mainly in that order 6-8). Ross is also talking about not messing with the order too much, so much less unpredictability this year.

That article was written after the last time he hit leadoff. It sounds like he didn't like it that much.

Bryant's on board with it this time, sounds like he may have even asked about it before Ross asked him.
   5. Walt Davis Posted: February 21, 2020 at 01:24 AM (#5925783)
KB, Rizzo, Javy, Schwarber, Contreras,

Not that you're wrong (and I'm generally fine with this) but as somebody clever here noted, the new 3-batter rule reduces the benefit of R-L-R-L lineup construction since there are no longer LOOGys to neutralize. Rizzo is a "traditiona" #3 hitter ... but fine with me if Ross goes away from that.

I've long noted that, per The Book's rules, Soriano would seem the near-perfect (realistic) #3 hitter. They noted that the #3 spot has more PA with 2 outs and nobody on than any other, mainly in the first inning of course. So what you wanted in the #3 spot was a guy who would create his own offense while not "wasting" a high OBP. Soriano was a guy who to a great extent homered or doubled (scoring position) and, when he did reach 1st, could steal second (and getting thrown out has less cost with 2 outs already). Javy of course is that sort of player too although probably not the base stealer Soriano was. And the Ks don't matter with two outs either. What I'm not sure the Book fully considered is whether such a batter in the middle of your best hitters did more harm than good in the other PAs.
   6. Due to the leadership of Zonk... Posted: February 21, 2020 at 10:11 AM (#5925825)
(I'm predicting Nico starts at AAA since he skipped it before and he's probably not ready, so 2b will be a Bote/Kipnis platoon, RF will likely be a Heyward/Souza platoon, and Happ will be main CF with Almora getting spot starts, with the batting order going mainly in that order 6-8)


Assuming that the reclamations: Souza and Kipnis - both make the team, I think Hoerner starts the year at AAA simply because there won't be room for him and he's got options.

Hoerner's only real chance of breaking north would be the Cubs cutting bait on Descalso and even then, he'd probably need an injury somewhere this spring.

   7. Moses Taylor, glorified meat shield Posted: February 21, 2020 at 11:52 AM (#5925861)
somebody clever here noted, the new 3-batter rule reduces the benefit of R-L-R-L lineup construction since there are no longer LOOGys to neutralize.

Does it? I would guess the opposite, as it would make it harder for managers to get lefty pitchers in against your lefty batters without them also having to face a righty (end of innings being the big exception).

Assuming that the reclamations: Souza and Kipnis - both make the team, I think Hoerner starts the year at AAA simply because there won't be room for him and he's got options.

I'd be surprised if Souza didn't make it - he has a major league deal and there really isn't another OF in the org that realistically has a chance to win the 4th/5th (depending on how you feel about Almora) OF job.

I tend to think Kipnis should make the team, and will, but it should probably be at the expense of Descalso. The one thing working for Nico making the team is that none of those other IFs can also play SS (Bote can, in a pinch, but I don't think you really want to ever start him at SS).
   8. Due to the leadership of Zonk... Posted: February 21, 2020 at 12:10 PM (#5925871)
I think another big bench question is whether they go with just Caratini as the backup C -- or -- if they want a "true" backup C with the idea that Caratini will also be the primary PH bat plus do some double-switch time at 1B, etc.

I think he finally showed enough with the bat last year that I wouldn't want him to be continually stashed on his non-start days out of fear of losing the backup C.

That said - Amaya is the only other catcher on the 40-man, and he's obviously not breaking north. The only NRI with major league experience is Josh Phegley. Jhonny Paredes is a nifty defender, but he's only 23-24 and likely ticketed for Iowa... The Cubs also have Taylor Davis v2.0 in PJ Higgins.

So my guess is that Vic and Willy are the only two catchers... but we'll see what happens with Phegley.

EDIT: I forgot Schwarbs.... so I guess if you figure Schwarbs can still suit up in an emergency, there's less a fear of shackling Caratini to the bench.
   9. Charles S. is not doing chainsaw bears any more Posted: February 21, 2020 at 03:30 PM (#5925931)
Assuming Hoerner to the minors then the 13 (remember this year it's 13) position players would be
C: Willy and Vic
IF: Riz, Javy, KB, Bote, Kipnis, H. Perez or Descalso
OF: J-Hey, Schwarber, Souza, Happ, Almora

So yeah, you've got to lose two guys to find room for Hoerner.
   10. Barry`s_Lazy_Boy Posted: February 21, 2020 at 04:01 PM (#5925938)
I'm completely in favor of getting your best hitters the most PA. I love love love love Bryzzo at the top of the order.

I also agree that the 3 hole is the best use of Javy's skill set and would love: Bryzzo, Javy, Schwarber, Contreras.
   11. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: February 21, 2020 at 04:09 PM (#5925940)
I'm completely in favor of getting your best hitters the most PA. I love love love love Bryzzo at the top of the order.

I also agree that the 3 hole is the best use of Javy's skill set and would love: Bryzzo, Javy, Schwarber, Contreras.


Do the Cubs not have a high OBP, low SLG hitter? I hate to have my two best hitters coming up after the pitcher.
   12. Pops Freshenmeyer Posted: February 21, 2020 at 05:03 PM (#5925952)
I think another big bench question is whether they go with just Caratini as the backup C -- or -- if they want a "true" backup C with the idea that Caratini will also be the primary PH bat plus do some double-switch time at 1B, etc.

I think they want Caratini ready to take over the starting job in case Willson is converted to lottery tickets and anti-salary.

Do the Cubs not have a high OBP, low SLG hitter?

Heyward kind of fits that bill but there's no reason to give him the extra PAs of hitting at the top of the order. David Bote might also be that guy but kind of has the same central issue as Heyward.

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