Going into the 2017 season, the Chicago Cubs biggest question mark was who was going to replace Dexter Fowler at the top of the order. Well, six weeks into the season that question appears to be unanswered.
Left Fielder Kyle Schwarber has struggled adjusting to his new role atop the Cubs lineup. Through 35 games he has a .179 average with 5 HR and 14 RBIs to go along with a .313 On-Base Percentage.
These numbers suggest that maybe it is time that Schwarber be moved down in the order. Although he has been drawing his walks, he does not make enough contact to be hitting in the leadoff spot. So far in 2017, it looks like he is looking for walks and trying to work the count, instead of being aggressive and attacking good pitches to hit. Allowing the opposing team to get two strikes on him early in the count makes him easier to pitch to.
Inconsistency at the top of the order has led to inconsistency throughout the Cubs whole lineup, which explains their 18-19 record so far in 2017. Moving Schwarber down might just help the whole team relax and calm down, which might allow them to perform the way they all did during the Cubs World Series run last year. Centerfielders Albert Almora, Jr. and Jon Jay make contact more often, therefore seeming like better options in the leadoff spot than Schwarber.
Luckily for Chicago, they are only 3.5 games behind the 1st place Cardinals in the National League Central, despite their overall struggles. There is still plenty of time to turn around their season, but that turnaround won’t happen until Kyle Schwarber is taken out of the leadoff spot.