The debate over who should leadoff for the Cubs has been a topic of conversation in Cubs Nation since Dexter Fowler left to play for the rival St. Louis Cardinals after the historic 2016 season.  Since then manager Joe Maddon has tried to fill the hole with a variety of players including Anthony Rizzo and Kyle Schwarber but the search has been largely unsuccessful.

I have been talking with several of my closest Cubs fan friends over the past few days trying to gauge an overall opinion about who should fill the leadoff spot.  The general consensus is that either Kris Bryant or Anthony Rizzo should leadoff, with Bryant edging out Rizzo by the smallest of margins.  I disagree.  While I agree that both Bryant and Rizzo have done a good job stepping in to the role, it is hard for me to see either one of those players being a long-term solution to the leadoff problem.  Considering their numbers and their hitting styles, both players seem to be better suited hitting further down in the lineup.  Exactly where is a blog for another day.  So, if neither Bryant or Rizzo are leading off, then who?  Drum roll please….the Cubs leadoff man should be:  Willson Contreras.

Now that you’ve had a minute to let that sink in; let me make my case.  If you look over the numbers for Contreras, you can make a strong case that he would be the spark that the Cubs need in the leadoff spot.  First, if you look at his numbers he has the makings of a decent leadoff man.  In 2017 his OBP (On Base Percentage) was a solid .356 while drawing 45 walks with 98 strikeouts in 377 at-bats.  Before you work yourself up too much, I concede that those aren’t great numbers, but I did say he had the makings of a decent leadoff man, not a great one.  Second, (and this may be the most important) it is undeniable that Contreras has the passion that good leadoff hitters need to motivate their teammates.  That’s something that is hard to teach, and Contreras has it in spades.  With all the young talent on the roster, Madden should embrace the enthusiasm Contreras has for the game and allow it to lead, not only on the field, but in the club house.

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