Coming into Spring Training, the Cubs had a big question to address…Who was going to be the leadoff hitter for the 2018 Chicago Cubs?  With only a few days to go prior to Opening Day, that question now seems to have an answer.  Manager Joe Maddon recently confirmed that Ian Happ will be the primary leadoff hitter for the Cubs in 2018.  It is also expected that Albert Almora and Ben Zobrist will see some time at the top of the order for the Cubs.  With Maddon’s strategy of rotating players, it is likely that each of those players will have their opportunity to shine in the leadoff spot this year.

As far as Happ is concerned, he let it be known this spring that he wanted the leadoff job.  He then proceeded to go out onto the field and earn the job.  Happ has smacked 5 leadoff home runs (7 in total) and hit a very nice .323 in 17 games so far this spring.  In addition to his offensive numbers, the young switch hitter has played more than adequately in center field as well.

However, as baseball fans know all too well, Spring Training numbers don’t necessarily translate into regular season results.  Last year, despite having a successful rookie season, hitting 24 home runs in just 117 games, Ian Happ showed some holes in his game.  In 2017, Happ hit just .253 while striking out 129 times and posting a .328 OBP.  He also walked just 39 times, and at times, seemed lost at the plate.  The last thing that the Cubs organization want to see is a repeat of the Kyle Schwarber leadoff situation from 2017.  While that is a possibility, it is highly unlikely.  With Happ, the Cubs aren’t trying to put a square peg into a round hole like they did with Schwarber.  Happ has made it clear that this is what he wants.  Now that he has the opportunity, he simply has to go out on the field and prove that he deserves it.


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