Every time Joe Maddon does something weird like batting the pitcher eighth or someone else in the organization plays around with the idea that Schwarber could be hitting leadoff next year, I have a moment of thoughtlessness. It’s an epiphany-like state of mind where I’m thinking, “yeah, that makes complete sense.” It’s almost to the point where I feel like calling this group a bunch of geniuses is incorrect. They seem to just be doing what makes the most sense.
Obviously, this is partly because they’ve earned the trust of every Cubs fan. That’ll happen when you win a Championship after the franchise had been on an extended cold streak. It also comes from the fact that they don’t do things by the old baseball book that the old baseball men read every night before they go to bed. Kyle Schwarber is basically the opposite of what a leadoff hitter looks like. He doesn’t have speed and isn’t just a contact guy. What he does do is work counts as well as Kris Bryant, meaning the starting pitcher is going to throw more pitches. Oh, and he hits bombs. Bombs are cool.
This is just another thing that makes sense. Why wouldn’t you have the guy who sees the most pitches bat leadoff? I hit leadoff for my men’s league team this past summer because it’s pretty much impossible to strike me out, and we would’ve won the ‘ship if our dumbass shortstop didn’t break his foot playing in an overnight softball tournament. I’m slow as hell, but it didn’t matter. It’s not like teams steal bases anymore, and if you’re upset about that then you don’t know what math is. Only in certain scenarios, and only with the probabilities of success being high enough, is a steal attempt worth it. Give me a slugger who takes pitches at the top of the order. Give me bombs over bags in my leadoff spot. That should be a t-shirt.