Without Dexter Fowler to hold down the spot in 2016, the Cubs could turn to a newcomer to bat leadoff this season.
Manager Joe Maddon said Friday that he’s considering both Jason Heyward and Ben Zobrist at the top of the lineup.
“I have not written anything down in pen whatsoever,” Maddon told MLB.com.
“I know ‘Zo’ is comfortable with it. I’ve got to hear Jason’s feelings about it and work it from there. We need to decide on No. 1 and everything will flow after that.”
But if past statements are any indication, Heyward might not be a huge fan of the idea.
The outfielder told The St. Louis Post Dispatch last year that he prefers not to bat leadoff. He doesn’t lack experience though. Heyward has been penciled into the top spot in the order 126 times during his six-year career, compiling a slash line of .280/.354/.427.
And despite his preference, Heyward’s best numbers have actually come as a leadoff hitter. Of the four spots in the order in which he’s played at least 100 games, his .280 average is his best, followed by .269 in the five hole, .259 when batting third and .251 in the second spot.
His on-base and slugging percentage are also best when batting leadoff.
Zobrist has batted first in 134 games, compiling a .241 average – by far his lowest of any spot in which he’s played at least 100 games.
Stats via Baseball-Reference