The time is finally here, the weather is warming up and the MLB pros have dropped their winter gloves, and picked up baseball mitts. For every Cubs fans alive, this season is a first. It is the first time we get to call our team the”Lovable WINNERS” and watch as they try and defend the title. While a few key players have made their exits, most namely the beloved Dexter Fowler, the team is largely the same. In this article, I am going to make my prediction on Joe’s main lineup and positions. Speculations are the line-up created by the complex mind of Maddon will remain the same, with the highlight being what happens at second base.
Here is my prediction for the starting line-up opening day:
Kyle Schwarber LF/Jon Jay CF/Kris Bryant 3B/Anthony Rizzo 1B/Willson Contreras C/Javier Baez 2B/Jason Heyward RF/PITCHER/Addison Russell
The key arguments most of you will have with me about these predictions are Kyle Schwarber hitting lead-off, and Ben Zobrist coming off the bench. To quickly shut down any arguments regarding Schwarber, Maddon made the statement already that Kyle will be the lead-off hitter come opening day. Stating his main reason as Kyle’s ability to generate the most run production by himself. The second topic however, is one for wide debate. Some may argue Ben is coming off his most successful seasons, the former Playoffs MVP will be near impossible to sit come opening day, however, the question always rises: “What about Javy?” Javier Baez is an electric player. Everybody knows that and everyone knows his potential as an all-star second basemen.
“Zobi-Wan-Kenobi” is getting old and Cub fans knows we will need his clutch factor come playoffs. In order to prevent injury risk, I have a strong urge to believe he will have less innings than Baez. However, it is going to be outstanding to have this wealth of utility just like the previous championship winning season.
The other line-up predictions are about on-par with what everyone is currently thinking. We know Heyward has an improved swing, but it needs to be proven in the regular season games before he can earn back his former second spot in the order. Keeping him down at seven gives the team more security on the top of the line-up, and a potential all-star starting the season down in the order. In reality,this lineup is stacked. Jon Jay has always been a solid bat, and Joe knows keeping a speedy vet in the top of the order will only do the team positives.
With these points being addressed, the line-up predictions are as complete as they can be. Keep in mind these predictions are exactly that, predictions. The mind of Joe Maddon is as complex as the question: “What is the internet?” It will be exciting to see what the championship defenders put on the field come April.
That’s all for this topic, I hope to address more about the “boys in blue” soon.
You can follow Matthew DeWitte on Twitter: @matthewdewitte_