One of the biggest storylines in the Chicago Cubs 2017 season was the inconsistency at the top of the order at the leadoff position. We saw a platoon of players take their shot at the top of the lineup including both Anthony Rizzo and Kyle Schwarber.
As we enter 2018, the same question remains.
The Cubs are opening their Spring Training schedule on Friday against the Milwaukee Brewers and Joe Maddon doesn’t plan on revealing who will leadoff during any of these games in the next month. While a player like Ben Zobrist makes sense at the top of the order if he stays healthy, one player is volunteering to take over the job.
Outfielder Albert Almora Jr. has thrown his name into the ring. The 23-year-old center fielder failed to grab a hold of the center field position, splitting time with Jon Jay and even Ian Happ last season. Batting at the top of the lineup would require more playing time for the young player.
According to writer Bruce Levine, he’s fine with that.
“That would be fine,” Almora said via Bruce Levine. “We have great players I can lean on for intel if that happens to be the case. We have a great coaching staff as well that I can get a lot of help from. I have done it. I have done it in the past. I did it a couple of times last year. It is about learning, seeing some pitches to start the game off right and just play our game.”
Since receiving the call-up in Mid-2016, Almora has a .330 OBP and a .292 batting average. He has a .898 OPS against lefties and .711 OPS against righties in his short career, showing some positive signs of becoming a solid everyday player.