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Cubs’ Best Leadoff Man?

By bullpenbrian at 03.23.2011 5 comments.

I noticed something yesterday in my post about Who’s the Cubs’ best option at 2B? None of the three second base candidates—DeWitt, Baker or Barney–are ideal leadoff men.

This made me realize I overlooked the importance of finding a leadoff hitter on Jim Hendry’s offseason to-do list, which, included finding a first baseman, preferably a left-handed bat, signing a No.2 or No. 3 starting pitcher, and landing a quality bullpen arm.

I give Hendry credit for landing Carlos Pena, the left-handed hitting first baseman: Kerry Wood, the quality bullpen arm, and Matt Garza, a solid No.3 starter. But there’s still no sign of a true leadoff hitter on this club.

My likely leadoff candidates, outside the dreaded second base options, are Fukudome and Tyler Colvin. But neither really fit the mold of an ideal table setter.

Moreover, Starlin Castro is too much of a free swinger. Marlon Byrd thrived last season in the five-hole, and DeWitt, Baker & Barney combined for just 24 games leading off.  So are we really back to Soriano in the No.1 hole?

Here’s a quick breakdown of the Cubs leadoff hitters in 2010:
-Theroit: 56 games, Cubs record (29-27).
-Fukudome: 47 games, Cubs record (22-25).
-Colvin: 24 games, Cubs record (8-16).
-DeWitt: 13 games, Cubs record (8-5).
-Baker: 7 games, Cubs record (5-2).
-Byrd: 5 games, Cubs record (1-4).
-Barney: 4 games, Cubs record (1-3).
-Fuld: 4 games, Cubs record (2-2).
-Castro: 1 game, Cubs record (0-1).

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  1. GoCubbies says:

    I think Dewitt is the best option right now given his good obp. Either way, they aren’t going to break the curse with him in leadoff. Here’s a funny curse of the billy goat cartoon a friend sent me:


    Go Cubs!

  2. Aaron says:

    I am a lifelong Dodger fan and was really happy to see DeWitt go. He has potential, but it never materialized. If you make him your leadoff hitter, you will be lucky to beat out the Pirates in the NL Central this year :P

    • bullpenbrian says:

      Heaven help us if the Cubs don’t finish above Pittsburgh in the Central.
      I’ll go on the record right now saying I’ll lead the militia to burn Wrigleyville to the ground if that happens.

      More seriously, it seems the Cubs are beginning to learn what the Dodgers already knew, and what you pointed out about Blake DeWitt, as well.
      The guy’s full of potential but lacks in production. There’s a big difference, obviously.

      DeWitt is likely to start the season at Triple-A Iowa, which is where he belongs until he proves otherwise at the plate.
      It’s by no means DeWitt’s fault, I hope the guy proves us all wrong. But the Cubs trade of Lilly for DeWitt looks worse with his every spring at-bat.

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