Is it wrong to think Alfonso Soriano should be the Cubs leadoff hitter?
“Don’t be surprised if Alfonso Soriano ends up in the leadoff spot this season. It won’t happen anytime soon, or necessarily come as a permanent change, but dire circumstances could place Soriano atop the Cubs order once again.”
Dale Sveum is desperate to shake-up his rag-tag offense that’s gone cold during this seven-game losing streak and now ranks 14/16 for runs scored in the National League.
Soriano, however, is one of the few Cubs producing at the plate, hitting .353, 2 HR, 4 RBI during the recent homestand, but is still hitting nowhere near what you expect from a true cleanup hitter.
“This isn’t the end of the world, folks. We know Soriano isn’t the answer at cleanup for the long haul, maybe not even through May.”
Granted Soriano is playing on one healthy leg and can’t steal bases the way Sveum wants to, but Soriano could easily transition to the leadoff role, and by all accounts, would welcome the move.
That’s not to take anything away from David DeJesus. His .367 OBP ranks third in the NL among leadoff hitters. But lately DeJesus is showing signs he could hit effectively lower in the order.
Over the last 11 games DeJesus is batting an even .400. He’s reached base safely in 14 of his last 17 games, and is tied with Soriano for the team lead in extra base hits (9) this month.
Although Bryan LaHair is in the midst of a 1-for-19 slump, he’s still the best power threat and ideal candidate to bat cleanup.
Starlin Castro’s knack for getting hits, but lack of power, makes him an ideal No.2 hitter.
What about Tony Campana?
No denying Campana’s played well since his callup. But he’s fallen back to earth the past several weeks after a red-hot start.
After stealing seven bases through his first nine games, Campana’s swiped just four bags over his last 19 contests.
Campana’s inability to consistently get on base has plummeted his average 64-points since the end of April, including his recent 3-for-16 stretch.
I’m not saying Campana isn’t deserving of a lineup spot, but I’d like him better batting eighth.
Meanwhile, the Cubs organization appears firm on the idea Anthony Rizzo will be summoned from Triple-A Iowa only when he’s deemed ready for the show–and that still might be weeks away.
Sveum has but few options in the midterm to concoct a slump-busting lineup, and moving Soriano to the leadoff spot shouldn’t be dismissed.