Projecting the 2023 Cubs lineup after offseason additions
The Cubs have experienced a lineup shakeup this winter as Jed Hoyer’s front office has built up the roster.
Gone are Willson Contreras, Franmil Reyes, Rafael Ortega and Alfonso Rivas.
In their place, the Cubs signed catcher Tucker Barnhart, shortstop Dansby Swanson, center fielder Cody Bellinger and have reportedly agreed to a deal with first baseman Eric Hosmer.
With the new players in the mix, there are still plenty of questions left to answer. First and foremost: Who hits leadoff?
A trio of Marquee Sports Network analysts tried our hand at projecting what David Ross’ Opening Day lineup might look like. While the trio had the same 2-through-6 in the Cubs order, all three had different leadoff hitters.
Ryan Dempster’s projected lineup:
“You look at the depth,” Dempster said on Cubs 360. “With Happer moving to the left side, you can go righty-lefty-righty-lefty-righty-lefty. That disrupts pitching. When you can’t get locked in on one side of the plate as a pitcher and you’re constantly bouncing back and forth. There’s experience there, there’s professional at-bats there in Hosmer and Barnhart and then you have Christopher Morel in the 9-hole and teams and managers nowadays value that almost as another leadoff guy.
“You’ve just pushed the depth down, you’ve added more pop — guys that could hit the ball out of the ballpark. And I’ll tell you what else they did and this doesn’t really get thrown at the top of the radar — baserunning.”
For more on Dempster’s rationale, check out the video above.
Tony Andracki’s projected lineup:
Hosmer atop the lineup is an unconventional call given he has never hit leadoff in his MLB career. But he has a .336 on-base percentage in those 12 seasons and since the Cubs don’t have a surefire option to lead off, Hosmer could represent an outside-the-box choice.
Hoerner is at his best hitting lower in the lineup, as evidenced by his exceptional numbers with runners in scoring position (.330 AVG, .855 OPS). He’s even better with 2 outs and runners in scoring position (.392 AVG, .970 OPS) and is the perfect guy to follow up a heart of the order (Swanson, Happ, Suzuki, Bellinger) that should get on a base a healthy amount.
Andy Martinez’s projected lineup:
Madrigal isn’t the prototypical designated hitter but with Swanson and Hoerner manning the middle of the infield, there isn’t much room left for Madrigal. However, the 25-year-old boasts a career .287 AVG and .340 OBP out of the leadoff spot and could emerge as a tablesetter for the Cubs when he’s in the lineup.
For more on Andracki and Martinez’s rationale, check out the latest Cubs Weekly Podcast: