The Chicago Cubs Opening Day lineup screening originally appeared on NBC Sports Chicago
The Chicago Cubs will be a very different team when they win the diamond this spring, but it’s never too early to wonder what their roster will look like on Opening Day.
Who will be the first batter? Who will start at third base? Where will star signing Dansby Swanson fit in?
Here’s our best guess of David Ross’ roster when the Cubs take on the Milwaukee Brewers at Wrigley Field on March 30.
Nico Hoerner 2B
If there’s one player who can make contact in any situation, it’s Hoerner, and he may be the Cubs’ best option to lead off at this point. He posted a .327 on-base percentage and struck out just 57 times in 481 at-bats. He also walked 28 and stole 20 while hitting .281, making him a strong option at the top of the roster.
The Cubs signed Dansby Swanson with the idea of firing Hoerner at second base, but no one would be shocked if he was ruled at third base with the question marks surrounding that position for the team.
Dansby Swanson SS
The Cubs needed a jolt of offense added to their roster, and they’re hoping Swanson can provide it, as he would have tied for the team lead in homers, led the team easily in points produced and finished with the second best batting average. on the 2022 version of the club.
Having Swanson and Happ in the middle of the order should be a big boost for the Cubs.
Ian Happ LF
Happ is coming off arguably the most complete season he’s had in his career, making the All-Star Game for the first time while going down .271/.342/.440 for the Cubs. He hit 17 homers, and while that was well below his career high, he increased his batting average by 45 runs and even slightly increased his slugging percentage.
Patrick Wisdom DH
On a team struggling for power, you have to find a place for wisdom in the lineup, and the designated hitter seems like a great choice. He posted nearly .300 on-base percentage with 53 walks to his name, but he had 183 outs while hitting 25 home runs for the Cubs.
Seiya Suzuki RF
Suzuki was slow to adjust to big-league pitching last year, but he kept production relatively steady across his splits in the first and second half. His .336 on-base percentage was the Cubs’ third among skilled hitters.
Trey Mancini 1B
Yes, Mancini struggled a lot with the Houston Astros last season, but he still managed to hit 18 homers and drive 63 RBIs in 519 at-bats. He also posted a .319 on-base percentage even with his plate difficulties, and he walked 53.
There’s no candy: Bellinger had a tough season at the plate in 2022, with his 19 homers more than offset by his paltry .210 batting average and the 150 strikeouts he racked up in just 504 batting attendance.
That being said, his glove makes him a worthy inclusion in the roster, and the Cubs hope they can help Bellinger get back to the form that made him the 2019 National League MVP.
Zach McKinstry 3B
There are at least four different options at third base right now for the Cubs, but we’re going to give McKinstry the narrow advantage right now because of his glove. His .206 batting average and .272 on-base percentage are definitely not going to turn heads, but compared to some of the other options, he might have the edge over Christopher Morel and Nick Madrigal.
Tucker Barnhart C
The Cubs have really focused on defense with their offseason signings, and Barnhart definitely qualifies. His .221 batting average and .287 on-base percentage won’t always blow anyone away, and considering he had one home run last season, compared to the 22 that Willson Contreras has. implemented, this will not be the case. the strongest offensive position on the diamond for the Cubs.
The Cubs could easily decide to start Christopher Morel or Nick Madrigal at third base, and Eric Hosmer could slot in at first base depending on the matchup, but the defensive lineup is pretty much set for Game 1 of the season.
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