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Kyle Schwarber: leadoff hitter

Connor Walsh, Co-Sports Editor

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    At six feet, 235 pounds, Kyle Schwarber has the build of an NFL linebacker, not a Major League baseball player.  With his build, you would expect him to be hitting in the middle of the Cubs order, and probably the last person you would imagine to be leading off a ballgame.  But with the departure of Dexter Fowler, the Cubs had a gaping hole at the top of their lineup, and in steps Schwarber.

     Only in his third year in the pros, Schwarber has already become a legend in Chicago.  He is already the Cubs all time leader in postseason home runs, proving that he is one of the most clutch hitters in the league.  Of course, he is most known for his epic comeback last season.  In only the second game of the year, he tore his ACL after colliding with Fowler in the outfield.  Everyone thought that he was out for the season, but Schwarber was dead set on coming back.  He was cleared by doctors to play in the World Series, where he shined.

     Joe Maddon has always been unorthodox with his lineup decisions, but even this came as a surprise.  Maddon wanted someone who had a high on base percentage in the top spot, and Schwarber fit the bill.  Most people expected it to be Ben Zobrist or Jason Heyward, but Maddon favored Schwarber.  

     While Maddon wanted him to lead off, he also wanted Schwarber to hit with runners on base.  In order to get a guy on, he has decided to hit his pitcher eighth.  He has used Javier Baez, Jon Jay, and Albert Almora Jr. in the nine spot, and so far this season it looks like it is working.  Schwarber has driven in eight runs already, much more than the average leadoff hitter.  While his batting average isn’t as high as the prototypical leadoff hitters would be at .232, his on base percentage is well above average at .368.  He has also showed off his power with three home runs to his credit.  

     The Cubs have found success with him at the top of the lineup, as they sit in second place in the NL Central, one game behind the division leading Reds.  They are looking to pass them up this weekend, as they open up a three game series against them starting Friday.  #FlyTheW

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Kyle Schwarber: leadoff hitter