MESA, Ariz. (CBS) — Kris Bryant will be the leadoff hitter for the Cubs, Manager David Ross announced Wednesday.
Bryant has only led off seven games in his career – all in 2018. But the Cubs had to try something new. Their leadoff hitters had the worst on-base percentage in all of baseball last year.
This continues an eventful start for Bryant, who goes from the center of trade rumors to the top of the lineup. But he seems to be all in to stop the revolving door in the No. 1 spot since Dexter Fowler left after the 2016 World Series championship season.
For his part, Nico Hoerner is just hoping for any spot in the lineup. The 22-year-old burst onto the scene last September, filling in well for the injured Javy Baez at second base.
That experience may help Hoerner in his fight for a roster spot, at a crowded position in Cubs camp.
“I don’t know if it changed my disposition, but it definitely made for a better offseason – just in that I was preparing for the season, knowing some things I already do well and then things I need to work on at a Major League level. I mean, I think if you keep the priority of, you know, winning baseball games and having that perspective over the entire season, hopefully your own work and the team’s vision for you kind of lines up,” Hoerner said.
He continued: “But yeah, there’s a lot of people playing second base right now, and good players, so I don’t know if I’ll be on the opening day roster, but my mindset’s more long-term with this team for sure.”
Meanwhile, Ross answered another question about what kind of manager he’ll be. At least early on, it sounds like the former catcher will have an emphasis on communication, and that will be especially true when it comes to pitchers and catchers.
“These guys know where I stand for sure. I make sure I speak to the players, let them know what I’m thinking – but pitching and catching is definitely my passion, and there’s some true belief, I think, to go along with the success. We’ve had a lot of success here in that area, so I’ll dive in, but I’m going to leave it to the coaches,” Ross said. “I talk to my coaches a lot about what I believe in; what we think; constantly collaborate with these guys so that the message is consistent.”