Cubs' Ian Happ Remains Leadoff Man Despite New Options for David Ross

Happ remains leadoff man despite new options for Ross originally appeared on NBC Sports Chicago

We already know Joc Pederson is replacing Kyle Schwarber in left field, but there’s no plan right now for him to replace Ian Happ atop the Cubs lineup.

“In my mind’s eye right now, I still have Happer at the top,” Cubs manager David Ross said Tuesday.

The Cubs leadoff spot has been a revolving door since Dexter Fowler left as a free agent after the 2016 season. Kris Bryant began 2020 hitting first until he hit the injured list in August, with Happ taking over from then on.

Happ was one of the Cubs’ more consistent hitters last season before his numbers dipped during a September slump. He led off 37 times, hitting .239/.333/.486 in 162 plate appearances.

Ross said in December the leadoff job would be Happ’s “unless there's an acquisition that we make that would change anything, where you get a true, proven leadoff hitter.” Pederson certainly has experience hitting first, making 249 career starts there with the Dodgers while hitting .235/.325/.503 in 1,089 plate appearances.

However, Pederson also gives Ross several different lineup options, and the second-year manager wants to formulate a full plan for the order deeper into spring training. The Cubs' first full squad workout is this coming Monday. 

“There’s so many things that are unknown," Ross said. "I know we can look at the numbers and dive into these guys’ histories, but I really do try and give guys clean slates. Every year, for me, is unique, and I know it is as a player. 

“Everybody comes in with tweaks and adjustments they’ve made in the offseason. I’m just going to sit back and watch and see, have these conversations with these guys when they get here and form a plan and a lineup once we see how things are going to play out.”

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