Cubs manager David Ross will bat third baseman Kris Bryant in the leadoff spot to start the 2020 season, MLB.com’s Jordan Bastian reports. As Bastian notes, the Cubs have used 17 different hitters in the leadoff spot since the start of the 2017 season, so the club is looking for some stability atop the lineup.
Ross said, “That’s my job, is to commit to things. He’s on board. I’m on board. It’s something I’ve been thinking about long and hard.”
Bryant has appeared in seven games, stepping to the plate 31 times, in the leadoff spot, all occurring in June 2018. He has come to the plate in the No. 2 spot 1,562 times and No. 3 1,158 times.
Last season, Bryant hit .282/.382/.521 with 31 home runs and 77 RBI in 634 PA. Along with playing his usual third base, Bryant logged over 100 innings in each of left and right field. The Cubs are now asking him to be versatile in another fashion.
Michael Kopech has opted out of the 2020 season. The White Sox starter informed the team of his decision today, and the team issued a press release to that affect a few minutes ago.
The statement from general manager Rick Hahn. said “we recognize that reaching this decision is incredibly difficult for any competitive athlete, and our organization is understanding and supportive. We will work with Michael to assure his development continues throughout 2020, and we look forward to welcoming him back into our clubhouse for the 2021 season.”
Kopech, 24, has only four big league starts under his belt, all coming in late August and early September of 2018, but after a strong spring training he was likely to make Chicago’s rotation at some point in the 2020 season after sitting out all of 2019 following Tommy John surgery. Kopech was among the players sent to Chicago from the Red Sox in the Chris Sale trade back in December 2016. Others involved in the deal included Yoán Moncada, Victor Diaz, and Luis Alexander Basabe.
Now, however, Kopech has opted out.