Chicago Cubs (34–34, plus-12, LT: 10) - Sports Illustrated

12. Chicago Cubs (34–34, plus-12, LT: 10)

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Power-hitting leadoff men are all the rage! The mad tinkerer Joe Maddon moved Anthony Rizzo into the leadoff spot, hoping to kickstart an offense (and a team) that’s fallen well short of expectations this year. In those five games, which are also the first five times in his career that Rizzo’s led off, the lefty-swinging slugger went 9 for 22, launching three homers, scoring six runs, and driving in eight. The Cubs have erupted for 37 runs over those five games, starting this mini-run with a 14–3 shellacking of the Mets that included a homer, a double, a walk, two runs scored, and three RBI for Rizzo.

As with the Cardinals and Matheny, there’s no way Maddon’s going to change anything while both Rizzo and the team are hitting like the ‘27 Yankees. But here’s something more fun to consider: a healthy Rizzo is one of the best hitters in the league no matter where he bats, and if the Cubs’ younger hitters can get going, this is a team that could continue to mash for a while. Could we see Rizzo still batting leadoff in the throes of a pennant race, as he closes in on a 40-homer season? And if the Cubs finally start playing like the 2016 version of themselves and surge back to the playoffs, could the PA announcer at Wrigley Field find himself introducing leadoff man Anthony Rizzo in October? 

11. Texas Rangers (34–34, plus-13, LT: 18)

10. Tampa Bay Rays (37–35, plus-17, LT: 17)