Rookie enjoys experience in brief stay
Not every baseball player gets the opportunity to do what theChicago Cubs
did with last year’s top pickKyle Schwarber
. The former Indians Hoosier got the opportunity to come up and fill the designated hitter role for a week while the Cubs played the Cleveland Indians and the Minnesota Twins. Theo Epstein said from the start, no matter the performance, he would head to Triple-A after the week was over.
So how did he do? Well enough for the media to ask if Theo and Co. were right to send him back down. I’m not disputing that at all. It was the correct choice for the young slugger. But this had to be his best week ever. For now.
When many players get the call-up, the pressure immediately builds to impress to make sure that call-up isn’t followed too closely by a demotion. Not all players come up and stick in the first try. Anthony Rizzo didn’t. But after a week of what some called an audition–I’d call it a showcase–the next time Schwarber comes to Chicago, I’d wager he could go ahead and talk with Kris Bryant about him helping find a good pace to live for a newcomer.
In six games, Schwarber batted .364 (8-for-22), with one home run and six RBIs. He also scored six times while adding a triple. He did get a taste of catching for an inning when Miguel Montero got ejected in the top of the eighth inning against the Indians, but he was up to show off his bat–and there’s no question it’s more than Major League ready. Figuring out his home in the field is the final chapter.
The easy thing to do in order to get him back to Chicago faster is to abandon the catching and make a move to the outfield. But the team’s depth in the system behind the plate isn’t deep, and it’s in your best interest to NOT tell Schwarber he’s not a catcher. The young man is determined to prove the outside scouts wrong, and has shown great strides since joining the Cubs.
When he wasn’t hitting, he was catching bullpen sessions with Mike Borzello. When he wasn’t doing those, he was picking the brains of Montero and David Ross. After talking to the veterans, his appreciation for the craft seems even stronger than before.
"“It shows how much attention to detail they put into the game calling,” said Schwarber, who will work on all facets of catching and perhaps play in the outfield for Iowa. “It’s kind of an art, and it’s really cool to see how they do it.” h/t Mark Gonzlaes – Chicago Tribune"
Epstein and Jed Hoyer have had this plan from the start. And while it was a painful few years, I won’t start questioning it now. When it’s Schwarber’s time, they’ll make the right call. But I think we all enjoyed watching him as much as he enjoyed the experience.