Chicago Cubs: Examining the team’s options in the leadoff spot
By Jake Misener
Lack of pop, average for Kyle Schwarber
Entering play Tuesday, Schwarber had fallen below .200 on the year – a troubling sign for one of the team’s biggest prospects.
His .334 on-base percentage ranks eighth among Cubs’ regular hitters. More troubling, perhaps, are his 35 strikeouts – which equates to a 36 percent strikeout rate. He’s hit three home runs over the season’s first month and, in all honesty, it seems like his approach at the plate has drastically changed.
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Instead of looking to attack mistakes, he’s taking pitches – a lot of pitches. He’s seeing roughly 5.6 pitches per plate appearance so far this year. As a leadoff man, that’s his job in an ideal situation: see pitches not only for himself, but for his teammates behind him in the order.
But when you have a player with Schwarber’s slugging abilities, is it ideal to lose that impact bat in the middle of the lineup?
The stocky outfielder carries a disappointing .330 slugging percentage on the year. That’s more than 100 points below his career average. It’s not a matter of what he’s capable of at the dish. It’s simply coming down to adapting an approach that’s not producing results.