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Chicago Cubs: The most effective lineup they have isn’t being used

jfrancis
Apr 4, 2017; St. Louis, MO, USA; Chicago Cubs right fielder Jason Heyward (22) hits a one run single off of St. Louis Cardinals starting pitcher Adam Wainwright (50) during the fourth inning at Busch Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports
Apr 4, 2017; St. Louis, MO, USA; Chicago Cubs right fielder Jason Heyward (22) hits a one run single off of St. Louis Cardinals starting pitcher Adam Wainwright (50) during the fourth inning at Busch Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports /
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Mandatory Credit: David Banks-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: David Banks-USA TODAY Sports /

Cleaning up…

There are a few reasons why I like Kyle Schwarber here. First of all, he is a better-than-average, prototypical cleanup hitter. He can smash the ball, and drive the ball. And he can take a base as well. Even with a .193 batting average, his on-base percentage is .313. Secondly, he is a power-hitting left-handed batter. The flow of left-left-right-left batters generates the proverbial paradiddle (you are welcome, drummers) of batting that no other team possesses.

But, it is a different reason that Schwarber needs to be cleaning up. That is his aggressiveness. While it is more controlled that other batters, Schwarber’s swing is hard and fierce. The fact that an overwhelming majority of his contact his medium or harder is key. It is better than Anthony Rizzo’s contact percentages and similar to that of Kris Bryant’s. But, where Bryant can spray the ball, Schwarber pulls hard. And it goes far.

And, again, runners on means more pitches around the plate. That, in turn, means more fastballs or a breaking ball that hangs in the zone can be targeted. With two runners on and less than two outs, Schwarber is a .286 hitter. No outs and two on? That goes to .333. It just makes sense to me.

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