In a shocking (depending who you talk to) decision, Kyle Schwarber got sent down to Triple-A Iowa today. The Cubs’ brass is as high on him as they’ve been on everybody else.
This is not the Chicago Cubs giving up on Kyle Schwarber, believe it or not. This is the Cubs helping Schwarber. Looking back at recent years, there have been a few notable players that have gone down to their Triple-A affiliate and came back up to the major’s better players. Some notable ones include Alex Gordon, Mike Moustakas, Jackie Bradley, Jr, and Anthony Rizzo, if you want to count him.
There are those that are asking what benefit a player can have from facing worse pitching down in the minor leagues. It’s not necessarily about facing worse pitching; it’s about finding what’s wrong with a swing, and fixing those mechanics and then putting them to the test. We’ll use Anthony Rizzo for example in this piece.
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Rizzo’s first big league time was with the Padres, back in 2011. Rizzo posted just a .141/.281/.242 slash line, with a 30.1 K%. In that same offseason, the Cubs hired Theo Epstein. The Cubs then traded for Rizzo to be the foundation of their rebuild and face of the franchise. It worked.
The Cubs sent Rizzo to Triple-A for the first half of 2012. He completely revamped his stance, and since the call-up for the Cubs Rizzo has established himself as an elite player, both offensively and defensively.
Sometimes it just takes some work
Another perfect example is Mike Moustakas. In 2014 Moose posted a .212/.271/.361 slash for the Royals. That line is sandwiched in between two stints since he was sent down and even lost his starting job in the middle of 2014. Since? Moustakas has set himself up well to make bank in free agency this upcoming offseason. In 2015, Moose posted a .284/.348/.470 slash, with 22 dingers. This season Moustakas is having the best year of his career, coming off an injury. Currently, he has 19 home runs with a .276/.314/.549 slash.
A trip down to Triple-A for a bit can help players. They can work on their issues, and it has worked in the past. The Cubs are nowhere near ready to give up on Schwarber, and the fans shouldn’t be, either. Schwarber will fix whatever is wrong. Why? Schwarber was told by Epstein that this wasn’t a demotion, more of an investment in him.