Chicago Cubs: Kyle Schwarber failed to live up to lofty expectations

CHICAGO, IL - SEPTEMBER 30: Kyle Schwarber
CHICAGO, IL - SEPTEMBER 30: Kyle Schwarber /

Chicago Cubs outfielder Kyle Schwarber suffered through a tough 2017 campaign, but still managed 30 home runs despite all his offensive woes.

Chicago Cubs. KYLE SCHWARBER. C. . Left Fielder

It’s no secret that Kyle Schwarber had a disappointing season. After fully recovering from a knee injury in time for the World Series last year, Schwarber was healthy and ready to produce this spring. However, things really didn’t go as planned throughout much of the season. Ultimately, he went back to Triple-A for a couple weeks to work on some things but never fully put it together.

Joe Maddon announced that Kyle Schwarber would serve as the team’s leadoff hitter. This was met with much criticism and didn’t really work. Schwarber slashed .190/.312/.381 out of the leadoff slot with just seven homers and 18 RBI in 147 at-bats.

His ability to draw walks was a big reason why Maddon liked him in the leadoff spot. However, a .312 OBP is just not going to get it done. People were clamoring for Schwarber to be removed from the lead off spot but Maddon didn’t not want to make a change.

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Back to the farm

In late June, the Cubs demoted Schwarber to Triple-A Iowa. This move was only temporary as it was meant for him to clear his head and work on some things. Schwarber was disappointed but understood the move.

He worked hard and was recalled in early July. While Schwarber never fully got back to form, he did have a much better second half. His slash line of .253/.325/.559 tells a lot. His power increased big time and he increased his batting average nearly 60 points, but got on base less.

The Cubs originally demoted Schwarber because they wanted him to focus on hitting for more than just power yet he hit 17 home runs in the second half. His 30 home runs for the season were the second-most on the team behind Anthony Rizzo‘s 32. His final slash line was .211/.315/.467. He also never returned to the leadoff spot.

Despite the power, Schwarber’s season was far from a success. His first full season in the big-leagues showed that he has a ton of power but struggles to hit for average. His defense was spotty in left-field.

There were times that he made some great plays and other times when his defensive was questionable. Schwarber still has a ton of time to grow and develop into a really solid big league hitter. The question is “will it be as a Cub?” but that’s an article for another time.

Next: Evaluating Jose Quintana's year

If Schwarber can be a .250 to .260 hitter and hit 30 home runs as well as cut down on strikeouts, I think the Cubs would be happy. He did not get many opportunities to catch either. I would like to see the Cubs give him that opportunity, but he needs to get his bat together first.