Chicago Cubs: 5 players that need a bounce back year in 2018

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(Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images) /
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Chicago Cubs
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Kyle Schwarber, OF

The expectations that have been piled on the Cubs’ Kyle Schwarber are part of the issue. After an impressive start to his career, the knee injury cut his 2016 season short. And all he managed to do was come back for the World Series and play four of the most impressive games you could have asked for. So coming into 2017 the anticipation for a Schwarber breakout season was high. That, however, was not the case.

Maddon was intent on making Schwarber the leadoff hitter this season. That slowly dissolved into things like “trade Schwarber” and “fire Maddon”. Neither of those using much logic, but it was still frustrating to watch. Eventually, Schwarber was sent to Triple-A to try and figure things out. While the overall numbers weren’t great he, by all means, showed improvement over the first half of the season.

Schwarber batter .255 after coming back from Iowa, slugging 18 home runs and driving in 31. With a slugging % of .565 and an OPS of .908, he was looking more like the Schwarber of old. The question remains his ability to play the outfield. There’s no question he got a better than average arm. But he also can look like a beer league softball player while he’s in left field. If he can start next season like he finished this one, the Cubs will be happy with that.