Chicago Cubs: Team’s 2018 success heavily dependent on young core

(Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
(Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images) /
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Chicago Cubs
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Is an offseason transformation enough to jump-start the slugger?

Kyle Schwarber didn’t just lose weight this offseason. He completely rewrote the type of player he wants to be during his Major League career. More athletic and quicker, he could be a drastically improved defender in left field for the Cubs in 2018 – and an all-around better athlete.

He managed 30 home runs last year, but that’s pretty much where the positives stop. A midseason demotion to Triple-A Iowa served as a reality check for the former top prospect. After his return from Iowa, he performed better, but still not what the Cubs anticipate getting from him long-term.

After a loud rookie season debut, Schwarber missed the entire 2016 season with a knee injury. Of course, he returned in the World Series against all odds, hitting .412 as the team’s designated hitter against the Indians. Heading into 2017, the hype literally could not have been any bigger.

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But one year removed from that, Schwarber is ready to prove he belongs amongst the game’s best. If he can take that step and put his name in pen alongside the likes of Anthony Rizzo and Kris Bryant, the Chicago Cubs will take a big step toward becoming a dynasty in years to come.

That’s just how much potential Kyle Schwarber has.