Chicago Cubs: The good will come with the bad for Kyle Schwarber

(Photo by Mark Brown/Getty Images)
(Photo by Mark Brown/Getty Images) /

Kyle Schwarber had a rough third inning for the Chicago Cubs on Opening Day. As seen Thursday, his offense should overshadow a few fielding mishaps in the long run.

Kyle Schwarber might not win a Gold Glove anytime soon, but man is his bat something to reckon with.

Schwarber, 25, had a rough third inning in left field during Thursday’s game against the Miami Marlins. He first crashed into the outfield fence tracking a fly ball hit by Derek Dietrich. Dietrich wound up on third base with a triple as a result.

Third inning mishaps

Dietrich’s fly ball carried over Schwarber’s head, so he might not have had a great chance to make the catch. However, Schwarber awkwardly crashing into the fence made it seem like he had a chance at the ball.

Later that inning, Schwarber slipped while attempting to field a single hit by Brian Anderson. Anderson also wound up on third base; this time Schwarber picked up an error on the play.

It is easy for fans to say that Schwarber is just not cut out to play outfield. And honestly, his two mishaps Thursday support this notion, in a way. However, it seems like fans continuously overlook Schwarber’s situation as a whole.

Catcher in the ivy

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Schwarber is a catcher by nature, playing the position in college at Indiana University and throughout his short stay in the Cubs’ farm system.

The Cubs drafted Schwarber fourth overall in 2014. Before making his MLB debut a year later, he played in just 147 minor league games. Schwarber played outfield in just 36 of those 147 games.

Since making his MLB debut in 2015, Schwarber has played outfield in just 156 games. While this sounds like an excuse for Schwarber’s outfield struggles, there is validity to this idea.

Essentially, Schwarber is still growing as a player and figuring out a new position. Heck, moving from one outfield spot to another can be tough. Each position is different, with different angles to attack the ball at.

Figuring things out

Not only is Schwarber relatively inexperienced as an outfielder, but he has a major knee injury on his résumé. This has little to do with what Schwarber did Thursday, but it is worthy of note.

Much of the flak aimed at Schwarber occurred in 2017, just a year after he underwent major knee surgery to repair a torn ACL and LCL.

In addition to returning to playing defense in 2017 (he famously appeared in the 2016 World Series, albeit only as a designated hitter), Schwarber still was strengthening his knee. In a way, much of the criticism aimed at Schwarber is unfair, considering the circumstances.

There likely are some who have made up their minds concerning Schwarber being unable to play outfield. The Cubs, however, are not a member of that group.

What Schwarber did offensively Thursday is the best example of why the Cubs value him so much. Despite two misplays in the outfield, the left fielder went 1-for-3 with a walk and a home run.

Next: Cubs turn to bullpen early in 8-4 Opening Day win

It has been well-documented how Schwarber struggled at the plate in 2017. However, if Thursday is a sign of things to come, the Cubs are in for a treat when it comes to their left fielder this season.