Chicago Cubs: Expectations heading into the new year
Hopefully, the only direction for Schwarber to continue to go is up. The positive nature of his 2018 season should seemingly propel him into an increased level of production as we careen into 2019. Schwarber has seen the number of games increase, his at-bats increase, as well as his defense and base running.
A knock which Schwarber received much of last year was for his defensive abilities. While the defense in 2017 was less than stellar, probably because he was fresh off the ACL and LCL tear, the difference of getting into shape helped him immensely. Schwarber finished with a 2 DRS and a 14.0 UZR/150. He also posted a career-high in innings in the field, reaching 943 2/3 for the year.
People who claimed Schwarber was not a good defender are wrong. The numbers this past year back it up that it is not the case, and in fact, he is a well above-average defensive player. Understanding who Schwarber is too is important because that level of expectation can stay relatively grounded without expecting out-of-this-world production.
That being said, with his health in check and his ability to see the ball seemingly become better and better, it should be comfortable expecting that Schwarber is poised to have his best year yet.