Chicago Cubs: Schwarber rode walks and dingers all season long
Kyle Schwarber can hit. He also knows how to control the strike zone, almost too well. If you doubt my word, just look at the stats. Through 1086 career at-bats (1274 PA), Schwarber has hit 72 home runs and has walked at a nearly 14 percent clip.
Through his first 1071 career at-bats (1211 PA), consistently great Cubs’ slugger, Anthony Rizzo, had 39 home runs and walked roughly 10 percent of the time. Kyle Schwarber is 25 years old, as was Anthony Rizzo in the season following those numbers above.
More from Cubbies Crib
- Cubs starting pitching has been thriving on the North Side
- Make no mistake: the Cubs are very much about power hitters
- Cubs are giving pitcher Javier Assad a deserved shot
- Cubs: It’s time to start thinking about potential September call-ups
- Cubs: P.J. Higgins deserves to be in the lineup on a daily basis
Another parallel between the two was the narrative early in their careers that the lefty sluggers could not and would not hit southpaws. Rizzo turned that weakness into a strength by adjusting, and Schwarber is still waiting for a chance to do that if Joe Maddon would let him hit lefties more frequently (Schwarber did post a .352 OBP against southpaws despite low slugging and batting averages).
Last season, Kyle Schwarber walked at a 15.3 percent clip, trailing only Mike Trout, Bryce Harper and Aaron Hicks among MLB outfielders. Joey Votto and Carlos Santana were the only other position players to walk at a higher rate than Schwarber. I’d also contend that the Cubs left fielder would have walked more if we had robot umps rather than human umpires, who seemed to have a slightly unfair zone for the slugger, but that’s a story for when the hot stove cools down (if it ever heats up this offseason).
Schwarber also hit 26 home runs in a mere 428 at-bats, good enough for second on the Cubs in 2018, behind only the breakout performance of Baez. His slugging percentage (which was above .500 for most of the season) settled in at .467 for the year after a slump in July/August and injury in September, which was basically the same as Anthony Rizzo’s .470 for the season.