Chicago Cubs: Jen-Ho Tseng’s path; Kyle Schwarber a true outfielder

(Photo by Jon Durr/Getty Images)
(Photo by Jon Durr/Getty Images) /

One of the pieces waiting at Iowa, Jen-Ho Tseng still has plenty to prove. Meanwhile, Kyle Schwarber has emerged as a key defender for the Chicago Cubs.

Arguably the biggest staple of the Theo Epstein era on the North Side of Chicago has been the team’s near-constant revolving door of prospects making their way to Wrigley Field. Perhaps, more importantly, is the regular success these guys have had, including the likes of Ian Happ, Willson Contreras, Javier Baez, Kyle Schwarber and Albert Almora.

But we’ve forgotten that’s not how things usually go. Prospects are far more hit-or-miss than we’ve come to see with the Cubs. As for Chicago, there is no one who embodies that more than right-handed pitcher Jen-Ho Tseng.

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A two-time Minor League Pitcher of the Year (2014, 2017), Tseng has spiraled downward since the latter showing. Last year with Triple-A Iowa, he limped to an unsightly 6.27 ERA, 1.489 WHIP and 10.5 H/9 in 26 starts – hardly indicative of someone who has a chance to contribute at the big league level.

The 2019 season may be the make-or-break campaign for Tseng, given the depth we’ve seen begin to amass in Double and Triple-A. Another ineffective campaign may be enough to end Tseng’s tenure with the organization. Only time will tell.

Our co-site expert Nicholas Blazek not only dug into Tseng’s path to-date but also outfielder Kyle Schwarber – and what he brings to the table heading into 2019. Once dubbed a career designated hitter, the slugger has emerged as a quality option in left field, exponentially increasing his value to not just the Chicago Cubs, but the league at large.

Everyone was sold on his bat from the get-go. But never the defense. But last year, he showcased an arm that was unrivaled in the league – and, by several measures, he ranked as one of the best outfielders in Major League Baseball. At the dish, he accumulated an .823 OPS – and a career-high .356 on-base percentage and 61 RBI.

Will Schwarber take the next step in 2019? Time will tell. But given how dramatically he’s improved over the last few years, don’t be shocked to see him step into the spotlight even more this summer.

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