Chicago Cubs: Five reasons Kyle Schwarber will win the NL MVP

(Photo by Denis Poroy/Getty Images)
(Photo by Denis Poroy/Getty Images) /
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Chicago Cubs
(Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images) /

The Chicago Cubs Kyle Schwarber has always been a special player. The front office knew that and declined to trade him. Now that he’s improved his fielding, is an MVP in his future?

The Chicago Cubs Kyle Schwarber has shown before that he can be a foundational player and fabulous hitter for the team. He has also demonstrated the ability to adjust to setbacks, work extremely hard, and overcome just about anything. Given these characteristics and the improvements he made last year, Schwarber is primed for not just a good year, but an MVP kind of season.

We all know who Schwarber is. He’s the guy who hits balls on scoreboards. He’s the guy who massacres baseballs that end up in car windshields back behind the field. He’s the guy who misses an entire season and comes back to Willis Reed his way into our hearts by going 7-17 in the 2016 World Series and starting the rally that no Cub fan could ever forget.

Schwarber is also the guy who has pretty much always struggled against high fastballs, got sent down to the Minor Leagues after a failed attempt as a leadoff hitter in 2017, and looked like a butcher out in the outfield at Citi Field in the 2015 playoffs in front of a National audience.

So, where does that leave us with the seemingly mercurial Schwarber performance meter? Well, unbeknownst to even some die-hard Cubs’ fans,  Schwarber quietly put together a pretty darn good 3.2 WAR year in 2018, despite a disappointing end both on a personal level (he was having back issues down the stretch and struggled once coming back from those as well) and with the team.

He lost a ton of weight, showed up in the proverbial and legitimate “best shape of his life” last spring, and showed improved play in the outfield (he was, by many metrics, one of the best left-fielders in all of baseball) along with an elite 15.3% walk rate last season. Given what we’ve seen from him in the past and the potential he has, it’s not a stretch to expect another improvement in performance in 2019.

I’m going to go a step further, however, and say that Schwarber isn’t just going to improve on his 2018 campaign- he’s going to obliterate it.  2019 is going to be the year that all of baseball sees what kind of damage this guy can do on a consistent basis. Kyle Schwarber, buoyed by a strong lineup around him, a great approach, and the ability to hit balls as hard and far as anyone in baseball, will win the 2019 National League MVP. And here’s why: