Chicago Cubs: Powering his way to career-best numbers
Looking at the big picture, Schwarber wound up with a .339 on-base percentage on the year – right in line with his career mark. I’ve never looked at his batting average as a measure of his success, but I’d like to see him continue to push his OBP closer to or even north of the .350 mark moving forward.
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His on-base presence, paired with his ability to drive the ball (.282 ISO this season – nearly 100 points above league average), even with the spike in power across the game, make him an incredibly valuable presence in the order.
Schwarber hit .250 for the first time in his big league career – buoyed by his monster second half. The former Indiana University standout put up a .997 OPS after the All-Star Break – a full 200 points higher than what he managed in the first half. He slugged north of .600 in August and September, doing everything in his power to propel the Cubs to the postseason.
Assuming Jason Heyward returns in 2020, the Cubs have two-thirds of their outfield spoken for. Center field, of course, is a bit of a black hole given the dramatic drop-off we saw from Albert Almora this season and I expect Epstein to focus on addressing this during the winter. As for Schwarber, the name of the game will be consistency next season.