Chicago Cubs: No. 10: Kyle Schwarber
It still feels like Kyle Schwarber hasn’t reached his full potential yet. The Chicago Cubs have been patient with him amidst many calls to trade him to the American League so he can be a designated hitter. Still, he earns this spot on the list for what he has done so far, especially in the postseason.
Schwarber made his debut with the big league club in the middle of the 2015 season, as the team was looking for a way to spark its offense without making a major trade. Schwarber was good for the Cubs in 2015, slugging 16 home runs and driving in 43 in just 69 games. He became a hero in the postseason, hitting five home runs to already become the franchise’s all-time postseason home run leader.
Unfortunately, a horrific injury during the first week of the 2016 season slowed Schwarber’s ascent, though he became a hero again when he came all the way back to play in the World Series, batting 7-for-17. The former first-rounder showed potential to be a good all-around hitter, but since that World Series it hasn’t materialized as well as we’d hoped. In 2017, despite hitting 30 home runs, he batted just .211.
In 2018, Schwarber hit .238 with 26 home runs, and he struggled for much of the first half of 2019, renewing calls to give up on him. However, the left-handed slugger showed some signs of life in the second half of 2019 and got his average for the year up to .250, with career highs in home runs (38) and RBIs (92). His OPS of .871 was also a career-high.
If the young slugger continues to develop as a hitter in 2020 and beyond, and he continues to at least be adequate in left field, he could easily make the Cubs’ top ten players of the 2020s, ten years from now.