Chicago Cubs: Kyle Schwarber’s second half went largely overlooked
Look, I know the Cubs didn’t make it back to October and their September collapse is what we all remember when we look back at the 2019 season. But down the stretch, Kyle Schwarber put up some absolutely ridiculous numbers.
Over the season’s final two months, this guy carried the Chicago offense. I’m not talking about a pretty solid stretch – I’m talking about an elite run where Schwarber ranked as one of the best offensive players in all of baseball.
His contact rate? Went up. Hard-hit rate? Went up. Strikeout rate? Went down. In the month of September, the slugging outfielder put up an 1.100 OPS, getting on base at a .419 clip with a .681 slugging percentage. He hit at least half-a-dozen home runs in every month outside of April, when he hit four.
"“I think he made some adjustments,” Theo Epstein told ESPN in September. “Some of it was mindset and belief and approach and some of it was a little bit fundamental mechanics of the swing. But just the combination led to a really confident hitter up there who’s dictating a little bit more instead of being reactive — not trying to cover every single hole, but going up there with a really good gameplan.”"
It’s one thing to go up there with a plan. It’s another thing entirely to put it into action on a daily basis. That’s exactly what Schwarber did, though, giving Cubs fans a glimpse of what we’ve long expected from the former first-round pick.