Chicago Cubs: Examining the best draft picks of the decade

(Photo by Justin Berl/Getty Images)
(Photo by Justin Berl/Getty Images) /
5 of 6
Chicago Cubs
(Photo by David Banks/Getty Images) /

Kyle Schwarber, C – 2014 Amateur draft, Round 1 Pick 4

Similar to Bryant, Kyle Schwarber slammed his way through the minor leagues, spending just two years in the pipeline before his rise to the Show. Drafted originally as a catcher, Schwarber spent much of his rookie season in left field. He did start 15 games for the Cubs at catcher, but that did not last long thanks to Willson Contreras.

Schwarber experienced immense success in his rookie season. He appeared in 69 games and posted a 131 wRC+ and a 1.8 WAR. As anticipation grew for the young left-handed home run hitter, it all came crashing down as quickly as it had begun.

Two games into the 2016 regular season, Schwarber suffered a torn ACL and LCL in his left knee, effectively ending his season. Miraculously, Schwarber recovered in time for the postseason. He became a World Series hero, slashing .412/.500/.471 in five games, including the base hit in extra innings of game seven, which started the title-clinching inning.

Schwarber gets a horrible rap across baseball. If it’s not his “subpar” fielding, it’s his strikeout rate. All of that is bologna. In each of his last three seasons, Schwarber has improved in some capacity. His strikeout rate has decreased in each subsequent season while he has also found his power stroke once again.

Schwarber smashed 38 home runs in 2019 and could easily aim for the 40 mark in 2020. The defense has also significantly improved. Encapsulating everything makes him one of the best picks of the decade.