Chicago Cubs: Schwarbs needs to take many jogs in 2020
Last spring, I wrote an article that many probably laughed at, and still fewer took seriously. And, despite its seeming absurdity and farcical nature to the masses, I stand by it. While Kyle Schwarber did not win the NL MVP in 2019, it’s entirely possible he would have won the second half MVP if there were such a thing.
Don’t believe me?
Check these stats out: in the final 56 games of the season starting with Kyle Schwarber Day in Milwaukee on July 28, Schwarber put up a .304/.395/.663 slash line, led the National League with a .359 ISO (isolated slugging), was second with a 167 wRC+, and fourth with 45 RBI all while ranking only 45th with 210 PA over that span.
Not only did Schwarber actually eclipse the nuclear Nicholas Castellanos in performance after Castellanos came over from Detroit, but he was also doing it all season long even though some of you didn’t notice. Cursed by the modern game and its dastardly shift, Schwarber continually annihilated balls right at people throughout the first half of the season.
As all peripheral and advanced stats pointed towards Schwarber breaking through with monster numbers at some point, it finally happened for good at the end of July, and Cubs fans got a taste of what they had seen in inconsistent patches since Schwarber’s debut in 2015.
Maybe it was Joe Maddon finally allowing him to hit lefties that gave him the confidence. Perhaps it was his ability to make adjustments that finally kicked in permanently. Maybe luck just smiled at the Schwarbino, and he took it and ran. Or, as some of us (including Theo Epstein) have thought since 2015 while watching his approach and the way the ball comes off his bat, maybe he’s just an excellent hitter who can put a hurting on the baseball.
If Schwarber’s 2019 season exit velocity of 94.5 mph (8th best in baseball) was any indication, he’s going to be good and hit the ball really hard again in 2020. Maybe I was just a year early…