Chicago Cubs: Can Kyle Schwarber build off a dominant second half?
Chicago Cubs left-handed slugger, Kyle Schwarber had a dominate second half of 2019. Will he be able to build on that and continue to improve?
Kyle Schwarber has had a wild career so far as a Chicago Cubs. From being a top pick in the draft in 2014, a pick that was criticized by many people. To having an incredible postseason run in 2015 and then missing almost all of 2016 with a knee injury, then coming back to be a World Series hero. Trade talks, spending time in the minor leagues Schwarber has been through a lot during the early parts of his career.
The offseason before the start of the 2017 season Schwarber’s name was in many trade rumors surrounding the Cubs. Kind of like the same thing going on with Cubs superstar Kris Bryant during this offseason. There was a mixed reaction for Cubs fans. Some said, “no way” of the idea of moving Schwarber to an AL team because, at the time, he was an ideal candidate to be a DH. Then on the other side, people were set on the Cubs moving him and getting a high return in the process.
Since Dexter Fowler left the Cubs, the leadoff spot has been a question mark surrounding the Chicago Cubs. At the start of 2017, Schwarber was tasked with filling that role. It was clear that it wasn’t the place for him as he struggled and, in result, got him sent down to Triple-A in late June in 2017.
Schwarber’s 2018 was better by the numbers than 2017 was, but the problem was he was a very streaky hitter. He would go on stretches where he was excellent at the plate; then, he would be ice cold for a few weeks.
Heading into 2019, Schwarber wanted to stop making so many changes to his swing. He tried to do what felt comfortable and trust in his work. The struggles came during the first half of 2019, where he was asked to be at the top of the lineup once again.
During the first half of 2019, Schwarber batted .227 with an OBP of .320, slugging of .457 and an OPS of .777. Then during the second half, Schwarber exploded. He hit .280 with an OBP of .366, slugging of .631 and an OPS of .997.
The second-half numbers are on par with some of the best offensive numbers in the game of baseball. It seemed as if what Schwarber did was under the radar because of what Nicholas Castellanos did for the Cubs when he got there.
Schwarber talked with reporters this week in Mesa about his sharp end to the 2019 season.
"It’s not like I ended the year on a low note,” Schwarber said. “I ended it on a high note, so that’s something I take into the offseason and keep that mindset and keep doing that work. Because it worked and everything was great. To be able to build off that is great, rather than feeling down and believing you need to make all these adjustments in the offseason. I feel like I have this base and I just need to go out and carry it out for 162-plus"
The question heading into 2020 is if he can do what he did during the second half of last year for the entire year. Schwarber has the chance to have a considerable impact heading into the 2020 season. I firmly believe that Schwarber will take that next step into being a dominant offensive force in 2020.