Chicago Cubs: Where is Kyle Schwarber amongst the NL left fielders?
Kyle Schwarber has become a valuable piece to the core of this Chicago Cubs team, and we take a look to see where he stacks with the other left fielders in the NL
Coming off a breakout season in 2019 where he slugged 38 home runs, the Chicago Cubs’ Kyle Schwarber is ready to take another leap in 2020. Ever since he joined the league, there has been much speculation of the left fielder being traded to the American League, as many feel he is best suited for a DH role.
However, Theo Epstein has stayed committed to Schwarber and it is proving to be worth it. As we head into 2020, we take a look to see where Schwarber ranks amongst the other left fielders in the national league.
We took a look at the projected starting left fielders for each team in 2020 and compared their numbers in 2019 with Schwarber’s. Career numbers could tell its own story but with a wide age gap between this group, using recency here can help us get a better idea of where our left fielder stacks up heading into the new season. Here is how Schwarber ranks amongst the National League’s projected left field starters in the following categories from the 2019 season:
Batting Average: .250 (13th)
OPS: .871 (6th)
Fielding: .974 (11th)
OBP: .339 (10th)
Slugging: .531 (4th)
WAR: 2.1 (5th)
Aside from his fielding percentage, it’s worth noting Schwarber had 214 putouts and seven assists in 2019, good for second and first in the NL, respectively.
Where he lags in batting average and fielding, he makes up with his slugging percentage and overall productivity. Teams are hard-pressed to find a harder worker than Schwarber, who has found a way to improve his perception around the league.
More from Cubbies Crib
- Cubs fans are beginning to see the light at the end of the tunnel
- Justin Steele has evolved into a frontline starter for the Cubs
- The future of first base is murky right now for the Cubs
- Legendary Pat Foley will finally call a Cubs game at Wrigley Field
- MLB Pipeline ranks Pete Crow-Armstrong as Cubs top prospect
The decision not to trade the lefty has paid dividends for this team, and he has been able to play with a chip on his shoulder, continuing to prove the doubters wrong. He still isn’t the best-left fielder out there, but he has made vast improvements to make himself at least average in the field, allowing his offense to make him a truly valuable player.
In terms of offense at the position, I would only put the likes of Juan Soto and Tommy Pham on a good day ahead of Schwarber. Bryan Reynolds and JD Davis put up remarkable seasons, but with such a small sample size on the two players, I would take our left fielder over the two.
When we look at overall production, I put Schwarber in the Top-Five of National League left fielders. Soto, Reynolds, Pham, and Joc Pederson are the ones who lead Schwarber in WAR, and that gives us a pretty good indication of a player’s value. I would imagine some regression from Reynolds, which offers the Indiana alum a chance to be one of the most valuable left fielders in the national league in 2020.
Schwarber has become a very underrated left fielder and has a chance to show the league what he’s made of this season. Many believe his 2019 breakout was just the beginning. The fourth overall pick in 2014 has an excellent opportunity to take the league by surprise this season.