Chicago Cubs: How do you rate the big guy’s defense?
This is where Schwarber fans and those who don’t think he’s all that good will really start deviating big time.
Those who think Schwarber is a passable or average defender will discuss his work ethic, defensive improvement, superior arm strength, and the lack of a burner centerfielder as reasons to keep running the left fielder out there.
Those who think he’s only a DH will cite his few but painful-to-watch gaffes, bad route running, average (they’ll claim slower than average) speed, and the fact that he’s only getting less athletic as he gets older.
One thing is for certain: Schwarber is not going to win any Gold Gloves out in left field. However, that doesn’t mean he’s unusable out there. In fact, his Fangraphs UZR/150 is positive 5.3 runs for his career. What does this mean? Well, it means he’s not as bad as it seems or as bad as some people make it out to be.
Regardless, the optics are that Schwarber doesn’t do enough defensively to offset his inconsistent efforts at the plate; or inversely, he doesn’t do enough at the plate to offset his lack of impact in the field.