Former Chicago Cub and current Philadelphia Phillies designated hitter Kyle Schwarber has continued to rake in postseason home runs this year, and climbing himself into an elite category of power hitters who have competed in October.
With two home runs in the Phillies' 10-0 route against the Arizona Diamondbacks on Tuesday, Schwarber has now amassed 18 postseason home runs. Since the year 2000, only three hitters have smacked more home runs in the postseason than Schwarber: George Springer (19), Albert Pujols (19) and Jose Altuve (24).
This postseason tear began when Schwarber was a rookie in 2015. The guy's ability to hit home runs has always been a cornerstone of his game and two of the arguably most famous dingers in recent Cubs history came at the hands of the Ohio native. The first was in the National League Wild Card game against the Pittsburgh Pirates, where Schwarber took ace Gerrit Cole deep on a moonshot into the Allegheny River.
The second was against the St. Louis Cardinals at Wrigley Field in the National League Division Series. With the team ahead by a precarious 5-4 lead in the 7th inning, Schwarber famously cranked a ball that landed on top of the Budweiser scoreboard in right field.
In early 2016, Schwarber, unfortunately, went down with what everyone thought was a season-ending leg injury as a result of an outfield collision with teammate Dexter Fowler. Although he wasn't on the field for the vast majority of the 103-win 2016 season, Schwarber returned for the World Series and served as the designated hitter for the away games in Cleveland. Although he didn't hit any home runs, Schwarber posted a .412 batting average and got on base in half of his plate appearances in the 2016 World Series.
Over the next three postseason appearances for the Cubs, Schwarber was as cold as the team and they never made it past the NLCS again. The Cubs decided to non-tender their slugging outfielder prior to the 2021 season, a move that looks like a silly mistake in hindsight. At the time, the National League did not have a designated hitter so Schwarber was a defensive liability in addition to his low batting average. The Cubs were trying to shake things up at the time and Schwarber was a victim of an eventual rebuild.
But when you're producing so much power and on-base ability, batting average is not imperative. Since leaving the Cubs in 2021, Schwarber has gone deep 125 times and only two other hitters in MLB have collected more home runs in that time frame: Aaron Judge (138) and Matt Olson (127). And 2023 has arguably been Schwarber's finest year at the plate as he set career highs in home runs (47), RBI (104), and walks (126). He admittedly also set a career-high in strikeouts with 215 (which led the league), but again when you flash the caliber of power numbers that Schwarber does, you can live with the high strikeouts and low batting average (.219).
The last two years have also seen Schwarber return to his October heroics with the Phillies. The 30-year-old has 9 postseason dingers with Philadelphia and counting after his first multi-homer playoff game on Tuesday. With the Phillies looking likely to capture their second National League pennant in two years, there is still time for Schwarber to pad these stats and maybe even capture his second World Series ring.