The Chicago Cubs have said all along that Kyle Schwarber was the top hitter on their board in this year’s draft, and, although five games at Low-A Boise isn’t going to prove them right, Schwarber certainly hasn’t done anything to make you think they were wrong.
Today, all Schwarber did was go 3-4 with two homers, a double, and a walk.
And, thanks to his efforts, the Cubs announced that Schwarber is going to be moving up to full season Low-A Kane County (first reported by Jordan Bernfield).
In his five games so far at short-season Low-A, Schwarber is posting an LOL-Hulk line of .600/.625/1.350. Yup – he’s literally 25 points shy of a 2.000 OPS. His worst game this year was when he went 2-5 with a triple. He’s got four homers in five games, and three times as many extra base hits (six) as strikeouts (two). And even with all the hitting, he’s still managed to take a couple walks.
So, outside of being a fun five games, does this mean anything?
Well, you certainly would be quick to say five games don’t mean anything if Schwarber came out of the gate struggling, so we can’t say the reverse means a ton. Still, the switch to pro ball is an adjustment – he had to move out to Boise, for one thing – and it’s impressive to see anyone playing this well immediately.
In the end, he’s an accomplished college bat playing against (mostly) younger and inferior/less-polished competition. You’d expect him to be doing well.
What you really want to know is how quickly he’ll continue being promoted if he keeps doing this. Well, it’s a little tough to say, given that every player’s plan is individualized (and if Schwarber is going to be catching, that kinda throws things for a loop). The obvious most recent precedent, Kris Bryant, spent two games in Mesa and then 18 games in Boise before he was promoted – skipping Low-A Kane County – to Daytona. Bryant killed it at Boise, but he actually didn’t get his OPS over 1.000 until his final game there. By his final week in Boise, he put together a six-game stretch like the one Schwarber’s on right now, and it was clear that it was time to move him up.
So, does that mean Schwarber will also wind up in Daytona later this year? I actually tend to think we might see Schwarber stay at Kane County (if he’s, in fact, been called up) for the rest of the year – that presumes (1) he’s still doing some catching, and (2) the Cougars, and not the D-Cubs, are in the playoffs. That said, if he keeps doing this kind of craziness at Kane County for a month? It’s hard to see him not getting a taste of High-A.
In any event, I actually like to leave the prognosticating aside in these situations and just enjoy the ride. So, the primary conclusion we can draw from Schwarber’s first five pro games? It’s a hell of a lot of fun to follow.