The latest Chicago Cubs youngster wrote himself into the record books last night with a performance that we won’t be forgetting any time soon.
Not only did Kyle Schwarber have four hits, and not only did he have two home runs, but his two home runs came at the most critical times for the Cubs.
First, there was his 9th inning game-tier, which came after a 9-pitch, incredibly-mature, patient at bat. And then it was clobbering time:
That ball was absolutely hammered – 106.4 mph off the bat – and Schwarber had no doubt what he’d done as it came off the bat:
That's a pretty swing. pic.twitter.com/gHeihUJa3m
— Chicago Cubs (@Cubs) July 22, 2015
I particularly love the very subtle bat flip at the end.
In the 13th, Schwarber came up with nobody on and yanked a 2-2 low, breaking pitch out of the park for the game-winner:
Deservedly, Schwarber was mobbed by his teammates in the aftermath. The homer was another rocket – 104.7 mph off the bat – and capped off a crazy night for Schwarber and the Cubs.
Folks immediately started calling it The Kyle Schwarber Game, and it turns out that’s not really overstating things. See for yourself:
Last 4 #Cubs with 2 HR in 9th inning or later: 7/21/15 Kyle Schwarber 5/4/93 S. Sosa 5/8/90 A. Dawson 6/23/84 R. Sandberg (Sandberg Game)
— Christopher Kamka (@ckamka) July 22, 2015
Just how impactful was Schwarber last night? As impactful as it gets:
Kyle Schwarber's Win Probability Added tonight was the highest for any hitter in any game this season.
— Matthew Trueblood (@MATrueblood) July 22, 2015
Schwarber’s WPA on the game was .860, which is absolutely mind-boggling, and underscores just how critical those homers were (that part’s pretty obvious).
On the year, Schwarber is now hitting .410/.439/.744 through 41 plate appearances with a .499 wOBA and a 224 wRC+. Sure, the .542 BABIP will come down (though he looks like a high BABIP guy to me because, like Jorge Soler, he hits the ball so hard), and it’ll be interesting to see what happens to the 4.9% BB rate and 29.3% K rate as he gets a more significant number of plate appearances. There will be struggles along the way.
But, for now, it’s quite clear that Schwarber has the ability to barrel the ball – different types of balls, in fact – with serious authority. That’s a great first step, and it’s OK to start dreaming long-term about a lineup that features a developed and productive Schwarber-Bryant-Rizzo-Soler-Russell-Baez at the heart. Heck, you can’t even call it the heart at that point. It’s just the lineup.