In advance of today’s very, very early game, there’s a piece over at The Athletic by Sahadev Sharma that is very much worth a read.
We knew that Kyle Schwarber was sent to AAA Iowa for a variety of reasons – some clear, some more ethereal – but we didn’t hear too much in the way of specific, mechanical/approach adjustments the Cubs believed he needed to make in order to reduce the number of ground balls he was pulling, or the number of pitches he was simply missing.
Sharma’s piece has a whole lot on precisely that stuff, including explanations from the man himself.
A snippet about one of the more visible changes, as Schwarber tries to reduce some of his pre-pitch movements: “If you see now, there’s not as much movement in the load and everything like that. It’s more staying stacked and not as much of a sway now. It’s stacked and short. That was a big key for me. It keeps my head still. Keeping your head still is being able to give you depth perception and being able to see the pitch better.”
You have probably noticed that Schwarber’s bat is more frequently off of his shoulder, but his “dive” into the plate as he loads up is much smaller now, too. There are visuals in the article which really help you see how much more margin for error Schwarber is now giving himself by simply moving around less.
There’s so much more in Sharma’s piece, so check it out if you’re an Athletic subscriber.
It’s still a long way before we’ll know for sure if he’s resumed being the special hitter we know he can be, but every signal has been good so far in his return. Schwarber has hit the ball the opposite way and up the middle much more, he’s made much less soft contact, and he’s swung and missed less. The results have been there, too, as Schwarber has hit .231/.310/.577 in his seven games back up from AAA.
And he … just looks better up there, doesn’t he? I don’t *think* that’s just my mind showing me what I want to see, but he just looks more calm, confident, and with a better overall stroke.
With more data, we’ll be able to draw some more conclusions about this process, but, for now, we’ll just watch and enjoy another day of Schwarber at the plate today, hopefully looking as confident as ever.