I’m gonna be really transparent with you: I just wanted an excuse to show some baseball plays. There’s nothing going on around baseball right now – but we’re in a weird spot because SO MUCH activity is still ahead that you can’t even really analyze complete rosters yet – and I wanted to enjoy some fun plays.
The fun plays I am going to enjoy right now – and you can join me if you would like – are the two times this past season that Kyle Schwarber went flying into the stands to make a catch.
First, he pulled it off at Wrigley Field, against/into/over the very hard wall there, diving into the stands to make a catch against the Yankees to keep that marathon game going in the 12th inning:
That is a freaking Jeter catch, man.
And the second time, in July against the Braves, Schwarber was in a little less danger, but got more flippy and less dive-y:
So, that second catch wasn’t as insane as the first, but it did produce a pretty incredible picture, with so many awesome reaction faces:
.@kschwarb12 was here.
— Chicago Cubs (@Cubs) July 18, 2017
I’m not going to sit here and tell you that Schwarber was an elite defensive left fielder last year, on the basis of these plays or otherwise, but in his first year back from a massive knee injury, I thought he was perfectly passable out there (with a fantastic arm). The defensive metrics are too small sample to give us much of anything (UZR/150 had him as the third base left fielder in baseball (800+ innings), but DRS had him as the fourth worst. So, yeah, ignore the data for now).
Here’s hoping Schwarber’s defense improves even further in 2018, which would be a quiet but meaningful boon to his overall value to the Cubs. I think the bat is going to be there. But if the glove becomes league average, he’s suddenly worth so much more.
[***SITE NOTE***: Yes, I’m repeating myself, but I want to make sure people see this. If you’ve been having issues with the BN home page not showing you the latest posts, make sure you clear your browser cache completely (not just refreshing the page). I am currently working on attempted fixes behind the scenes – it is an especially tricky, frustrating issue – but clearing your browser cache will make sure the “fixes” show up on your end.]