Although he didn’t dominate the pre-draft Cubs rumors until very late in the game, and although he was viewed by many pundits as a mid-first-round talent that the Cubs took only because of financial considerations, the team has said from day one that IU slugging catcher/outfielder Kyle Schwarber was the top positional talent on their draft board. Moreover, Schwarber was number two overall to the Cubs, behind consensus top talent, high school lefty Brady Aiken.
Since signing shortly after the draft, Schwarber has done nothing to prove the Cubs wrong. In fact, he’s pretty much blown anyone’s wildest expectations out of the water.
To be sure, it’s been just 12 games so far for Schwarber, so there’s plenty of time yet for a book to be developed, for Schwarber to struggle, for natural regression to occur, and for Schwarber to have to go through an adjustment phase. But, in his first five professional games at short season Low-A Boise, Schwarber proved in that tiny window of time that he needed a greater challenge. And, in seven games at Low-A Kane County, Schwarber is doing more of the same.
Let’s be awed by some of his professional numbers so far, through 12 total games (so, yeah, small sample size and all that) …
- Overall, Schwarber is hitting .524/.580/1.095. It’s no surprise that he’s leading all 2014 draft picks so far in offensive production.
- In 12 games, Schwarber has six homers. If only his homers counted as hits in his 42 at bats, he’d have a .143 batting average.
- Schwarber has an incredible 11 extra-base hits in those 12 games (and 42 at bats). Nearly 1/3 of the times Schwarber’s plate appearances end in a ball in play, that ball goes for extra bases.
- I know what you’re thinking: but what about his plate discipline? Well, it’s pretty much been perfect. Schwarber has taken five walks (10% walk rate) and has struck out just five times. Generally-speaking, if a guy is walking 2/3rds as often as he strikes out, he’s doing well. Schwarber’s gone 1:1 so far. Also, when a hitter has more extra-base hits than strikeouts, he’s doing something really special. Schwarber has more than doubled his strikeouts with extra-base hits so far.
- Schwarber’s BABIP is .500, which you’d normally toss out as unsustainable, but when you consider the power, the discipline, and the 23.7% line drive rate (31.6% at Kane County), you realize that his BABIP is mostly just the product of him hitting the shit out of the ball.
- Oh yeah, notice how his batting average is higher than his BABIP? That’s pretty much impossible. It requires you to almost never strike out (check) and hit a ton of home runs (check).
- A fun one: 60% of Schwarber’s outfield fly balls have left the park. Yes, so far, when he hit a fly ball out of the infield, it was more likely to fall in the parking lot than an outfielder’s glove.
- If all six homers had come in the Midwest League, which started in early April, Schwarber would already be 27th in the league. In 12 games.
- The median age in the Midwest League is a hair over 22, and Schwarber turned 21 earlier this year.
- In his 18 games at Boise last year, Kris Bryant hit .354/.416/.692, which was awesome. Again, through 12 games at Boise and Kane County, Schwarber is hitting .524/.580/1.095.