The Little Boy is currently sitting next to me, as close as can be, watching me type. This very sentence – he’s watching me type it. I indicated that he might have more fun doing something else, but he declined. So he is watching me type. Type, type, type. I am unnerved.
- Dave Kaplan writes about Kyle Schwarber’s early struggles in 2017, and the offseason of conditioning and baseball work that he hopes will get him off to a better start in 2018. Among the bits in there, this quote from a rival executive certainly sticks out: “Everyone who doubted this kid may end up way off on their evaluation because he is a great hitter and now that he is almost two years removed from his knee injury …. I think he has a chance to be as good a hitter as [the Cubs] have in their order.”
- Maybe you’re ready to dismiss that out of hand, given the presence of Kris Bryant and Anthony Rizzo, two of the most gifted hitters in the game. And if that’s you, I won’t push you too hard in the other direction. I will instead only point out that Schwarber came to the big leagues with the same caliber scouting evaluation and minor league numbers that Bryant and Rizzo did, and then immediately hit out of the gate. As of the close of 2015 – remember that postseason tear he went on? – I don’t think anyone would have thought it crazy to say he had a “chance to be as good a hitter as [the Cubs] have in their order.” And what has really happened since then to derail that thinking? A major knee injury that completely wiped out a development year and took up most of his following offseason with rehab (a bit of World Series heroism sprinkled in there). Then a first half of a season – following that offseason of rehab – where he struggled to find his footing again, was demoted to AAA to get back on track, and then a second half where he hit .255/.338/.565 with a 131 wRC+ at age 24 in his second – yes, just second – full professional baseball season at any level.
- Unless you believe Schwarber’s offensive ceiling was never as high as Bryant or Rizzo (again, that’s fair), or unless you believe the knee injury and development time lost have irrevocably limited his ceiling (that would be fair, but I don’t think we could really know that yet), then it remains completely reasonable to say that Schwarber “has a chance to be as good a hitter as [the Cubs] have in their order.” Personally, that’s where I land. Would I bet on that definitely happening? No, because a player rarely hits his ceiling. But that doesn’t mean the chance isn’t there, and it doesn’t mean I don’t think Schwarber is going to have a big offensive year.
- Koji Uehara is looking for one more year in MLB before retiring (FanGraphs), but if he receives only minor league offers, he may just retire. Uehara, 42, had a mixed year with the Cubs – he got great results in the first half (despite unusual K and BB numbers for him), but after dealing with health issues around midseason, he alternated between ineffective and out (mostly due to the long ball, because his K and BB numbers stabilized).
- Nick Cafardo indicates here that Matt Murton is now a special assistant with the Cubs. Although he was a star in Japan, so you don’t want to say it was all about the front office, you do wonder if the Cubs bringing him back on a minor league deal last year was in part to bring him back into the fold for that kind of future.
- This is fantastic:
Happy birthday, @LenKasper!
To celebrate, we compiled some of his greatest calls in one video. pic.twitter.com/oewNtD779F
— NBC Sports Chicago (@NBCSChicago) January 22, 2018
- I will not survive this take:
BLAZING take: I want the Cubs to be the Patriots of baseball, so I actually root for the Patriots …
/logs off, never comes back
— Bleacher Nation (@BleacherNation) January 21, 2018
- Man, this guy really hates storage cubes:
- If you missed anything this weekend, catch up on the headlines here.
- I’ll have to tell The Wife about this one: Sharpies, dry erase markers, etc., are the Deal of the Day at Amazon. We go through them like crazy.