By now, you’ve heard about Kyle Schwarber’s physical transformation this offseason a couple dozen times. No, it won’t necessarily improve his performance at the plate in a direct way, but it very well could improve his overall durability, his breaks and recoveries in the outfield, and his quickness on the base paths.
I mean, just look at the guy:
This is what incredible hard work and discipline looks like. Anyone want to bet on Kyle Schwarber not having a big season? I'll take that bet. pic.twitter.com/IRruIjj6zE
— Bleacher Nation (@BleacherNation) February 23, 2018
The hard work and improved diet have made an obvious change to Schwarber’s body, and we’ll see how it actually plays out during the baseball season. In the meantime, we can start to get glimpses in Spring Training … like when Schwarber decides to steal two bases off of Madison Bumgarner and Buster Posey in the Cubs’ latest Cactus League win (via @ProTVSports):
— Scott Johnston/PTVS (@ProTVSports) February 25, 2018
Kyle Schwarber, professional base-stealing threat. Hey, if they’re gonna sleep on him, Schwarber may as well get some practice in the spring. I love seeing that right now when the stakes are non-existent.
I’m not going to claim to be able to tell you that Schwarber definitely looks quicker than he was last year, and there’s still some degree of “lumbering” involved in his running. But the guy looks good. There’s no question about that. His break from second base looked very fast and comfortable – at a minimum, that surgically-repaired knee is feeling good.
I don’t think we’re going to see Schwarber out there stealing a ton of bases this season, even if he slides back into the leadoff spot at some point. But an opportunistic base stealer like he just showed against the Giants? Absolutely. And he’s now already let teams know that they’ll have to pay him a little bit of attention over there. Anthony Rizzo stole 17 bases in 2015 thanks to teams underestimating his willingness to take a free base, and I think Schwarber could be that guy in 2018 (albeit maybe with just a touch more quickness).
Oh, and a bonus from that video:
New Kyle Schwarber standing next to Pablo Sandoval is your good morning moment. pic.twitter.com/DdJvVBxPZD
— Bleacher Nation (@BleacherNation) February 26, 2018