So Close to a Huge Moment, Schwarber's 30th HR but Uneven Production, Big Prospects, and Other Bullets

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So Close to a Huge Moment, Schwarber’s 30th HR but Uneven Production, Big Prospects, and Other Bullets

Chicago Cubs

Thank goodness the cursed Players Weekend is over, with its poisoned uniforms in which no team could possibly be expected to win. Note that the Mets, whom the Cubs play this week, were also swept at home (by the Braves) while wearing the whites. Clearly, it was all just the uniforms. (Please ignore that the Cardinals swept the Rockies in St. Louis wearing the whites – clearly, that’s just because the Rockies are awful on the road.)

  • The Cubs haven’t been swept in three at home since September 2017, so yeah, that series really sucked. Happy Monday!
  • They were so close to a huge, energy-generating win, too. After the late comeback, Nick Castellanos thought he walked it off, and man, that place would have erupted – but there was just enough wind to keep it in:

  • So much of the conversation is different today if the wind just dies down for a minute and Castellanos’s ball leaves the yard. I’m not even saying the convo *should* be different, but that’s just kind of how the emotional swings go. Alas.
  • And now the Cubs head back out on the road, starting tomorrow against the Mets and a very, very good trio of pitchers (they’ll face Stroman-Syndergaard-deGrom). Nick Castellanos has the right attitude, and I believe him when he says it – just need his teammates to buy in:

  • For a little while, Kyle Schwarber’s 30th homer of the year was really awesome:

  • As with many Cubs this year, Schwarber’s season has been near fine, but disappointing based on talent. He’s hitting just .225/.318/.486, with a 103 wRC+, dragged down mostly by a brutal .236 BABIP. Much of that is bad luck, sure – when you hit it as hard as he does, you usually have an elevated BABIP – I think at this point, with a career BABIP of just .261, it’s pretty clear his game is such that when he’s not hitting dingers, he’s not collecting many hits.
  • And of course a huge part of that is due to his speed, pull tendencies on the ground, and the shift. Since 2017, among batters who have hit at least 100 ground balls, only 98 players in baseball have a worst batting average on those grounders than Schwarber’s .209. There have been 440 such players, so Schwarber is in the bottom quartile.
(Photo by Nuccio DiNuzzo/Getty Images)

 

  • The good news, such as you want to see it? When Schwarber hits the ball in the air, he gets hits at a very high level – since the start of 2017, there have been 402 players with at least 100 batted fly balls, and Schwarber’s average on *those* is .314, 54th in all of baseball. Schwarber in the air? Great. Schwarber on the ground? Very below average. And right now, even though he doesn’t have a huge groundball rate, it’s enough to cripple his BABIP, and, combined with an elevated strikeout rate, it brings his total production down to merely league average. We don’t usually linger on batting average around here, but right now, although he’s taking walks and slugging well, Schwarber simply isn’t getting enough hits to be a solidly productive player overall.
  • At least there is the always-present hope that things are moving in the right direction:

  • Development *does* happen during the season, and I’m ever-hopeful when it comes to Schwarber. Heck, if the strikeouts can come way down for him, then the BABIP problems will impact his batting average less, and thus his batting average comes up, thus his overall production comes up. A guy can dream.
  • iPads, coffee brewers, and more are your Deals of the Day at Amazon today.
  • The Cubs have a trio of middle infield prospects way down on the farm to keep an eye on:

  • Man, these would have been awesome:

  • Nicely done, Padres:

  • The latest podcast, with me and Sahadev Sharma:

https://twitter.com/TheAthleticCHI/status/1165934662730047489



Author: Brett Taylor

Brett Taylor is the Editor and Lead Cubs Writer at Bleacher Nation, and you can find him on Twitter at @BleacherNation and @Brett_A_Taylor.