Schwarber's Oppo Explosion, Marquee Needs, Body Work, and Other Cubs Bullets

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Schwarber’s Oppo Explosion, Marquee Needs, Body Work, and Other Cubs Bullets

Chicago Cubs

So, I had a much longer set of Bullets going as I was digging into a particular topic … but then that spiraled into a much longer piece, so I had to break it out into its own post, which will be coming shortly.

Thus, shorter and later Bullets …

  • The Cubs’ new TV network, Marquee Sports, is coming in February with the arrival of Spring Training (still waiting on the announcement of a carriage deal with Comcast, which would mean the vast majority of folks in the Cubs’ territory are covered by the major providers). To that end, hiring decisions are happening behind the scenes, but we don’t yet know who Marquee’s Cubs reporter will be – assuming they have one.
  • There is an obvious candidate on the market, though:

  • Obviously Crull knows the job well, as she’s done it the last two years – quite well, in my estimation – for NBC Sports Chicago during Cubs games. You’ve got to presume Marquee would at least want to talk to her about the role, right? In any case, these Marquee hires are gonna need to roll out very soon for a station that is supposed to be up and running in two months.
  • I really found this fascinating – the Cubs’ Director of Hitting dropping a take on the Pelicans’ plans for rehabbing would-be-rookie-star Zion Williamson:

  • Gotta love that ending line, right? There’s no reason for the Cubs’ higher-ups not to be taking cues, where appropriate, from other sports – or at least plumbing their minds and structures for best practices. The Cubs brought in two guys from the NFL last year to help run performance/strength/conditioning for their athletes (and then gutted their training staff this offseason), and I really dig the idea of allowing yourself to think a little differently going forward. Clearly, Stone thinks about player development in a very different way than just “get healthy and strong, do your swing like this, hit the ball hard.”
  • A good brief look at one of the ways Kyle Schwarber seemed to improve his performance at the plate this year – by being more aggressive down and away:

  • Schwarber’s overall willingness/ability to go the other way more frequently definitely aligns with the idea that he was being more aggressive down and away, rather than passively getting roughed up by what frequently seemed to be generous outside corner. Schwarber’s swing and natural power lend themselves very well to him being a guy who can sit back that extra fraction of a second and utilize his opposite-field power.
  • Get this: Schwarber went to the opposite field SIX percentage points more often in 2019 than in 2018. At 29.0% to the opposite field, Schwarber was actually going oppo way more than league average (25.1%), and the 11th highest rate in all of baseball! He’s an oppo guy now!
  • Oh, and guess what? It worked! Schwarber had always had success when putting the ball in play to the opposite field (he just didn’t do it very often), but in 2019, he really exploded that way:
(via FanGraphs)

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.