This is a fun and random Friday night transaction for the Cubs (to pair with the decision to officially decline the Jon Lester option).
Today the Cubs claimed infielder Max Schrock off of waivers from the Cardinals. They also outrighted reliever Rex Brothers (he was going to be non-tendered later this offseason in any case).
Schrock, 26, was an interesting A’s prospect for a couple years – corresponding with Dan Kantrovitz’s time there, for what it’s worth – before he was traded to the Cardinals in the Stephen Piscotty deal. Unfortunately for Schrock, as soon as he joined the Cardinals organization – and reached AAA – he stopped hitting:
As you can see, he’s a really interesting profile as an extreme high-contact bat with super high BABIPs throughout his minor league career. We’ve seen it very often with these smaller, high-contact, no-power types, though, that as they reach AAA and/or MLB, the higher-quality pitching and defense erode the BABIP and raise the strikeout rate, while also more frequently challenging a guy. It looks like adjustments were made in 2019 to attempt to deal with that issue, hence the big improvement in power and walk rate, but also the huge jump in strikeout rate. Work in progress.
Clearly, the Cubs think there’s something to work with here, and this is the TYPE of guy they need to hit on when going outside the organization for a developmental piece on the positional side. Of course, this is a waiver claim for a reason – the odds against hitting big are high. But hey, he did homer this year against the Cubs at Wrigley Field …
If Schrock, a lefty bat, can hit just a little bit, he’s probably a nice utility piece to have around, as he can play all over (mostly 2B/3B, but also shortstop and corner outfield if necessary). Schrock has two minor league options left, so all this move costs is a 40-man roster spot for now.