This week we have discussed the Chicago Cubs second through fifth round draft picks in last Thursday’s MLB draft and today we will discuss the Cubs first round selection, Kyle Schwarber. Schwarber officially signed with the Cubs yesterday for 3.125 million dollars, which is almost 1.5 million less than the amount allotted for the fourth overall selection.
*The following are my own personal assessments and in no way represent the opinions of the Chicago Cubs organization
Kyle Schwarber, a junior out of Indiana, was a little bit of surprise pick at fourth overall but I believe it will be well worth it. Similar to Kris Bryant, from last year’s draft, Schwarber was considered by most to be the best hitter available. He has a real solid frame and a compact and powerful swing that allows him to hit for monstrous power (40hr in 3 years at IU), and a high average (.358 in 2014) from the left-side. But don’t let Schwarber’s size fool you, he is a good athlete and runs surprisingly well (10 steals in 2014). Schwarber’s athleticism will allow the Cubs to move him to the outfield, where most expect he will wind up, in order to get his bat in the lineup. Scouts say that Schwarber is a below average defensive catcher, and personally I agree. He did throw out 16 of 27 base runners in 2014 and handled a staff that posted an off the charts 2.33 ERA collectively, so lets not close the door on his future as a catcher just yet, but he does struggle with consistent footwork and delivery to second base. Also, another reason for getting him out from behind the plate would be to keep him in the lineup. Now a days we are seeing more and more catcher move elsewhere to preserve their bats (i.e. Joe Mauer & Buster Posey). Schwarber is a “can’t miss bat” and chances are that being a full time outfielder, which is a wide-open position in Chicago right now, will serve him better than being a fulltime catcher.
But Schwarber’s true value lies in his intangibles. Chicago director of scouting, Jason McLeod, raved about Schwarber’s personality, intelligence, and team-oriented attitude. The fact that Schwarber is a clubhouse-changing personality is huge for the Cubs, who are in the midst of trying to change their clubhouse culture. And the best part is that Schwarber is on the fast track to the big leagues because of his skills and college experience.
Projection: I expect Kyle Schwarber to be patrolling leftfield for the Cubs by the end of 2016 or 2017. I say leftfield mostly because it will be a much quicker path to the big leagues and less so in reference to his current ability as a catcher. The Cubs need bats and Schwarber projects as a guy with 30 homerun potential and the ability to hit close to .300. Look for Schwarber to join Anthony Rizzo, Kris Bryant and Javier Baez as a member of the Cubs future “murderer’s row”.
Tags: Anthony Rizzo, Baseball, catcher, Chicago, Chicago Cubs, first round, Indiana University, Jason McLeod, Javier Baez, Kris Bryant, Kyle Schwarber, MLB, mlb draft