The Chicago Cubs are sending left fielder Kyle Schwarber to Triple-A to work on his swing.
The 2017 season started with such promise for Kyle Schwarber. The hero who rushed back from a devastating knee injury to deliver key hits in the World Series was expected to help usher in a new era of power-hitting leadoff men. Instead, Schwarber has floundered in his first full season in the big leagues.
In 64 games this year, Schwarber has batted .171/.295/.378 with 12 home runs. He has drawn 36 walks to go along with his blasts, continuing to showcase the raw power and plate discipline that helped make him such an exciting prospect in the first place. The leadoff experiment was a failure from the jump. Batting first, Schwarber produced an abysmal .185/.304/.356 line in 171 plate appearances.
A move down in the batting order was not enough to spark Schwarber, and with the strikeouts continuing to mount, the Cubs are ready to take a more extreme measure and option Schwarber to the minor leagues. CSN Chicago host David Kaplan was the first with the news that the Cubs plan to send Schwarber to Triple-A.
Sending Schwarber to the minor leagues was a long time coming for the Cubs. His slump at the top of the order has served to drag down the team’s offense for months. He has struck out in 75 of his 261 plate appearances and was hitting .071 over the past week. Schwarber also costs the Cubs runs in left field with his mediocre defense.
What Schwarber did in the World Series last year only served to set expectations at an unfair level when he finally made his full-season debut. Everyone lost sight of the fact that Schwarber had played in only 71 regular-season games prior to Opening Day and 17 at Triple-A. He missed an entire season of at-bats in a crucial year in his development process, regardless of how well he hit in 17 at-bats in the World Series.
Schwarber is still an elite talent with a command of the strike zone, but he is still learning how to handle big league curveballs, sliders, and changeups. He is swinging and missing at 30 percent of non-fastballs this year. The Cubs are finally making the right call and hitting the re-set button on Schwarber before it snowballs even further out of control.