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Non-Tendered: Kyle Schwarber

59 players across the MLB were non-tendered before the Non-Tender deadline. A small increase from 56 last season, over the next few days we’re going to look at some of the more intriguing players that are now free agents. Today we continue with former Chicago Cub: Kyle Schwarber.

History on Kyle Schwarber:

Kyle Schwarber was a 1st Round (4th Overall) Draft Pick by the Chicago Cubs in the 2014 MLB First Year Player Draft. Coming as a Junior out of Indiana University, it was an over-slot pick by the Cubs to grab a catcher with some flaws early but they had good reason to believe on him. As a freshman in college, Schwarber was a freshman All-American, he was a first-team All American following his sophomore season and in his junior year, he was a finalist for the Johnny Bench Award for the best catcher in D1 Baseball. Additionally, the summer after his freshman year, Schwarber won the playoff MVP in the Cape Cod League (CCBL) showing he had prowess with a wooden bat.

Schwarber would be put on a fast-track to the MLB after getting drafted in 2014 as he moved quickly from the Boise Hawks (Class-A-) after 5 games to the Kane County Cougars (Class-A), then after 23 games to the Daytona Cubs (Class-A Advanced). This combined with a 0.952 OPS in A-Advanced over 44 games had Schwarber get on all the major Top-100 prospect lists, while peaking at #19 (Baseball America). The next season, he would start with the Tennessee Smokies (Double-A) and make a brief stint at the MLB level to be a DH during an interleague series, but made his debut as a defensive sub on June 16th, 2015. He would get sent down to the Iowa Cubs a week later and then get recalled to the MLB in July. He would miss almost all of the 2016 season with what came out to be a torn ACL and LCL after an outfield collision in early April. He would come back and have a great World Series performance to help the Cubs win, which is notable. This has also been the only time Schwarber would hit the IL during his MLB career, and he has pretty much stick in the MLB from here on out.

Interestingly, Schwarber after making his MLB debut in the catching role was quickly moved to Left Field for the 2016 season and has been an outfielder ever since.

The Stats on Kyle Schwarber:

As scouts said with Schwarber after he was drafted, Schwarber does have raw power which had lead to a 162-game average of 36 Home Runs (!). However, this is met with a career triple-slash of .230/.336/.480 (.816 OPS) which does grade as a 113 OPS+ (and a 113 wRC+) but is lacking in batting average. Over his 6-year MLB career, Schwarber has 121 Home Runs, 279 RBI’s, 416 Hits, a 591:274 K:BB rate, and an 11:10 SB:CS rate. This has also come out to 5.1 bWAR (or 9.5 fWAR) over his career.

According to Fangraphs, Schwarber had his best season in 2018 with 3.2 fWAR as he hit to a .238/.356/.531 triple-slash with a 115 wRC+ (117 OPS+) around 26 Home Runs and it has been his only season with positive values on both offense (10.3) and defense (4.3). However, according to Baseball-Reference, Schwarber had his best season to date in 2019 with 2.1 bWAR as he hit to a .250/.339/.531 triple-slash with a 122 OPS+ (120 wRC+) around 38 Home Runs. So, why did the Cubs give up on him?

Well, Schwarber has had a lot of inconsistencies in his MLB career, including a brutal 2020 campaign. Schwarber had the lowest batting average of all qualified NL batters with his .188 BA. While he did have a .308 OPB, his average kept his SLG low at .393 (and an overall .701 OPS). This came to an 88 OPS+ (90 wRC+) and his first full season with a negative WAR at -0.2 bWAR. Schwarber also had the lowest fielding percentage across all of 2019 NL left fielders (97.4%) and the most errors (6) and his fielding continued to stay below average in 2020 with a dWAR of -0.5 ( -1.0 in 2019) and a Def of -3.7 (-7.1 in 2019).

Should the Yankees Be Interested?

Kyle Schwarber has long been a player on Brian Cashman’s radar, but just like Eddie Rosario who I discussed yesterday, he doesn’t make sense for the Yankees. His expected contract before being non-tendered was around $7M to $9.3M, and with options of using Clint Frazier at the same position for far cheaper and likely better defense and all-around game makes it a hard sell to me.

I’d like to get a left-handed bat into the Yankees every day line-up as much as the next guy, but very few options would seem to make sense given the current talent the Yankees have. Unless Frazier is to get traded- or the Yankees plan to spend on Michael Brantley- there are very few other options that I would truly consider for the 2021 Yankees starting left fielder.


Article By: Ethan Semendinger

Published On: December 4th, 2020


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