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Thursday, July 26, 2018

Kyle Schwarber Is Becoming an Elite Defender | Chicago magazine | August 2018

He’s looked pretty good in the games I’ve watched. I wouldn’t call his arm a gun but it’s probably one of the most accurate. Today he made a perfect throw to get another guy at 2B.

Jim Furtado Posted: July 26, 2018 at 06:53 PM | 39 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: cubs, kyle schwarber

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   1. Walks Clog Up the Bases Posted: July 26, 2018 at 07:33 PM (#5716582)
It's kind of crazy how much he changed his body composition in one year.

I was over at my mom's and turned the game on right before that play. While they were reviewing the play, they showed Schwarber a few times. Let's just say my mom is now a huge Schwarber fan and it has nothing to do with his on-the-field skills.
   2. Walt Davis Posted: July 26, 2018 at 09:05 PM (#5716605)
"Elite" seems quite the stretch. Rdrs puts him at +2 overall and that's -3 on plays made and +5 on his arm. UZR likes him more at +6 but that's still +5 on arm. Statcast puts him at 6 outs below average OF which (a) is probably around average for a LF but (b) there are only 8 OFs who've done worse (by "count") ... although I think most of those are LF too. That is purely range and plays made, not arm. (Statcast at baseball savant doesn't have anything on arm as far as I know although that would seem a fairly obvious and "easy" thing for them to add.) In "raw" rate terms, his RF9 last year was 1.62 in a 1.83 league and this year it's 1.76 in a 1.86 league. Call it at least an extra .1 catches made per 9 and that's about 7 more catches -- for an OF that should be about 6-7 runs. DRS is actually less kind, putting his improvement in plays made at around 1-2 runs but credits him with a 5-6 run improvement on arm.

As a former C, you'd assume he had a pretty good arm by LF standards -- not that he got to spend much time back there in the minors or majors but the main complaints (as I recall) were around receiving, blocking, footwork, not arm. Following the move to OF, the realistic hope here was always that he'd become (late-career) Brian Downing. Downing ended up with 35 assists in his 700ish games in LF. By Rtz (which includes some sort of arm component) and RF9 relative to league (which doesn't), Downing was a pretty average LF (-3 Rtz per year, maybe -5 by RF9) in his early 30s, after whatever damage 600 starts at C might have done to his "speed."

They're not perfect comps but I can't see any good reasons to raise serious objections to Downing as a comp as a hitter or a fielder.
   3. Voodoo Posted: July 26, 2018 at 09:28 PM (#5716622)
He's not elite, but he's certainly slammed the door on the idea that he was only going to be valuable in a DH league. He's at least an average fielder towards the back end of the defensive spectrum, so if he rakes he's gonna be a star. I think there's another leap forward with the bat in his near-term future.
   4. Walt Davis Posted: July 26, 2018 at 09:59 PM (#5716632)
It's kind of crazy how much he changed his body composition in one year.

I dunno about that. Such things are never easy of course and harder to maintain, but Schwarber was already fit, he was just carrying 25 pounds of pointless fat on top of it. Drop your caloric intake while maintaining your workout schedule and losing 25 pounds of excess fat over 12-16 weeks is "easy." There are also some theories/studies out there about "fat burning zones", "go slow to go fast", "making the body more efficient at burning fat/carbs higher into the workout zone", etc. that might have something to them and therefore speed up that process.

Over the last 6 months or so I have (yet again :-( ) dropped about 25 pounds through (mostly) sticking to a diet and adding two hard mid-week workouts to my regular weekend cycling. Setting new PBs regularly on all of my climbs (as you'd expect dropping that much weight) ... would all be at least a bit better if I hadn't lost 6 weeks to hernia surgery. If I could afford a personal trainer, a personal chef (or something similar) and had the incentive of making millions more dollars in the near future if I got fitter, I'm guessing I could do that in 3 months. Already being a pro athlete, it's a bit harder for Kyle to achieve that sort of improvement but he does have that money**, doesn't have to work 40 hours in the offseason and he's not in his mid-50s.

** I don't know how much a "truly" personal chef costs (quite a bit I'd imagine) but I assume there are high-end, fitness-oriented versions of "here are your week's meals in a box" delivery services.
   5. Walks Clog Up the Bases Posted: July 27, 2018 at 02:25 AM (#5716673)
I packed on a TON of weight about four years ago while living with a now ex-girlfriend. While I'd always been the kind to put on fat fairly easily, I did weight training and ate pretty well most of the time to stick around the 170s-180s range at 5'10". In the year and a half that she and I lived together, I packed on about 50 pounds. Obviously not all her fault, but there was a sort of perfect storm that resulted in me not exercising and eating like utter #### for most of that time.

Since then, I've followed a similar pattern where I'll weight train and eat well enough where I'll drop about 20-30 pounds over the course of five or six months. Admittedly, the last three years, I've gotten bogged down around the holidays and packed a lot of that weight back on, though never quite reaching the weight I was near the end of living with my ex.

Currently in the process of dropping weight again while taking a more balance approach to it (i.e. I'm dropping about 2 pounds a week through diet alone and I'm not starving myself or anything), which I feel like is a more sustainable way to avoid burning out and binging your way back to your old weight.

Anyway, I get that Schwarber has added incentive and more accessibility to things that would make such a transformation easier. But as we've seen with plenty of players, that's not anywhere close to a sure sign that a player will make the most of those factors.
   6. Lassus Posted: July 27, 2018 at 08:22 AM (#5716698)
Obviously not all her fault

How is that even partly her fault? :-)
   7. McCoy Posted: July 27, 2018 at 08:30 AM (#5716700)
Got up to about 209 pounds during my post wedding week as we basically drank and ate all week long. Slimmest I've been since is 200.9 but usually sit in the 202 to 205 range. I can lose weight but I can generally only do that when the wife is away on travel and put on pounds when she is home.

As for Schwarber he is young and athlete. I would expect him to be able to shed baby fat quickly if he sets his mind to it. I wasn't an athlete in the same stratosphere as Kyle nor did was I in his weight stratosphere but when I was in my early to mid 20's I could shave off weight quickly without even thinking about it. Hell, in my early 30's I dropped about 20+ pounds in less than a year without even trying or even knowing I was doing it. I simply went from a sedentary job where I would eat to make up for the boredom of the job to a job that kept me running around constantly and I didn't have time to snack. I was down to 170 pounds and I was around 33 to 34 when that happened.
   8. PreservedFish Posted: July 27, 2018 at 08:48 AM (#5716706)
I always wonder how many of you lot are morbidly obese.
   9. McCoy Posted: July 27, 2018 at 08:54 AM (#5716708)
Well, that ain't me.
   10. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: July 27, 2018 at 08:58 AM (#5716709)
As for Schwarber he is young and athlete.

He is strong like bull.
   11. Rally Posted: July 27, 2018 at 09:06 AM (#5716714)
They're not perfect comps but I can't see any good reasons to raise serious objections to Downing as a comp as a hitter or a fielder.


Not a perfect comp, but not a bad one considering the rarity of the catcher to left field move. Above average but not elite hitters, high OBP, power, and both worked hard to make themselves decent outfielders. The differences:

1. Strikeouts. Schwarber has 95 so far in 91 games, that is more than any full season of Downing's career. Most of that is just the baseball world we live in for 2018.
2. Downing hit for much better average (related to #1). He had a few .240 seasons but for the most part was a very consistent .270 hitter.
3. Downing was an all-star catcher before moving to OF, Schwarber was playing OF more often than C from the day he was drafted.
4. Speaking of being drafted, Downing wasn't.
5. Brian hit right handed, Kyle lefthanded. Kyle's batting stance is nothing out of the ordinary. Downing had such an extreme open stance, the only player I've seen since he retired doing anything like it was Tony Batista.
6. Brian boosted his OBP with the HBP. Looks like Schwarber is the type who tries to get out of the way.
7. I have not named a cat after Kyle Schwarber. Yet. I kind of doubt I'll ever get to it because Brian Downing Kaat is 17 years old and still in good health and my living space is limited in the number of animals I can take in. And I've got a backlog of names, still have not named a cat Vladimir or Chone Jr.

   12. bunyon Posted: July 27, 2018 at 09:08 AM (#5716716)
I always wonder how many of you lot are morbidly obese.

Hi.


Okay, not morbidly. But the docs definitely would like me to lose weight. As others have said, when you're really heavy, a little extra exercise and a little less food can create a big change fairly fast. I spent six months in South America, without a car, and lost 20 pounds without effort. Six months back in the USA and it was all back plus some. Not healthy. My wife (who is slim, trim and in extraordinary shape) pointed out I was allowed to walk places in the USA and need not eat two plates each meal. I'm down 10 since that realization. On the heavy end, the necessary changes aren't that drastic.

I agree with the assessment that Schwarber was in really good shape with some fat on top which would be fairly easy to lose with some effort. And he obviously made the effort (and has access to resources making it easy).


Calling him "elite" also makes the point that it's always better to be bad and then good rather than great and then good.
   13. PreservedFish Posted: July 27, 2018 at 09:16 AM (#5716719)
As documented on the pop culture thread, I've been on a low-carb "keto" diet for the past couple months, which feels fine but has not led to dramatic weight loss or anything. I'm on the very edge of "overweight" according to BMI - "dad bod" is probably a good description, although I'm in better shape now than when I was younger - but I'd like to be a bit trimmer.
   14. BDC Posted: July 27, 2018 at 09:18 AM (#5716720)
I'm 6'1", 198 lbs. as of this morning. I think this is still too heavy, but I've lost ten pounds this summer, much of it, like bunyon, because I was not in the US for awhile and walked a lot and ate better. I tend to gain weight during semesters and lose it when I'm not in the classroom. I may be one of the few people in America who tends to lose weight over Christmas and New Year's.
   15. Jose is an Absurd Force of Nature Posted: July 27, 2018 at 09:22 AM (#5716722)
Pablo Sandoval basically lost his 2016 season to being a fat tub of goo. He got himself into shape over the winter and was posting pictures on Twitter of himself in shape and it was pretty clear he was in much better shape for 2017. Every picture showed him looking positively ripped.

Then he showed up for Spring Training.

He hadn't actually gained any weight or anything but it was a stark reminder that "in shape" compared to an ordinary Joe and "in shape" compared to world class athletes are two very different things. Sandoval suddenly looked fat and slow and out of shape and his performance reflected it.
   16. McCoy Posted: July 27, 2018 at 09:23 AM (#5716723)
Kyle Schwarber is the type of hitter that you feel should already have a couple of 5 WAR seasons under his belt but for a variety reasons does not. He just looks like a guy who at this point should be pumping out 5 WAR seasons until he is thirty and then declines. Hopefully he'll get to that point.
   17. bunyon Posted: July 27, 2018 at 09:30 AM (#5716726)
I'm on the very edge of "overweight" according to BMI

You're going to have a harder time losing weight (sorry). Going from well overweight to just a little overweight is relatively easy. Going from a little to good is harder. And, as, Jose points out, going from "good weight" to elite athlete is damned near impossible past a certain age.

I spent much of my adulthood oscillating between good weight and a little over. I tweaked my back and, six months later, was well over. Now I oscillate between a little over and a lot. Maybe I'll get younger soon.
   18. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: July 27, 2018 at 09:37 AM (#5716731)
Downing was an all-star catcher before moving to OF, Schwarber was playing OF more often than C from the day he was drafted.

I'm nit-picking a little, but it really demonstrates how hard he's working at getting competent in the OF. In the minors, he was mostly a catcher - after being drafted in 2014, he played 56 games across the 3 levels of A ball and caught 20/played OF 36; in 2015, he was exclusively a catcher in AA & AAA, then got called up to DH and the Cubs starting giving him OF starts (both corners), but he still caught 15 times in the bigs (he didn't play any OF in ST that year either). He looked his worst in 2015 - he looked worse in the playoffs than during the season, IMO - and that's where he earned his bad reputation. For 2016, the plan was to make him a full-time OF, though he did catch a inning or two in ST; then he blew out his knee the first week of the year and didn't play in the field again until 2017 ST.

Shorter version, he pretty much learned to play the OF in the majors, so even if "elite" is the wrong word to describe his defense, where he is now is elite compared to where he started.
   19. PreservedFish Posted: July 27, 2018 at 09:39 AM (#5716733)
I guess the Cubs weren't wrong when they didn't trade him, as everyone thought they should. I agree that he "is the type of hitter that you feel should already have a couple of 5 WAR seasons under his belt." I can easily envision him becoming an elite hitter.
   20. Zonk is a Doppleclapper Posted: July 27, 2018 at 09:48 AM (#5716736)
I think he might be elite among 'true' LFers - it's just that few regular LFers rank all that high compared against the entire spectrum. Especially with Marte now in CF - I'm not sure I can quickly think of a LF I'd put ahead of him...

The 9 assists help - but they really haven't been any cheap ones I can recall (i.e., guys falls down or something). In fact, they seem a lot more like guys like Lindor or Harrison Bader slicing a ball down the line, Schwarber taking a near-perfect route to cutting the ball off, quickly planting, and then making a strong, accurate throw. I.e., - the types of things where a fast baserunner should be trying to stretch because even a perfect retrieve and throw is still gonna be close.

At some point, the assists are likely to fall just because coaches and batters stop trying to run on him... but he's a plus defender now - a really amazing thing for him and a credit to the work he's put in.

If one wants to take the position that a LF can only be truly elite if said LF is really a CFer forced there by circumstance, OK (or the occasional Bonds freak, I guess)... I could accept that as a compromise. I mean, he'd be fine in RF, too - but I'm putting Schwarbs on the CF depth chart.
   21. McCoy Posted: July 27, 2018 at 09:48 AM (#5716737)
Like all things it depends. I don't think selling low in the middle of 2016 would have done much and the Cubs did win the WS so picking up Chapman for Schwarber wouldn't have been all that beneficial though it would have kept Torres in the system. Now if they had thrown in Miller as well? I'm guessing Miller would have helped in the playoffs and at least game 2 turns out differently and possibly game 1 as well.
   22. Rally Posted: July 27, 2018 at 10:47 AM (#5716791)
Like all things it depends. I don't think selling low in the middle of 2016 would have done much and the Cubs did win the WS so picking up Chapman for Schwarber wouldn't have been all that beneficial though it would have kept Torres in the system. Now if they had thrown in Miller as well? I'm guessing Miller would have helped in the playoffs and at least game 2 turns out differently and possibly game 1 as well.


Schwarber looks pretty good right now but Torres certainly appears more valuable - 4 years younger, can play middle infield, higher OPS+ for 2018. But Torres was not ready to help them in October 2016. That WS was so close that they probably don't win without Schwarber, 3 hits in game 7. He didn't score or drive in any runs but he did get on base to start the 10th and his pinch runner scored the go-ahead run.

Now if Miller and Chapman go to the Cubs for Schwarber? I think that makes it a lock that the Cubs would beat the Indians, most likely well before a G7 would have happened, except that I doubt they are playing the Indians. I know the Indians swept the Red Sox and took the Jays out in 5 games, but 6 of their 7 wins were fairly close and most of them involved Andrew Miller throwing up zeros in the middle innings for a team that was woefully short (due to injuries) on starting pitching.

It's anybody's guess how a Cubs-Red Sox or Cubs-Blue Jays series would have turned out, but I have to like the odds for a team that had Miller and Chapman in the pen.

   23. dejarouehg Posted: July 27, 2018 at 11:12 AM (#5716803)
Big Schwarber fan. Clearly his years as a catcher have enabled him to make some very impressive throws. He still takes some shaky routes to the ball and is not comfortable on balls hit at hi (who is?), but appears to have improved at everything.

Morbidly obese? If I lost the equivalent to your average 4th grader life would be better. Reached maximum skin expansion when I got out of breath just bending over to tie my shoes. Losing weight in your 50's is so much harder than it used to be. (But hey, if Jenna Jameson can lose a tone of weight, so can I!)
   24. Man o' Schwar Posted: July 27, 2018 at 11:44 AM (#5716829)
I've been pleasantly surprised by Schwarber - he was a bit of a tank out there in the past, but for someone who is basically still learning the new position he's doing an amazing job. And guys all over the league have underestimated his arm. He's made some terrific throws, particularly (as noted above) on balls hit toward the line, where he runs over, spins, and cuts runners down at second base.

He may not be elite, but I have no problem with the idea of keeping him out there in a close game in the late innings (rather than going the defensive replacement route) - I wouldn't have said that in 2016.

And good on him for getting in shape. He could have gone the Pablo Sandoval route and continued to get bigger every year. I'm sure dropping 30 pounds is lot easier on his reconstructed knee as well.
   25. Walks Clog Up the Bases Posted: July 27, 2018 at 11:59 AM (#5716847)
How is that even partly her fault? :-)


Ha, well I know it's ultimately on me. A better way to rephrase it would've been I was in an environment where it was really tough to stay on track for a host of reasons. The fact that I've yo-yoed a bit in the three years since we separated shows that at the root of it, though, it was on me.
   26. Walks Clog Up the Bases Posted: July 27, 2018 at 12:02 PM (#5716850)
I've been pleasantly surprised by Schwarber - he was a bit of a tank out there in the past, but for someone who is basically still learning the new position he's doing an amazing job.


Especially considering how absolutely brutal he looked in the first game of the year.
   27. Rally Posted: July 27, 2018 at 12:05 PM (#5716852)
And good on him for getting in shape. He could have gone the Pablo Sandoval route and continued to get bigger every year. I'm sure dropping 30 pounds is lot easier on his reconstructed knee as well.


You never know what the future holds. Panda didn't expand every year. I think after a good start to his career he got out of shape and slumped in 2010, got himself into better shape and had a big 2011. It was probably a lot easier for Panda to get back into reasonable shape in his early 20s than it was in his late 20s and now early 30s.
   28. Zonk is a Doppleclapper Posted: July 27, 2018 at 12:19 PM (#5716858)
One thing Schwarber has going for him - in turns of keeping the pounds off - he's always been a really hard worker.

He wasn't really scouted out of HS and basically had to beg his way on a 2nd tier D1 program in a 2nd tier conference. He then became a star for that program, leading them to their best showing ever. Despite the college success, he was still considered a bit of a reach - or at best, a "signability pick" who certainly wouldn't go over slot, probably below (IIRC, he did). The Cubs move him around positionally, not really sure where he fits (and not expecting Willson's breakout), but he still rakes and hits the bigs.

Then, he blows up his knee and everyone basically writes him off as "see you in spring 2017".... works his butt off in rehab, and makes what really was an impressive return for the WS.

Then, he suffers through a wretched 1st half in 2017 - including plenty of clank in LF - and even gets a vacation in Des Moines out of it. He doesn't pout, works, returns, and has a much, much better 2nd half.

Finally, offseason 2017-2018 - he changes his diet and his workout regimen to address the fact that he's got a fullback-style body and you can't address that with what I'm sure was plenty of work, but just not the right work.

He's an easy guy to root for. I don't care if he "is what he is" and never actually becomes Jim Thome. I'm glad the Cubs held onto him, no matter what return they might have once gotten for him and who they'd have kept instead.

Schwarbird Nation!
   29. Never Give an Inge (Dave) Posted: July 27, 2018 at 01:16 PM (#5716896)
I always wonder how many of you lot are morbidly obese.

If the BBTF softball games are any indication, not that many. A little overweight, maybe; uncoordinated, surely, but not morbidly obese :)

Anyway, I'm not overweight, but I pretty easily gain or lose 10-15 lbs just based on whether I'm regularly running / working out. I figure a guy like Schwarber could lose 20-30 lbs. simply by running 5 miles every other day (or the equivalent on the stationary bike) and eating the same amount. That's easier said than done when you start out weighing 230 lbs. and have a reconstructed knee, but when there are millions of dollars on the line it provides some added incentive. This is not to take anything away from him--plenty of other players have had similar incentive and not been able to make the same changes.
   30. PreservedFish Posted: July 27, 2018 at 01:19 PM (#5716899)
Maybe those are the rare few that are physically capable of ascending the basement stairs.
   31. McCoy Posted: July 27, 2018 at 01:53 PM (#5716928)
It's the pessimism that keeps the weight off.
   32. Man o' Schwar Posted: July 27, 2018 at 04:13 PM (#5717031)
I'm not sure the softball game would be a great indication. Probably the morbidly obese are less likely to show up for a physical activity.

When we have the BBTF hot dog eating contest, you'll get a better sample.
   33. Walt Davis Posted: July 27, 2018 at 06:14 PM (#5717104)
To be clear, dropping the weight is "easy", keeping it off is much harder.

#13: Hmmm ... you must not be doing it right. :-) There's nothing magical about low carb or any other diet really. Weight loss/gain is nearly entirely a matter of calories in vs calories burned and what you eat to make up those calories only, at best, has an effect on the margins. So it's about finding a diet that you can live with and stick with. In my case, that has been low carb (or low-ish when I stray off of it) but that doesn't make it a right fit for everybody. The main key to low carb is that there tends not to be that many calories in meat and other high protein stuff. That means you can often eat quite a bit (so you don't feel hungry) without eating a lot of calories.

So if you're mostly finding it a workable diet for you, take a closer look to make sure you're avoiding carbs, especially sugars (check out the sugar content of sauces for example) but also look at the low-carb stuff you're eating to see where the calories are coming from. Maybe you need to boost the veggie content and cut down on the cheese; maybe replace some fatty meat with fish or chicken. I found it OK to eat some fruit but avoid the high sugar ones. It's OK to "cheat" occasionally but make sure you're not cheating once a week or a little bit everyday.
   34. John DiFool2 Posted: July 27, 2018 at 06:25 PM (#5717115)
He hadn't actually gained any weight or anything but it was a stark reminder that "in shape" compared to an ordinary Joe and "in shape" compared to world class athletes are two very different things. Sandoval suddenly looked fat and slow and out of shape and his performance reflected it.


The days when players would use spring training to get into regular season shape are long past us, aren't they? Ever since 1980 or so...? 1990 at the latest, with Canseco and McGwire leading the way there.
   35. McCoy Posted: July 27, 2018 at 06:53 PM (#5717134)

#13: Hmmm ... you must not be doing it right. :-) There's nothing magical about low carb or any other diet really. Weight loss/gain is nearly entirely a matter of calories in vs calories burned and what you eat to make up those calories only, at best, has an effect on the margins.



You don't want to wake the DRAGON!
   36. Walt Davis Posted: July 28, 2018 at 07:51 PM (#5717512)
Asking 5-WAR seasons out of Schwarber may be a bit much. Thome only had 5 of them (and another 4 in the 4.5-4.9 range) and he's an HoFer. Luzinski had just one and only one other over 4 despite putting up a 150 OPS+ 3 times (3 seasons with oWAR >5). Dunn only had 1 season with >5 oWAR, only 3 more with 4 and in those seasons, even mildly below-average defense would have been enough to drag him below those thresholds. Chris Davis's 2nd monster season was just over 5 oWAR also such that just a bit below-average defense would pull it below 5. Downing pulled it off twice, at ages 28 and 31, one of those as a C.

Beyond just the difficulty of putting up a 5-WAR season, he has the extra obstacle that he has so far completely stunk vs LHP. Many LH sluggers are quite mediocre vs LHP (then destroy RHP) but not nearly as bad as Kyle's 182/305/302, 37% K-rate line. He's got a better average this year but an ISO of just 37 (2 doubles in 67 PA). That leads to a loss of playing time (he's got a 4/1 PA platoon split) that makes it nearly impossible to reach 5 WAR ... or if he got the PT, that terrible performance would pull him below 5 WAR.

It does seem that some smart baseball people (i.e. the Cubs at least) thought and maybe still think that Schwarber has the potential to hit for a much better BA and learn to hit LHP. I've always been pretty doubtful of both. Kyle has a much earlier start but a guy like Matt Stairs is not a bad comp either. I don't know how you learn to hit LHP other than getting to play against LHP but a contending but not dominating team (as the Cubs seem to have settled into) can't afford to run that experiment, especially given their depth. So I don't know that he'll ever get a real chance to break that mold.

Of course he's still pretty young and hasn't had a lot of development time (minors or majors) and missing nearly all of 2015 no doubt set him back. And as noted he seems to be a very hard worker. Maybe he'll devote this offseason to improving against LHP, however you do that, and will become a true full-timer.

On Downing ... what I meant to say was that I see no serious objection to him as a "decent" comp for Schwarber. He's far from a perfect comp for the reasons Rally outlined.
   37. McCoy Posted: July 28, 2018 at 08:55 PM (#5717518)
Sure but if Schwarber was on Thome's career path he'd be putting up an almost 8 WAR season this year.
   38. DavidFoss Posted: July 28, 2018 at 09:10 PM (#5717525)
He's regressed a little bit since the last Schwarber-has-good-defensive-metrics thread came out. He's at +5 runs right now. Before he was +8.
   39. Walt Davis Posted: July 29, 2018 at 03:09 AM (#5717592)
Sure but if Schwarber was on Thome's career path he'd be putting up an almost 8 WAR season this year.

Yeah which is my point. Nobody ever should have felt that Schwarber was "the type of hitter that you feel should already have a couple of 5 WAR seasons under his belt." That type of hitter is Jim Thome ... or a guy who coulda been Thome but flamed out. Thome's first 5-WAR season was age 24, his second (nearly 8 as you note) was at age 25.** To expect anything like that out of Schwarber was to expect, back in 2015, that he was gonna become something close to Jim Thome. That sort of thing was possible but far from expectation.

Or my comp of Luzinski who had three 5 oWAR seasons from ages 24-27 ... all seasons in which he surpassed a 150 OPS+. Anybody who _expected_ Schwarber to be a consistent 150 OPS+ hitter did not have realistic expectations. Again, it was certainly possible but it was clearly an upside projection. Dunn had his 5 oWAR season at 24 and 4 oWAR ones at 25 and 27, roughly averaging a 140 OPS+, getting a big WAR boost from his near-400 OBP.

Note, I'm PI-less at the moment. I suspect but can't check that the number of 1B/LF with two or more 5+ oWAR seasons by age 25 is a pretty short and impressive list. Note I'm trying to be fair by focusing on oWAR -- given what we'd seen of his defense in 2015 then the 2016 knee injury, an expected 5-WAR season out of Schwarber would probably require 6 oWAR which is probably pushing a 160 OPS+.

Maybe you meant "if Schwarber was going to reach his upside" or "if Schwarber was going to become a star" then he'd probably have a couple of 5 oWAR seasons by now. That would be a fair statement.

** Those were also 3B seasons for Thome and Rfield rates him as average so he gets overall positive dWAR. Make him Schwarber in LF for age 24 and he falls to 4.5 WAR. At age 25, the dWAR's are pretty much a wash.

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