Joe Maddon spoke in detail about Kyle Schwarber‘s development during his media availability at the Winter Meetings last week. The Cubs manager was jubilant about his outfielder’s potential for 2019 and he believes we should all exercise more patience as Schwarber continues to develop.
When it comes to the bat of Kyle Schwarber, Joe Maddon preaches patience. pic.twitter.com/wYHm346lYt
— Cubs Talk (@NBCSCubs) December 16, 2018
“We need to nurture methods, thought process at the plate,” Maddon emphasized.
One of those thought processes could be Schwarber’s approach when behind in the count. We highlighted the way pitchers changed their pitch sequencing in the second half by throwing more pitches away to Schwarber. Combine that with a barking back and it’s no wonder the slugger struggled as 2018 wound down.
Despite those issues, Schwarber still finished with a .343 wOBA and had a 118 DRC+ that surpassed that of MVP candidate Javy Baez (115). Maddon still believes the best is to come for Schwarber and that more at-bats will make a dramatic difference.
“[Schwarber] missed an entire year [in 2016], and he’s still playing catch-up regarding at-bats,” Maddon explained
The mental side of the game will factor, but Maddon believes Schwarber’s ongoing mechanical changes will yield greater value. In fact, the Cubs manager thinks Schwarber’s issues — like his abysmal clutch performance — are “mostly mechanical.” Maddon finished his comments by reiterating that “[Schwarber’s] got all the ability in the world.”
While it’s not surprising that the Cubs are publicly hailing Schwarber as a developing slugger with astronomical potential, Maddon makes fair points. Consider that Schwarber has a career wOBA above .340 in nearly 1500 plate appearances. And it should be clear to anyone who’s watched him that he can be so much better.