In a move that no one – literally, no one – saw coming, the Cubs pulled off the first big surprise of the night by selecting Indiana slugger Kyle Schwarber. And while the move was widely panned as a reach it’s really not that out of character for Theo Epstein and Co. In fact, it’s pretty much status quo for the organization.
Back in my book, The 2014 Prospect Digest Annual, I penned an article entitled, The Chicago Cubs: The Right Way to Rebuild. The focus was how the franchise was stockpiling young, power-oriented, potential middle-of-the-bats. The crux of the piece is quite simple: offense, especially power, has been declining around the league for several years now, putting above-average bats at a premium, and there’s less risk when compared to young arms.
And guess what? Schwarber fits that bill.
In his draft profile I wrote, “Above-average power potential, something along the lines of 30-HR territory in a full season, strong plate discipline and solid contact skills. Schwarber’s peak should rest somewhere in the .265/.340/.520 range. His ceiling will be negatively impacted thanks to some defensive limitations at either position (first base or catcher). A better version of Evan Gattis.”
Was the move a bit of reach? Perhaps. After all, I had Schwarber as the 17th best collegiate prospect in the class. But he’s exactly the type of player the Cubs have been hoarding for several years now. Plus, he’s likely going to be a below-slot signing so the savings could be used later in the draft.
In a not-so-shocking-move, the Chicago Cubs continued to stay true to their rebuilding plan. A potentially very savvy pick.
Photo Courtesy of IU Athletics via IndiansPublicMedia.org.