One Last Look at Kyle Schwarber

I scouted Kyle Schwarber on Saturday and wrote my thoughts here. I encourage those who have not yet read that and have instead found themselves here to go back and skim over it for context. This afternoon in Mesa I was able to get a second look at Schwarber¬†and see if any progress was evident. I believe there was and, while I can’t deny the way Schwarber is running the bases is slightly disconcerting, I think there’s enough juice in the bat right now to justify rostering him over either Chris Coghlan or Jorge Soler.

Schwarber’s hitter’s timing was a bit better today than it was on Saturday and the quality of his contact was stronger even though he was beating the baseball into the ground. He went 1-for-3 with a double which came on a hard hit ball that got through Surprise 1B Ryan O’Hearn and careened into right field. Schwarber coasted from home to first and then tried for second in a similarly slow manner. The throw from right field was wide of second base and left the infield entirely, but Schwarber neglected to take third despite the opportunity to and joked about his desire not to run anymore with Surprise defenders.

On a walk earlier in the game, Schwarber’s lead from first was modest but he looked comfortable putting weight on his left leg as he leaned back toward the bag in anticipation of a throw over from the pitcher. I noted in my post this morning that Schwarber spent most of Saturday’s at-bats drifting onto his front side and avoided (consciously or otherwise) putting weight on his rear leg through contact. Today he took the hardest swing I’ve seen from him in his two games and showed no hesitancy to lean on his back side to try to create extra lift in his swing. The bat speed isn’t totally back but looks viable and Schwarber’s hand-eye coordination is in similar shape.

The video I tweeted of Schwarber’s double drew concerns from fans about the manner in which Schwarber is running. Kyle Schwarber, even when healthy, is a 20 or 30 runner on the scouting scale, and is not an asset on the bases whatsoever. I suspect he’s been more cautious than is entirely necessary, but if he’s rostered for the World Series it isn’t going to be because of his legs. Concern over how he’s running seems overwrought to me and is far less important than where he’s at offensively which doesn’t look like Kyle Schwarber, Missile Defense System but viable none the less. Given what I’ve seen here in Arizona I think Schwarber is capable of providing more offensive impact than Chris Coghlan or Jorge Soler. Coghlan’s versatility is nice but far less important on a roster with Javier Baez, Ben Zobrist, Willson Contreras and other versatile defenders. Schwarber looks like he could at least grind out good at-bats and run into an extra base hit here and there, especially as he continues to improve his feel for hitting with more reps. Rostering him doesn’t seem crazy to me. In fact, I endorse it.

Eric Longenhagen is from Catasauqua, PA and currently lives in Tempe, AZ. He spent four years working for the Phillies Triple-A affiliate, two with Baseball Info Solutions and two contributing to prospect coverage at Previous work can also be found at Sports On Earth, CrashburnAlley and Prospect Insider.

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According to the latest reports this won’t be our last look at Schwarber. He’s on to Cleveland! This series is going to be epic!