After missing out on a high school pitching phenom, the Chicago Cubs decided to draft the best hitter in last Thursday’s draft, who is Indiana’s Kyle Schwarber, who plays mostly catcher, but outfield too.
“We thought Kyle was the best hitter, hands down, in this year’s draft”, said Vice President of Scouting and Player Development, Jason McLeod. “He really does everything that we like from an offensive standpoint in terms of controlling the strike zone and hitting for average and hitting for power.”
Schwarber has a .341 batting average with 40 home runs, and 149 RBI in 180 games in three seasons, with the Hoosiers. He has scored 182 runs, 41 doubles, 12 triples, and has walked 116 times compared to 91 strikeouts. He also has a .437 on-base percentage. Also, he threw out 33 percent (51 of 154) of would be base stealers.
This past season, he was one of three finalists for the Johnny Bench Award, which is given to the top Division One Catcher in the nation. He hit .358 with 14 homers, and 48 RBI. The left-handed hitter recorded a .464 on-base percentage.
The Cubs aren’t sure if the Ohio native will stay at catcher or move to a corner outfield spot. “He’s certainly got the mentality and the makeup to do it,” McLeod said. “He’s got the will to do it. We’ll let that playout. We feel he’s a really good, underrated athlete that can certainly move to an outfield position in the corner. His bat is really why we drafted him.”
The Cubs think he can maybe move up through the system fast, but who knows for sure. One thing for sure though, is that he can thank his Grandma for part of his success as a catcher, because she told him that she wanted him to be good just like a certain Hall of Famer named Johnny Bench, who absolutely excelled at catcher during his career.