Beck: need analysis on Schwarber

Omeletpants

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Interested in your thoughts on how Schwarber stacks up offensively against other corner OF starters.
 

Omeletpants

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I think the members of this forum would appreciate his analysis and insight. Do you have to troll every post?
 

beckdawg

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I'll take a look at things and get back to you. It could be something simple that is his issue but might take awhile depending on what I find.
 

beckdawg

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So, looking at the data of Schwarber in 2019 here's a summary. His power is down a little but I think that's mostly weather related. Typically he hits better in the warm months as you'd expect. In terms of his batted ball profile, most of that looks normal though he's hitting more ground balls this year. In terms of his spray profile, he's taken 5% from each of pull and center and pushed it into his opposite field which is very interesting. His splits are also really interesting because he's essentially reversed his splits in 2019. Typically he's been terrible vs LHP and like 120 wRC+ vs RHP. This year he's 169 wRC+ vs LHP and 77 wRC+ vs RHP. Long story short, I think he's in the process of making some adjustments and he's not fully comfortable with them. With that being said, for as much as they shift on him being able to go oppo 35%+ is gonna be a big deal if it continues. Additionally, hitting LHP is always going to be a big deal for him. I don't buy that he is bad vs RHP. He had like 1100 PAs vs RHP and has shown he's pretty good there.

Now your initial question was Schwarber vs other presumably LFers offensively. There's kind of two takes I have on that. That is to say what he is now vs what I think he can be. I'll start with what I think he can be because I mean it's entirely opinion based and I can't really show facts. I think he can be a better hitter though probably not better player than Bryant. Schwarber hit .334/.432/.619 in the minors. Bryant hit .325/.424/.661 in the minors. So you're talking higher average and OBP but slightly less power although having seen them in the majors it feels like Schwarber gets to his power more than Bryant. And I realize saying this may seem silly because Bryant was basically Bryant day one where as Schwarber I'm still talking about adjustments being made. But consider this... Schwarber has 1390 PAs(not counting today and age 22 to 25 though with the year missing) and is a career .229/.339/.464(112 wRC+ hitter). Rizzo's first 3 major league seasons(age 21-23) he had 1211 PAs and hit .238/.324/.412(103 wRC+). So, be careful on giving up on a guy like Schwarber's potential because it's not uncommon for LH power hitters to take awhile to develop.

As for where he is vs your typical LFer... If you look at 2018 fWAR he was 5th in LF if you exclude guys who primarily played other positions or at least split time in another position. Simply put, LF is kind of weird. It's a position where teams are like we don't know what to do with you so we're sticking you here. What I mean by that is you effectively have 2-3 "types" of hitters. There's the big guy LF like Schwarber, the CF type who can't play CF like Brett Gardner and there's usually a utility guy type like Zobrist who's good enough to be in the line up but you don't have any where else for him. The other two groups compared to Schwarber doesn't really make sense IMO because you're expecting different things out of the position namely lead off type hitters.

As for Schwarber vs the more hitting focused LF types, I think he compares pretty favorably. I mean if we're talking Rhys Hoskins Juan Soto, Ozuna, David Peralta, Braun, Kemp and say Alex Gordon in this group there are maybe one or two guy's I'd consider over Schwarber based on where his bat is today but he's definitely in the top half of the group. Most of these guys aren't good defenders. Gordon is great. Braun is average for a LF as are Ozuna and Peralta. Soto was pretty below average. Hoskins is a fucking train wreck. Kemp is also pretty bad. Schwarber in terms of UZR was right behind Gordon mainly because of his arm and the fact he rarely misplays balls he gets to. Schwarber's problem is his range which is average. I'd make the case that Schwarber isn't as good as UZR thinks but that he's some where between average and good and probably put him in the Braun/Ozuna/Peralta grouping defensively.

In terms of his bat, Soto killed it obviously but his defensive range is quite a bit worse than Schwarber and he has a worse arm. If all you want is the bat then sure I'd take Soto even with the possible potential Schwarber has that I mentioned. But for me defense matters. Peralta also killed it hitting .293/.352/.516(130 wRC+) last year. Hoskins hit .246/.354/.496(129), Kemp hit well last year but cincy already cut him so I'm not gonna bother talking about him. Schwarber hit .238/.356/.467(115). Ozuna hit .280/.325/.433(108). Braun hit .254/.313/.469(105). And Gordon hit .245/.324/.370(89). So of this group if we exclude Soto, I really only see the argument for like 2 guys and that's Peralta and Hoskins from a bat perspective. But to start with Hoskins is the butcher people think Schwarber is defensively. Like he's BAD bad. Peralta I'd also knock down a little for playing in AZ. He's a .273/.332/.439(106 wRC+) hitter on the road and a .314/.363/.528(131) hitter in AZ.

Long story short, even if you're just talking the bat vs similar use case players to Schwarber I think he's pretty compelling if you can live with him hitting .238. He got on base more than anyone but Soto so to me the average doesn't matter *that* much. And in terms of power, Hoskins has more but he's a terrible defender. As such I'd argue Schwarber is actually underrated by fans. And obviously I think there's a lot more meat on the bone so to say for him from a development stand point. The way I see it, he's pretty damn good vs similar LF's in terms of 2018 numbers. So, any bit he improves just pushes him farther away from the pack.

For my money the only LF i'm taking over Schwarber are Yelich(if you consider him a LF), maybe Soto, and maybe Beintendi. Rest like Gordon and Peralta I think are basically in the same tier as Schwarber.
 

Omeletpants

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On a side note I have noticed that all the Cubs are going opposite field well and powerfully. Think this could be the new hitting coach?
 

Omeletpants

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So, looking at the data of Schwarber in 2019 here's a summary. His power is down a little but I think that's mostly weather related. Typically he hits better in the warm months as you'd expect. In terms of his batted ball profile, most of that looks normal though he's hitting more ground balls this year. In terms of his spray profile, he's taken 5% from each of pull and center and pushed it into his opposite field which is very interesting. His splits are also really interesting because he's essentially reversed his splits in 2019. Typically he's been terrible vs LHP and like 120 wRC+ vs RHP. This year he's 169 wRC+ vs LHP and 77 wRC+ vs RHP. Long story short, I think he's in the process of making some adjustments and he's not fully comfortable with them. With that being said, for as much as they shift on him being able to go oppo 35%+ is gonna be a big deal if it continues. Additionally, hitting LHP is always going to be a big deal for him. I don't buy that he is bad vs RHP. He had like 1100 PAs vs RHP and has shown he's pretty good there.

Now your initial question was Schwarber vs other presumably LFers offensively. There's kind of two takes I have on that. That is to say what he is now vs what I think he can be. I'll start with what I think he can be because I mean it's entirely opinion based and I can't really show facts. I think he can be a better hitter though probably not better player than Bryant. Schwarber hit .334/.432/.619 in the minors. Bryant hit .325/.424/.661 in the minors. So you're talking higher average and OBP but slightly less power although having seen them in the majors it feels like Schwarber gets to his power more than Bryant. And I realize saying this may seem silly because Bryant was basically Bryant day one where as Schwarber I'm still talking about adjustments being made. But consider this... Schwarber has 1390 PAs(not counting today and age 22 to 25 though with the year missing) and is a career .229/.339/.464(112 wRC+ hitter). Rizzo's first 3 major league seasons(age 21-23) he had 1211 PAs and hit .238/.324/.412(103 wRC+). So, be careful on giving up on a guy like Schwarber's potential because it's not uncommon for LH power hitters to take awhile to develop.

As for where he is vs your typical LFer... If you look at 2018 fWAR he was 5th in LF if you exclude guys who primarily played other positions or at least split time in another position. Simply put, LF is kind of weird. It's a position where teams are like we don't know what to do with you so we're sticking you here. What I mean by that is you effectively have 2-3 "types" of hitters. There's the big guy LF like Schwarber, the CF type who can't play CF like Brett Gardner and there's usually a utility guy type like Zobrist who's good enough to be in the line up but you don't have any where else for him. The other two groups compared to Schwarber doesn't really make sense IMO because you're expecting different things out of the position namely lead off type hitters.

As for Schwarber vs the more hitting focused LF types, I think he compares pretty favorably. I mean if we're talking Rhys Hoskins Juan Soto, Ozuna, David Peralta, Braun, Kemp and say Alex Gordon in this group there are maybe one or two guy's I'd consider over Schwarber based on where his bat is today but he's definitely in the top half of the group. Most of these guys aren't good defenders. Gordon is great. Braun is average for a LF as are Ozuna and Peralta. Soto was pretty below average. Hoskins is a fucking train wreck. Kemp is also pretty bad. Schwarber in terms of UZR was right behind Gordon mainly because of his arm and the fact he rarely misplays balls he gets to. Schwarber's problem is his range which is average. I'd make the case that Schwarber isn't as good as UZR thinks but that he's some where between average and good and probably put him in the Braun/Ozuna/Peralta grouping defensively.

In terms of his bat, Soto killed it obviously but his defensive range is quite a bit worse than Schwarber and he has a worse arm. If all you want is the bat then sure I'd take Soto even with the possible potential Schwarber has that I mentioned. But for me defense matters. Peralta also killed it hitting .293/.352/.516(130 wRC+) last year. Hoskins hit .246/.354/.496(129), Kemp hit well last year but cincy already cut him so I'm not gonna bother talking about him. Schwarber hit .238/.356/.467(115). Ozuna hit .280/.325/.433(108). Braun hit .254/.313/.469(105). And Gordon hit .245/.324/.370(89). So of this group if we exclude Soto, I really only see the argument for like 2 guys and that's Peralta and Hoskins from a bat perspective. But to start with Hoskins is the butcher people think Schwarber is defensively. Like he's BAD bad. Peralta I'd also knock down a little for playing in AZ. He's a .273/.332/.439(106 wRC+) hitter on the road and a .314/.363/.528(131) hitter in AZ.

Long story short, even if you're just talking the bat vs similar use case players to Schwarber I think he's pretty compelling if you can live with him hitting .238. He got on base more than anyone but Soto so to me the average doesn't matter *that* much. And in terms of power, Hoskins has more but he's a terrible defender. As such I'd argue Schwarber is actually underrated by fans. And obviously I think there's a lot more meat on the bone so to say for him from a development stand point. The way I see it, he's pretty damn good vs similar LF's in terms of 2018 numbers. So, any bit he improves just pushes him farther away from the pack.

For my money the only LF i'm taking over Schwarber are Yelich(if you consider him a LF), maybe Soto, and maybe Beintendi. Rest like Gordon and Peralta I think are basically in the same tier as Schwarber.
Thanks. Answers my question. So, maybe we need to give him more time and that there arent a lot of better alternatives O and D combined.
 

beckdawg

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On a side note I have noticed that all the Cubs are going opposite field well and powerfully. Think this could be the new hitting coach?
for non pitchers as the cubs team
2019 - pull/center/oppo 38.2%/33.3%/28.6%
2018 - 41.2%/33.7%/25.1%

The change doesn't quite match my expectations when i look at individual players. Rizzo is +9% oppo, Baez is +11.2%, Schwarber is +10.8%, Bryant is +11.6%, Heyward is basically the same in terms of oppo but he's going to center a lot more(+16.9%) and pulling a lot less, Willy is +5.2%. Bote is likely dragging the team number down as he's pulling more in 2019(+11.6%). Almora is kind of the same though he's kind of hitting more center than Oppo which again likely knocks the number down. Zobrist is still pretty pull heavy(45.2 %). My guess here as to why the change isn't bigger is Russell actually was pretty good with his all field approach(30.6%/40.1%/29.3%) and i guess Bote is sort of the anthesis of that with him being the primary beneficiary of Russell being suspended.

I'm not sure how much of that is on the hitting coach. Supposedly Maddon is more hands on this year and I seem to recall him being a big proponent of that type of approach. But I do think you're right as it being a more team wide focus this year.
 

beckdawg

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Thanks. Answers my question. So, maybe we need to give him more time and that there arent a lot of better alternatives O and D combined.
Yeah I mean I think people just naturally think that LF is the LF of the early 2000's where you're finding tons of MVP bats like Bonds, Sheffield, David Justice, Luis Gonzalez...ect. When you actually look at the guys who play LF these days for me anyways it's just kind meh. If you exclude Soto and Yelich are we really saying Schwarber can't be better than Peralta who seems to be the #3 hitter pure hitter after those 2? Rest of the group seem to be mostly defense and decent but not great offense combos.

If you can play around Schwarber's range issue he's actually pretty good defensively. And offensively, I guess maybe I'm a homer here but it doesn't even feel like Schwarber was close to his potential in 2018. When we're talking potential to me there's only one thing Schwarber is missing. That's batting average. He had the 6th highest walk rate in the majors among qualified hitters in 2018. He had the 29th highest ISO.

When you're talking about batting average statistically it comes down to 2 things. BABIP and k rate. It surprises me Schwarber's career k rate is this high. It's +7.7% his minor league rate. Bryant is -3.3%. Baez is only +2.8% and he's as free swinging as you get. And frankly, Bryant looked way more of a K threat than Schwarber did as a minor leaguer so the fact they headed in opposite directions strikes me as Schwarber not playing at his true talent level.

As for BABIP, it's a lot more difficult to wrap your mind around but obviously hitting balls right at guys is going to kill your batting average. This is another aspect of Schwarber I don't entirely understand. I'll spare you the details but I'd expect him to be in the .320-.330 BABIP range(if not higher) based on his minor league numbers and his career BABIP is .275. I'd assume most people think that's the shift killing Schwarber but at least in terms of batting average that's not correct. He's a career .298/.296/.381 vs the shifts according to fangraphs. For a bit of context, since 2015, Rizzo is .288/.284/.379 vs the same. And granted it's only 131 PAs but vs no shift Schwarber is hitting .185/.183/.200(-4 wRC+) which I don't understand at all.

To give you some idea of impact of this, BABIP isn't entirely 1:1 with BA but it's close. Every 1% of K rate is like 3.3 points of batting average over 600 at bats. So, his .275 BABIP is costing him something like 45 points of BA if his true talent is .320 BABIP and his K rate is costing him like 25 points if he's a 21.2% k rate. You add 70 points to his triple slash and he's something like .300/.400/.535. Alex Bregman hit .286/.394/.532(157 wRC+) last year and was the #5 hitter in baseball in wRC+. That's why I think he has potential to be better than Bryant as a hitter and since Schwarber is left handed and should theoretically rake vs RHP that you see roughly 75% of a given season's PAs he might be even better than that.

So, I can tell you that BABIP and K rate are the issue but in terms of telling you how to solve them that's a bit more of a mystery to me. I don't really have any ideas where his missing BABIP is coming from. As for the K's, I'm not entirely sure but I think the issue is similar to 2011-12 Rizzo in that he has trouble making contact on pitches away particularly anything on the outer 1/3 in the top half of the zone. Combine that with the fact he's going to strike out looking a lot and that's where his K rate seems to be coming from. Striking out looking in of itself isn't bad. Votto and Trout were both top 5 last year. The difference is they swing through fewer pitches. I also suspect that he's missing pitches he should be doing damage on. The idea there being you set yourself up in a good count with his discipline so that you get something to hit. But if they can just get him to swing through up and away he misses out on his chance to hit something in the zone.
 

beckdawg

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Looked a bit more into my comment about him not handling the up and away pitches and decided to see what he's looking like thus far in 2019

1615
1616

The data here isn't very large for 2019 but looking at the contact rates in the zone seem pretty good save for middle inside being kind fo crummy this year. I suspect that going to opposite field likely is at play for helping him make more contact on the pitches away.
 

fatbeard

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The most frustrating and perplexing thing to me about Schwarber is his almost total lack of development as a hitter. He's so talented, but he's the same damn player he was when he first came up in 2015. He hasn't improved at all.

2015: 13.2 BB%, 28.2 K%, .241 ISO
2016: Injured
2017: 12.1 BB%, 30.1 K%, .256 ISO
2018: 15.3 BB%, 27.5 K%, .229 ISO
2019: 14.6 BB%, 25.4 K%, .147 ISO (obviously this will regress)

And for comparison, here's Bryant:

2015: 11.8 BB%, 30.8 K%, .213 ISO
2016: 10.7 BB%, 22.0 K%, .262 ISO
2017: 14.3 BB%, 19.2 K%, .242 ISO
2018: 10.5 BB%, 23.4 K%, .188 ISO (Injured)
2019: 16.5 BB%, 17.1 K% (!), .272 ISO

Bryant is striking out nearly half as often as he did when he entered the league! The fact that his BB% and K% are essentially 1:1 right now is incredible considering his power has actually improved, and that he came into the league at nearly 1:3 walks to strikeouts.
 

CSF77

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They cover it some here.

One of the things that has been working against Schwarber is shifts. Teams are still shifting on him at a similar rate this year (62.7%) compared to last year (64.5%). But according to Statcast, Schwarber has a .306 wOBA against the shift this year vs. a .380 wOBA against the shift in '18. That may help explain why his actual results overall are below his expected rates at the moment.

Key point.

He is improving but he is showing why he was valued as a #17 pick and he went that high to sign him under slot to increase the offer to the pitching to follow.
 
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