Fans of the lovable Cubbies had their first taste of top catching prospect Kyle Schwarber earlier in June. He was brought up to work exclusively as a DH when the team had a six game Interleague stretch in American League cities. Over that span he stepped to the plate 23 times with eight base knocks that included a triple and homer, one walk, and eight punch outs for a .364/.391/.591 line in a very small sample. You can see John's opinion on the Indiana alum in his breakdown from late June. Schwarber knocked the cover off the ball, but wasn't ready for an extended stay despite a composite .323/.430/.591 line in AA and AAA through 310 plate appearances.
Since returning to the minor leagues in a new home park of AAA Iowa, Schwarber has hit .333/.403/.633 over 17 games with seven doubles, three bombs, seven walks, and 23 punch outs. While his discipline at the dish hasn't been as impressive, he's made up for it in other ways. For the entire year in the minors, he's mashed 16 long balls, 17 doubles, a pair of triples, and has driven in 49 runs. He's personally crossed the dish 46 times while drawing 49 free passes (15.8%), striking out 72 times (23.2%), and posted a ridiculous .456 wOBA and 185 wRC+. No matter how you want to slice and dice the numbers, one thing remains true. This kid could start his own landscaping business after his playing days with how much he rakes.
The North side of Chicago is in for a real treat with all their top position prospects now beginning to arrive at the friendly confines. With the 22 year old Schwarber behind the plate, the Cubs have 25 year old Anthony Rizzo, 22 year old Addison Russell, 25 year old Starlin Castro, and 23 year old Kris Bryant around the horn on the infield. Add in 23 year old right fielder Jorge Soler, and 3/4 of the Cubs starting position players are 25 and under. Then think about the potentially MLB ready talent in AAA like 22 year old Javier Baez (yes, he's still playing), and 23 year old outfielder Arismendy Alcantara. With the right maneuvering, development, and no trades, the Cubbies could have an entire line-up with players 26 or under next year with only one player (Russell) being acquired from another organization.
So here's the big question. What do you expect from Schwarber over the next six weeks as he fills in for Miguel Montero? My personal prediction - something along the lines of a .290/.350/.450 line that will make Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer think long and hard about taking him out of the lineup when Montero returns.