Kyle Schwarber

The Cubs lost yesterday with Hendricks on the mound and I may have been a bit fatalistic because it’s still early in the season.  We’ll to Cubs’ status tomorrow and it’s not all gloom and doom.  Today I read an article on mlb.com about Kyle Schwarber.  Here’s a quote from Joe Maddon.

“I don’t care about [the batting average]. I’m looking at at-bats, the process, what he’s doing for the team, getting on base. But for the guy, when he looks up at the scoreboard and sees numbers everywhere, and they evaluate themselves based on numbers, I don’t want him to do that. I want him to get back to the process.”  — Joe Maddon

This data model agrees and has been preaching this from the beginning.  Runs win baseball games not hits.  Although Kyle Schwarber is playing absolutely terrible for his Draft Kings teams, he’s still not playing that badly for his real team.  Today we’ll analyze Kyle Schwarber.  Here is a full line for Kyle Schwarber so far.

Rank WAA BA OBP PA RBI R Name_TeamID Pos
XXXXX -0.36 0.177 0.297 192 19 21 Kyle_Schwarber_CHN LF

The Draft Kings people focus on his 0.177.  This model focuses on run production, RBIs and Runs.  Schwarber is a little underwater at -0.36 but that’s nothing he can’t overcome in just a couple of big games and he’ll be above average.  At -0.36 Schwarber right now is not helping the Cubs to be above average but he’s not hurting them that much either.  The Cubs are an average team because most everyone on the team is playing average — not just Schwarber.  Even Rizzo is hovering around average.

Rank WAA BA OBP PA RBI R Name_TeamID Pos
XXXXX 0.61 0.239 0.369 222 30 26 Anthony_Rizzo_CHN 1B

Rizzo was underwater last week and since has  climbed above average.  His BA isn’t Draft Kings stellar either right now.  A baseball season is a marathon and the Cubs may be starting out slow compared to last season but they aren’t tanking.

Blast from the Past

Let’s look at Kyle Schwarber in 2015 when he came to the Cubs and was a major force propelling them to the NLCS that year as well as coming off a season ending injury significantly helping the Cubs win a World Series.    I would show a graph here but I’m still working on a script to make them so we’ll have to muddle through this analysis with tables for now.

Rank WAA Name_TeamID Pos
06202015 0.38 Kyle_Schwarber_CHN BAT
06242015 0.73 Kyle_Schwarber_CHN BAT
07282015 1.11 Kyle_Schwarber_CHN BAT
08102015 1.85 Kyle_Schwarber_CHN CR
08152015 2.16 Kyle_Schwarber_CHN CR
08192015 2.83 Kyle_Schwarber_CHN CR-LF
08232015 3.57 Kyle_Schwarber_CHN CR-LF
08272015 3.38 Kyle_Schwarber_CHN LF-CR
08312015 3.61 Kyle_Schwarber_CHN LF-CR
09052015 3.99 Kyle_Schwarber_CHN LF-CR
09142015 4.37 Kyle_Schwarber_CHN LF-CR
10062015 3.76 Kyle_Schwarber_CHN LF-CR

He reaches a high of WAA=4.37 mid September and finishes ranked #49 top MLB player for the year.

Rank WAA BA OBP PA RBI R Name_TeamID Pos
+049+ 3.76 0.246 0.355 273 43 52 Kyle_Schwarber_CHN LF-CR

His BA is OK by Draft Kings standards but his run production is incredible for only 273 plate appearances.  It was his run production that won games for the Cubs, not his lack of hits.  There is a long season ahead and Schwarber is not in any hole right now.  Ignore the stat heads.  🙂

Update 6/3/2017: I’d like to add one more thought to put the above numbers into better context.  Here is Kyle Schwarber’s peak value on September 12, 2015.

Rank WAA BA OBP PA RBI R Name_TeamID Pos
+029+ 4.56 0.267 0.365 204 42 46 Kyle_Schwarber_CHN C

Here is Bryce Harper as of 6/2/20132017 He is currently ranked by this data model as the second best player in MLB behind a pitcher making him the best hitter.

Rank WAA BA OBP PA RBI R Name_TeamID Pos
+002+ 4.09 0.328 0.438 208 43 44 Bryce_Harper_WAS RF

As explained throughout this site WAA is calculated based upon run production and league and team wide averages.  Playing time which translates into games played is measured through plate appearances (PA).    For similar playing time, Schwarber on September 12, 2015 was better than the best hitter in MLB right now.  That was then this is now but the above numbers show what kind of production Schwarber is capable of bringing the Cubs.  He may be slumping now but when he breaks out, and when Rizzo and Bryant break out, the Cubs will put up a lot of offensive numbers that could carry them into the playoffs this year.

And one final thought:  A home run counts the same whether it’s hit 500 feet, 1000 feet, or barely makes the basket.  It counts the same whether it leaves the bat at 200 mph or 55 mph as long as it goes over the fence and the umpire twirls his hand.   There is too much hype about these irrelevant stats with respect to Schwarber and that needs to stop.