The 2017 season has been one to forget for Chicago Cubs outfielder Kyle Schwarber.
On Thursday, the Cubs decided to send Schwarber to Triple-A Iowa. The 24-year-old outfielder/catcher has had a very rough go of it at the plate this year. He is hitting just .171 in 222 at-bats and has 12 home runs and 28 RBIs. Schwarber has struck out 75 times this season.
Even though he has not had a problem hitting home runs, Schwarber has not done too much else. His on-base percentage is only .295. The Cubs cannot afford to keep putting him out there if he is not going to hit. The team is 37-35 on the season. They are in second place in the NL Central. The Cubs do not look like the same team that won the 2016 World Series. They need to get their confidence back, and there is plenty of season left to do this.
Schwarber is someone who definitely needs to get his confidence back. Sending him down to Triple-A will probably help clear his mind. When a player as talented as Schwarber is struggling this badly, things can start to spiral out of control. A lot of it becomes mental, as the slump can begin to get to the player’s head. Even though Schwarber clearly has the skills necessary to be a great hitter, it seems as though he has begun to doubt himself. After all, the mental aspect of baseball is such a huge part of the game.
There is no doubt that Schwarber has the potential to be one of the best power hitters in the MLB. He showed what he is capable of after being called up by the Cubs in June of 2015. Originally drafted by the Cubs with the fourth overall pick in the first round of the 2014 MLB Draft, he immediately became one of the top prospects in their organization. Schwarber batted .246 with 16 home runs and 43 RBIs in 232 at-bats during the 2015 season. He became a key player for the Cubs as they made their playoff run that year. They made it to the 2015 National League Championship Series, but were swept by the New York Mets.
After a great start to his career, Schwarber caught a bad break. Just a few days into the 2016 season, he collided with teammate Dexter Fowler in the outfield. Schwarber tore two ligaments in his left knee during the collision. He was expected to miss the entire season, but ended up making his return during the 2016 World Series. Schwarber was only able to be used as the Cubs designated hitter because he was not ready to play the field again. He was also utilized as a pinch-hitter. Schwarber got seven hits in the World Series and collected two RBIs as the Cubs beat the Cleveland Indians in seven games to win their first championship in over a century.
The best thing that Schwarber can do right now is embrace his Triple-A assignment and do as well as he can in Iowa. This demotion is likely only temporary. Playing at a lower level will give him the chance to start hitting again, which will definitely help his confidence. Soon enough, Schwarber should be ready to return to the Cubs. He is too good of a player to let a slump like this keep him down.