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2022 report card: Kyle Schwarber

Even if you don’t like his batting average, no doubt he did exactly what he was advertised to be able to do

MLB: Philadelphia Phillies at San Diego Padres Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

Many Phillies fans entering last season’s offseason were curious about what the Phillies were going to do with left field. Andrew McCutchen departed in free agency and there were no up and coming prospects in the minor league system.

But for the people who know how Phillies president Dave Dowbrowki plays, they identified Kyle Schwarber in free agency and they knew that the Phillies were looking for a player exactly like him. They were looking for a player that has plenty of postseason experience and can deliver offensively for a baseball club.

Schwarber delivered for the Phillies during the 2022 season and also in the 2022 postseason as well, further showing his ability to help a clubhouse reach the postseason and obtain success. He had his moments of promise and also his moments of failure. Let’s give Schwarberfest a grade on his 2022 campaign.

The Good

Schwarber has some of the most raw power in major league baseball. Just looking at an instant replay of one of his schwar-bombs, it looks like he simply flicks his wrist and the ball sails into the right field seats. With a National League leading 46 homers this past season and him being in the 99th percentile of exit velocity, hard hit percentage and barrel percentage on Baseball Savant, an annual salary being just under $20 million dollars, it surely feels as if the Phillies got a bargain.

One of the best qualities of Schwarber is that he goes absolutely nuclear in the summer months, more specifically June. This past June, Schwarber was voted National League Player of the Month after having a slashline of .272/.385/.680/1.065 and hitting 12 home runs all while bringing 27 runners. The Phillies finished the month of June with a record of 19-8, it’s safe to assume that Schwarber had a big part in making that record obtainable.

Fast-forward a few months into the postseason, Schwarber didn’t have much success in the wild card series and the divisional series but when it mattered most in the championship series, he exploded. In Game 1 of the National League Championship Series, Schwarber absolutely blistered a ball into the upper-deck at Petco Park that ended up being measured at 488 feet, the longest homerun at that ballpark according to StatCast and it was also the 2nd longest postseason home run since 2015. Take another look at this blast.

Schwarber was an instant sensation in Philadelphia and nobody sees that slowing down as long as he can keep delivering for the Phillies. Whether it’s him launching 40 home runs a season or him driving in nearly 100 runs, Schwarber will more likely than not, own the position of left field for the Phillies for seasons to come.

The Bad

Schwarber isn’t going to be a .300 hitter and he might not even be a .260 hitter. He was one back in the 2021 season but that year was the best of his career. Schwarber isn’t known for being a player that can give you a couple hits per game. He definitely has the ability to do so but he won’t be able to do it for a 162 game season. He’s going to be a ballplayer that delivers runs and ticket sales.

Digging into some statistics, Schwarber struck out 200 times last year, the most in his career by a landslide and the most in baseball. Most of this could be explained by him batting 1st in the lineup or him being in a new environment. He finished in the 1st percentile of outs above average and he also struggled with swing and misses.

One of the knocks on Schwarber is his defending ability and he did struggle with outs above average with it being -13, the highest in his career. In Schwarber’s defense, he isn’t the quickest player on the field so if he wasn’t as stocky as he was, that statistic would be a lot more positive.

Outside of his strikeouts numbers and his ability to not chase down balls that well, Schwarber is a very good piece for a team and he doesn’t have a lot of negative aspects to his game.

The Future

Listed above it was stated that Schwarber needs to work on his strikeouts and his fielding a good amount. But with all of that in mind, Schwarber isn’t going anywhere. We can all expect Schwarber to bat either 1st or 2nd in the Phillies lineup this coming April.

With the addition of Trea Turner to the Phillies lineup and him being former teammates with Schwarber, one could guarantee that we could see an increase in almost every single category for Schwarber this coming season. He is still only 29 and with a player like him who isn’t getting worn down by running the bases and diving around in the outfield, Schwarber can be a player like Nelson Cruz and Albert Pujols in the case of being able to still produce at the plate in your older years because you aren’t pushing your body to its limits each and everyday during the dog days of summer.

Schwarber is going to be a fan favorite for years to come as long as he continues to promote Wawa and hits balls into the upper-deck at Citizens Bank Park each and every season.

Final Grade: B