Let's take a look at 10 of the most important attributes that should help to indicate what a prospect’s future might hold. Players are ranked on a scale of 1-10 by their qualities for each aspect, accumulating in a final prospect grade. Grades are based on what prospects can bring to the table from the current position they are projected to play in the major leagues.
Without further ado, let’s find out if Kyle Schwarber makes the grade…
1) Baseball IQ – Baseball America called Schwarber "a smart hitter who studies pitchers and has tremendous strength to punish pitches to all fields." The Cubs’ brass thought this was the most advanced bat in this year’s college draft class. Rating: 10 out of 10.
2) Batting-Eye – During his three years at Indiana, the left-handed hitter drew 116 walks while striking out only 91 times. Whenever the walk total is higher than the strikeout total, that my friends, is a very good thing. Rating: 10 out of 10.
3) Hit-Tool – After accumulating a career .341 batting average in college, Schwarber has followed that up by continuing to rake in the minor leagues. The slugger’s first 5 games at Boise proved no match, as he hit for a .600 clip. At Kane County, he is ONLY batting .377. Rating: 10 out of 10.
4) Power – The first bat taken in this year’s draft has enormous power potential. In just his first 22 professional games, Schwarber has launched 8 HR’s. Looks like a potential 25-30 HR bat down the road. Rating: 10 out of 10.
5) Speed – This big backstop won’t rack up the stolen bases, but how many catchers do? The lack of speed will hurt more if the expected move to the outfield happens early in his career. Schwarber was able to swipe around 5-to-10 bags a year in college. Rating: 7 out of 10.
6) Body – Listed at 6’4" and 240 pounds, Schwarber profiles best as a corner outfielder once he moves away from catching. Expect that move to happen sooner rather than later. There is also a small chance he could be moved to 1B, but that seems unlikely with Anthony Rizzo cemented there long-term. Rating: 8 out of 10.
7) Durability – This masher was able to stay healthy enough throughout his college career to end each season with games played totals of 60, 61, and 59. His size will be a concern until we can see how he holds up throughout the rigors of the major league season, but there haven’t been any warning flags yet. Rating: 10 out of 10.
8) Ceiling – Schwarber’s fantasy ceiling will be dictated by which position he ends up at long-term. If everything breaks right, this masher could become a top 5 option at catcher. In the outfield, we might be looking at a top-30 option. Rating: 9 out of 10.
9) Floor – So far, this prospect has looked the part. At worst, we should have an everyday player capable of filling out a fantasy roster. There is still plenty of time to fail, but the Cubs’ latest 1st rounder looks like he should avoid that scenario. Rating: 7 out of 10.
10) Future – It shouldn’t take the 4th overall pick in this year’s MLB draft long to reach the majors. Already making quick work of 2 levels in the minor leagues, Schwarber could be due for his next promotion before the season is over. At this rate, the prospect will be making his way into fantasy lineups within a year or two. Rating: 9 out of 10.
Overall Grade: 90% - A-
Future Outlook: While Kris Bryant, Javier Baez, and Arismendy Alcantara are currently racing each other to the windy-city, it will be interesting to see who wins the future race between Jorge Soler, Albert Almora, and Kyle Shwarber. But the most interesting part of this scenario might not only be when they will arrive, but more importantly, where they will all fit. It would be interesting to see the Cubs take the same approach with Schwarber that the Braves have taken with Evan Gattis, easing him in as a super utility-player at catcher and in the outfield until he is ready to take off as an everyday player. That might be the perfect way to use this bat with the plethora of prospect puzzle pieces that Theo, Jed, & Co. will need to fit in around the diamond very soon. In that scenario, it wouldn’t surprise me if Schwarber turned into a fantasy option of similar value to Evan Gattis. That is definitely someone worth stashing for the future in leagues that use prospect lists. We will have a better read on Schwarber as he logs more games in the minor leagues, but so far, it looks like the Cubs got another very good one.