Former Hoosier Kyle Schwarber went from World Series folk hero to minor leaguer over the course of about seven months.
Now he's using the minor leagues to return to his former self.
Schwarber, who was hitting just .171 in the majors to start the season with the Chicago Cubs before getting sent down to the minors, strung together a massive weekend with the Iowa Cubs. He hit four home runs over two days and now has nine RBI, five walks, eight runs and four homers in just seven games in Triple-A.
"I want to work the middle of the field, do things like that," Schwarber told the Chicago Tribube. "I don't want to be known as just a swing-and-miss kind of guy. I want to be a guy who hits .300 and can hit home runs, but a guy who can hit .300 first."
After a hot start to his career, Schwarber has been a victim of advanced stats' impact on baseball. Teams spent the first half of the Major League Baseball season shifting drastically against the lefty and turning would-be pull singles into harmless ground outs.
Schwarber told the Chicago Tribune he was looking to get the ball in the air more to increase his damage at the plate. That makes sense considering some of his bombs from the past.
But those homers are only worthwhile if he can hit closer to .250 than .150. The Cubs recently cut ties with backup catcher Miguel Montero which, in theory, opened up a spot for Schwarber again. But because he's been groomed moreso to be an outfielder, that didn't quite work out.
Instead, Schwarber can be found with the Triple-A Iowa Cubs hitting in empty ballparks well before the start of minor league games across the nation.
— Tommy Birch (@TommyBirch) July 1, 2017
Kyle Schwarber has shown a lot of patience the last few days. Been a lot more selective and taking some close pitches. Really good sign.
— Tommy Birch (@TommyBirch) July 3, 2017
Nobody at the big league level ever wants to be sent down. Even someone as young as Schwarber, who rapidly climbed up the minor league system after leaving IU the summer of 2014, would consider that a setback.
But based on his minor league numbers and actions so far, he seems committed as ever to returning to form. If he does, homers like this may soon return to Wrigley Field:
Kyle Schwarber went yard twice and Ali Solis delivered the go-ahead RBI in Iowa's 7-3 win over Round Rock last night. pic.twitter.com/pcnl5pR4RC
— Iowa Cubs (@IowaCubs) July 1, 2017
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