Introducing the Kyle Schwarber Collection

This is part four of a twenty-five part series chronicling my budding collections of the 2016 World Series champion Cubs.  Obviously, I’ve already starting showing off some of those cards, but I wanted to offer a formal introduction to the various players.  With my legacy player collections, I’m still going to attempt to show every single card on the blog, but with these new guys I’m taking a different approach as you’ll see here where I lump cards in one scan, and will probably skip many of the more basic cards I get unless I can get a good theme together.

There’s no specific reason for choosing Kyle here other than to try to mix up some of the more popular players with the ones that don’t get as much attention and prestige.

Did not start out with a lot of Schwarber cards

Quick note about the cards in the second row in case you care:  These are from the 15 card World Series blister pack that Topps released.  Topps also created a 25 card hanger box that had some different pictures.  That card on the right is the same in both the 15 and the 25 card bundles.

Kyle is one of our recent home grown prospects that fast-tracked themselves into the majors.  The Cubs drafted him with the 4th overall pick in the first round of the 2014 draft presumably because of his sheer power and our potential need for a catcher in the upcoming years.  He started playing in the farm system in June 2014 and quickly rose through the ranks and got his first call-up in June of 2015.

He must have felt as glittery as this card looks

During his first game at the plate, he went 4-5 and had 2 RBIs.  He was sent back down after a few games, but an injury to Miguel Montero brought him back to the club on a more permanent basis.

Farm’s Finest Mini

The rest of the year was productive, but he wouldn’t stay a catcher.  It seemed pretty apparent that this wasn’t going to be the best position for him and the team relied on Montero and David Ross instead.  He was moved over to left field, and although he’s not great in that position either, he certainly seems to be making an effort and his arm is recording several outfield assists.

I already said he’s not a catcher

He wasn’t drafted for his fielding. It was for his bat.  In 69 regular season games, Kyle belted 16 home runs and drove in 43.  And in the 2015 postseason, which saw the Cubs win 97 games in the regular season to finish 3rd in the NL Central and earn a wild card spot, he hit five home runs across the three series, including a monster that landed on top of the right field scoreboard and stayed there for months.

Probably should have put this card with the Pro Debut paragraph

He became a little bit of a local legend for that, and the future looked bright going into 2016, but during the second game of the season things changed for Kyle.  He had an outfield collision that tore a couple ligaments in his knee and forced him out of the regular season.

No one cares about the Bowman RC

In all honesty, I think everyone assumed he was not going to come back, even if we made the postseason.  I certainly didn’t want him to rush anything and aggravate things further.  After all, if our World Series hopes relied on a rookie that played 71 regular season games, then maybe the team isn’t as strong as we thought.  I also remember a lot of trade chatter starting around this time.  As the 2016 deadline came about, he was brought up as a throw-in to get someone good we could use right now.

SP version

I didn’t agree with the idea of trading him.  Sure, his value was low at the time, but things like that tend to bite the Cubs in the ass more often than not, so he’d probably end up thriving for some AL team for years and those same fans would be whining about letting him go.

The chrome version looks better than the non-chrome

Anyway, long story short, he worked hard and the reason I’m collecting him at all is that he made it onto the World Series roster.  He couldn’t play the field, but still found a way to contribute with 7 hits and 3 walks.  No homers this time, but did hit a double, but drove in two and managed to record a stolen base over the 5 games he appeared in.  Every little bit helps and Chicago brought home the trophy in a series I never thought the Cubs were going to win.

Quite the impact

Fast forward a little and Kyle struggled in his first full season, ending with a .211 AVG (but still hitting 30 homers).  Some of that could be residual from the injury (either physically or mentally).  The trade chatter started up again, and his card prices have started to fall.  But he does seem to be pretty determined to succeed.  He worked out a lot in the off-season to slim down significantly while still maintaining his power, and 2018 has been better so far.  He’s still striking out a lot (but so is nearly everyone else in the MLB), and his defense needs work, but he should be a more productive power hitter with a few more walks and a bit more speed as well.  It will be interesting to see how the rest of the year shakes out.

Here’s hoping he can hit a few more of those long home runs in the postseason again this October.

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