Kyle Schwarber broke into the bigs in 2015 with a big bat. After missing almost all of the last season with an injury, he reemerged as a postseason hero, posting a .971 OPS in the World Series. As 2017 began he was supposed to be one of the key parts of a potent Cubs offense.
Then the baseball games actually started and he has hit a mere .171/.295/.378. Indeed, he has the lowest batting average among qualified MLB hitters in 2017. Given that he has very little if any defensive value, he has been a significant drag on the Cubs, who are just a single game over .500.
The Cubs are also putting Jason Heyward on the disabled list, so the outfield is a bit of a mess these days. Lucky for them, they’re only trailing the Brewers by a game and a half.
The latest balloting is in for the NL All-Star team and the race to start at first base remains tight.
Nationals first baseman Ryan Zimmerman has 1,404,251 votes and remains slightly ahead of Chicago’s Anthony Rizzo, who has 1,247,219. Zimmerman is batting .349 on the season with 19 home runs and 54 RBI. If he holds on, this would be Zimmerman’s first ever elected start at first base. Rizzo was the starter in 2016.
The remaining NL leaders include second baseman Daniel Murphy of the Nationals, third baseman Kris Bryant of the Cubs, Cincinnati shortstop Zack Cozart, catcher Buster Posey of the Giants and outfielders Bryce Harper, Charlie Blackmon and Jason Heyward of the Nationals, Rockies and Cubs, respectively.
Here are all of the top vote getters:
Cubs’ right fielder Jason Heyward left Sunday’s game with a left hand abrasion, according to MLB.com’s Carrie Muskat. Heyward was injured in the second inning while making a sliding catch on the warning track, and underwent treatment on his wrist before taking the field again in the third. He left the game after his final at-bat in the bottom of the third inning and was replaced by Kyle Schwarber, who took over in left field while Jon Jay shifted to right. The club has yet to release a timetable for Heyward’s return.
Heyward, 27, went 0-for-2 against the Pirates’ Jameson Taillon during the series finale. Entering Sunday, he carried a .260/.318/.403 batting line with six home runs and a .721 OPS through his first 215 PA. He recently recovered from a sprained finger on his right hand, which he suffered while diving for another ball during a game against the Yankees last month.
The Cubs currently lead the Pirates 7-1 in the bottom of the ninth inning. Schwarber went 1-for-3 at the plate, collecting his tenth double of the year off of Wade LeBlanc in the seventh.