When Miguel Montero left Saturday’s game against the Chicago White Sox with a thumb injury, several people were wondering if his injury would mean that top prospect Kyle Schwarber would be recalled. Today, we received our answer.
— Jonathan Mayo (@JonathanMayo) July 16, 2015
With the injury to Montero, chances are very good that Schwarber could be here for the remainder of the 2015 season as reports are Montero could miss up to six weeks, which would bring us into September.
This is bad news, because Montero is seen as one of the team’s on field leaders, despite his poor bat this season his loss is a big one. The good news, is Schwarber will be an instant injection of offense into the struggling Cubs lineup. The question is, where to play him since the National League does not have the designated hitter, and the Cubs will not need one of those until August when they visit the White Sox.
Of course the first response would be to have him continue learning to be a catcher at the big league level where he will be a part of a three headed monster at catcher. He is the only left handed bat among the catchers, so hypothetically he could see the majority of the time behind the plate. However, that might not be the smartest move as his skills behind the plate are still subar. He is not the most defensively sound player, but his bat might be able to make up for whatever his glove and defensive capabilities lack.
The Cubs do need to get his bat in the lineup as often as they can, because you do not want him turning into bench rot, because that would severely slow down his development. You want him to catch a much as possible, but his skills likely prevent that at this point in his career.
While I was certain that he would likely not see time in the outfield, Gordon Wittenmeyer reports otherwise.
Schwarber to join Cubs in Atlanta Friday at third catcher as Montero goes on DL (thumb). Expected to get time in outfield to help sagging O.
— Gordon Wittenmyer (@GDubCub) July 16, 2015
While Schwarber has played the outfield before in his baseball career, he has not played as much as a single out this year. He does not really have to “learn” to play left field as he has played the position in the past, but he still needs to learn the position, and doing so at Wrigley is not the smartest idea. Thankfully he has seven games on the road where he can play left field and some catcher to get the hang of things before being thrown into the lions den of Wrigley’s left field.
With David Ross returning, he will catch at least every fifth game when Lester pitches which leaves four games for Schwarber and Taylor Teagarden to split, likely depending on whether the opposing starting pitcher is right handed or left handed. If he is not catching, per Wittemeyer’s tweet, Schwarber could be the starting left fielder which would push Chris Coghlan to the bench, instantly making that a more dangerous part of the team as well.
This could bode well for what the Cubs plan of doing with him next year and beyond. Allow Schwarber to act as the backup catcher, while getting a majority of his starts in left field.
I think that I can safely assume that Schwarber will be in the team’s starting lineup tomorrow as the Cubs visit the Atlanta Braves against I believe Julio Tehran, a right handed pitcher. That means, in his return, Schwarber could be the starting catcher.
Predicting the lineup, I think we will see something like this:
Time to see what this very young offense can do when all just about all the kids are here. The second half is about to begin.