Months of speculation came to an end Thursday night when the Cubs selected catcher/outfielder Kyle Schwarber with the fourth pick in the 2014 First-Year Player Draft. The top three pitchers were off the board at the time. LHP Brady Aiken went to Houston, Tyler Kolek to the Marlins and the White Sox took Carlos Rodon with the third pick.
Jason McLeod said the Cubs were “enamored” with LHP Brady Aiken and Kyle Schwarber was the second player on the Cubs’ board. McLeod expects Schwarber to sign shortly and for under-slot which will leave bonus pool money for later picks. The Cubs first round slot allotment is $4,621,200.
In the release, McLeod said, “Kyle has been one of the premier performers in the college ranks the last few years. He displays what we are looking for in patience and power at the plate. He’s a high character guy we think teammates will rally around.”
Kyle Schwarber took batting practice at Wrigley last summer as part of Team USA according to a report from Patrick Mooney. Schwarber met with Theo Epstein during Spring Training and worked out the Cubs’ facility in Mesa.
Scout Stan Zielinski recommended Kyle Schwarber. And Schwarber will be represented by Casey Close.
Kyle Schwarber is expected to sign quickly and should report to Boise in the very near future. Schwarber is likely looking at a position change from catcher to either left field or first base. Schwarber told Jim Bowden after he was drafted that he hopes the Cubs give him a chance to stay a catcher but he will obviously do what the front office wants him to do.
Schwarber is a 6-foot, 230-pound lefty that according to Baseball America has shown “considerable improvement defensively” during his time at Indiana University. Schwarber “will still stab and boxes too many balls, and a long transfer can sabotage his solid-average arm strength.” He is athletic enough to play left field.
Offensively, he is a first round draft pick according to several reports. Schwarber has very good bat speed, hits to all fields with power and has tremendous strength.
In 57 games this season, Kyle Schwarber hit .348/.456/.643 with 15 doubles, six triples, 13 home runs, 42 walks, 28 strikeouts and a 1.098 OPS. During his three-year career at Indiana, Schwarber hit .338/.434/.601 with 40 doubles, 12 triples, 39 home runs, 114 walks, 89 strikeouts and a 1.035 OPS in 178 games.
Kyle Schwarber Video
MLB.com (16) and Baseball America (17) ranked Kyle Schwarber in the top 20 of the players that would be available in the draft.