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Nationals’ Kyle Schwarber is on fire, but career numbers suggest he won’t be for long

Kyle Schwarber is the toast of the city of Washington.

Kyle Schwarber is the toast of the city of Washington.
Picture: Getty Images

“Kyle Schwarber is a powerhouse! says the Cubs fan after Schwarber’s first season in the greats.

“Kyle Schwarber hits way too much.” says the Cubs fan for three seasons in Schwarber’s career.

“Kyle Schwarber has to be in the lineup every day!

“We need to nominate Kyle Schwarber for the assignment.”

“We need Schwarber for our playoff run.”

“We don’t need to resign Kyle Schwarber.”

“We should have resigned Kyle Schwarber.”

This is a very brief recap of Kyle Schwarber’s 6-year spell with the Chicago Cubs – a period full of promise, inconsistency, defeat and hope… in that order. Now, in his first season with the Washington Nationals, Schwarber has restarted the cycle, hitting just .189 with a .621 OPS and just three homers in his first 25 games. In the 43 games since, Schwarber has reached 0.291 with 1.076 OPS and 21 dingers. Who is this guy? He has two different careers. Forrest Gump would call it a box of chocolates, because on any given day or for any given play streak, you never know what you’re going to get. In his career, Schwarber recorded a 46 batting stretch with just three hits and a different 38 batting stretch without any additional base hits. He’s gone without a hit for at least 14 batting appearances five times in his career! But he also just knocked 15 circuits in 17 games, linking him to Barry Bonds and Sammy Sosa for the most in 17 games. Schwarber has also hit nine home runs in his last 11 games, tied with Frank Howard (1968) for most in that span. It’s mind boggling, and it has made some baseball fans wonder if he’s been the most inconsistent player in baseball lately. Well, let’s compare his numbers to those of other notoriously inconsistent players, shall we?

First of all, Lucas Duda. The longtime New York Mets first baseman was a constant thorn in the side of baseball fans in Queens due to his inconsistency. They loved him. They hated him. They liked to hate him. Throughout his career, Duda has 78 intervals of 20 parts with an OPS of 1,000 or better. Schwarber had 48 of these sequences. Now, if these players’ inconsistencies were as balanced as they seem, they should each have almost as many streaks with the opposite effect, say an OPS of 0.580 or less. Duda had 77 periods of 20 games under this criterion. It is quite inconsistent. Schwarber … 46. Okay, so they’re pretty balanced.

And another guy? Jay Bruce – yeah, another infuriating Mets player. Prior to retire earlier this yearBruce was known to be an incredible borderline All-Star hitter every year… in the first half of the season. In the second half of the season, he collapsed faster than Game of thrones‘eighth season. In terms of home runs, Bruce’s seven shots seven best halves were the first semesters of 2019, 2017, 2011, 2013, 2009, 2012 and 2016, respectively. Bruce had only three second half where he recorded more home runs than in the first half: 2008 (6 in the first half, 15 in the second); 2010 (10, 15); and 2018 (3, 6). Schwarber has been much more consistent throughout the full seasons. While 2021 saw him record the most circuits in any half of the season he has already played, three of his next five best halves are all after Game 81. There is one point for Schwarber. He’s more consistent than Bruce.

Finally, the crème de la crème of inconsistent ball players: Ryan Raburn, who has had three seasons with an OPS + over 120, and three seasons with a OPS + of 75 or less. As inconsistent as Schwarber was, he never recorded an OPS below 90 in a full season. While the two players have a career batting average of 0.253, Schwarber’s base percentage is 20 points higher and his slugging is 55 points higher. As inconsistent as Schwarber is, he doesn’t even light a candle at Ryan Raburn.

I loved watching Schwarber this season. I pray that he will be invited to the Home Run Derby because he is more powerful than ever and he got robbed 2018. When it comes to inconsistency, Schwarber may be near the top of league history, but right now he’s the hottest hitter on Earth. I’d rather pitch to Shohei Ohtani than to Schwarber at the moment. However, if the latter’s career is any indicator, he is going to collapse anytime now. It’ll be a hard fall, but man, until it does … it’s an amazing stretch to see.

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