Schwarber went 2-for-3 with a double and two runs scored in Saturday's Cactus League game against the Angels. After another strong performance, Schwarber is now slashing .438/.640/.688 through nine games this spring, and his strikeout rate sits at an encouraging 16 percent. The 26-year-old should supply plenty of power this season, but if he can cut down his strikeout rate from last year's 27.5 percent, his overall numbers will likely look even better.
Schwarber and the Cubs reached agreement on a one-year, $3.39 million contract Friday, avoiding arbitration, Gordon Wittenmyer of the Chicago Sun-Times reports. Schwarber slimmed down prior to last season and improved his ability to get on base, with his OBP jumping from .315 to .356. He had a small drop in power though, hitting four fewer homers (26) than the previous season despite coming to the plate 24 more times. His defense also graded out positively according to both DRS and UZR for the first time in his career, giving confidence that he can stick in left field for several years, but his continued struggles against lefties will likely keep him confined to a platoon role.
Schwarber is not in the lineup for Tuesday's NL Wild Card Game against the Rockies. Schwarber will take a seat as manager Joe Maddon stacks right-handed hitters against southpaw Kyle Freeland. While the slugger isn't in the starting nine, there's a good chance he appears as a pinch hitter sometime during the latter stages of Tuesday's win-or-go-home contest. He hit .238/.356/.467 with 26 homers in 137 games during the regular season.
Schwarber is not in Saturday's lineup against St. Louis. Schwarber was withheld from the starting nine for a second straight contest as Ian Happ gets a start in left field. Across 135 games this year, Schwarber is hitting .241/.358/.472 with 26 home runs and 61 RBI.
Schwarber is out of the lineup for Friday's game against the Cardinals. Schwarber heads to the bench after starting the last seven games since returning from a sore back. Kris Bryant (wrist) grabs the start in left field while David Bote takes over at third base for the Cubs.
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