UMFan83 wrote:Depressing FYI about sample size:
Bryan LaHair first 33 games of 2012:
.361/.453/.722/1.175, 10 HR
Frank Schwindel first 33 games with the Cubs through yesterday:
.374/.421/.699/1.120, 10 HR
LaHair was also 29 and played 1B coming off a somewhat surprising MiLB breakout the season before
There were some warning signs with Lahair even during that stretch that don't exist with Schwindel.
- He was striking out a lot. His 28.1% rate isn't that notable these days, but back then would have been top 10 among qualified hitters
- He had a .460 BABIP. Four. Six. Zero. Insane, I know we all knew he was lucky even at the time but hot damn I didn't realize how much he was until looking just now. Guys are always going to get good batted ball luck during hot streaks, but wowza
- He had a 37% HR/FB rate. That's also stupid high. This was pre juiced ball so no one in MLB had a higher than 30% rate for the season back then. Even post juiced ball there's usually only 2-3 guys a year over 30% and usually no one over 35%
The funny thing is that while he did crash afterwards, and crash hard, his underlying skills didn't change that much. His hard hit rate stayed steady, his GB/FB numbers stayed steady, his plate discipline stayed steady, etc. He just started running a normal BABIP and a slightly low HR/FB rate.
Schwindel has certainly been lucky. Not as preposterously so like Lahair, but quite a bit. However, if you strip out luck and look at his Statcast xwOBA, he's been good at .344 (it's on the OBP scale so .320-.330 is average). Here's a list of guys within 5 points of his xwOBA:
So like I wrote a few days back, I think what he's currently doing is pretty sustainable. It probably should result in more of a 115 wRC+ than a 173, but there's legitimately good things happening under the hood. The question is whether he can sustain what he's currently doing. We've seen Patrick Wisdom go through two slumps and then adjust and come out the other end fine.
Schwindel hasn't had his slump yet. And with where we are in the season, there's maybe enough runway for one slump and for him to start pulling out of it. But we're not going to *know* if he can do the adjust/re-adjust cycle necessary to be an MLB regular until next year. That sucks, because you can't trust him but at the same time 1B would be a crappy place to allocate resources to this offseason.