Seen as a Chicago Cubs castoff, the Nationals didn’t think twice about bringing him in and their decision is paying huge dividends.
In 61 games and 255 plate appearances, Schwarber is hitting .241/.325/.518 with 18 home runs, 30 runs, 42 RBI, and a 126 wRC+.
Five of those 18 dingers have been in the last couple of days.
TWO HOME RUNS YESTERDAY, THREE MORE HOME RUNS TODAY. KYLE SCHWARBER IS THE ALMIGHTY DESTROYER OF BASEBALLS pic.twitter.com/CysfXSMRSb
— Jared Carrabis (@Jared_Carrabis) June 20, 2021
The wRC+ stat means weighted Runs Created Plus, an offensive metric that includes all performance-related components plus external factors, like parks, and tells us if a hitter is above-average (wRC+ higher than 100) or below-average (wRC+ lower than 100).
Schwarber’s 126 wRC+ means he has performed about 26 percent better than his peers when it comes to offense, which is very good.
That mark would be the second-highest of his career, after the 131 he put as a rookie in 2015.
There are several things that lead us to believe Schwarber can have his best season yet in 2021.
He Is Still In His Prime
It sure seems like Schwarber has been around forever.
In fact, he has been playing in the bigs for seven seasons if you count 2021.
However, he is still only 28 years old, in the prime of his physical abilities and with enough experience to know pitchers and make adjustments on the go.
The fact that he is still young and physically able to perform at the highest level tells us that his 2020 showing was a fluke.
Last year, he hit .188/.308/.393 in 59 games, with a 91 wRC+.
It was the first time in his career that he has had a wRC+ lower than 100 in a full season.
But he is showing that not only that was a fluke, but he is also hitting better than ever.
Schwarber is red-hot, hitting 10-for-26 with seven runs, six home runs, 11 RBI, and a .385/.414/1.077 line in his last seven games.
He is peaking at the right time, and this hot streak will go a long way into padding his final season numbers.
Underlying Stats Look Very, Very Good
Another reason why Schwarber could have a career year in 2021 is that his underlying stats match his current success.
He is not getting lucky at all: he is just hitting the ball harder than ever.
Schwarber’s 51 percent hard-hit rate (balls hit over 95 miles per hour) is the highest of his career.
He is also having a career-high 15.7 barrel percentage.
A barrel is a ball hit with a high exit velocity at an ideal launch angle.
In other words, a barrel is the ideal contact.
Schwarber is among the league’s best hitters in barrel percentage and max exit velocity (116.6 mph).
His expected slugging currently sits at .535, which would easily be a career-high as well.
We moved Kyle Schwarber to the leadoff spot on June 8.
In 13 games since, he's hit 7 HRs and 14 RBIs.
— Washington Nationals (@Nationals) June 20, 2021
All in all, and knowing that there is still a little over three months of regular season to go on the calendar, we can safely say that Schwarber is playing some of his best baseball in a while, and there is no reason to think he can’t have his best season yet.
He looks confident and in the zone right now, and is poised to put up career-best numbers across the board.