I think we can all agree that Kyle Schwarber and Albert Almora Jr. haven’t lived up to expectations. Yet, it seems that certain fans, writers and observers are harder on Schwarber because he had much bigger expectations and he hasn’t really panned out like the Cubs expected. Meanwhile, Almora hits .280 and people go crazy. Awfully quiet this year, though.
Anyway, it’s never been a Schwarber vs. Almora thing for the simple fact that Schwarber plays left field and Almora plays center. It’s not like the Cubs are giving one guy more playing time than the other because of the position.
So far this season Schwarber and Almora have struggled. Almora a lot more, hitting only .192 with a .263 OBP and .192 slugging %. Almora has 10 hits in 2019 and hasn’t had an extra base hit since Sept. 6, 2018.
Meanwhile, Schwarber is only slashing .197/.264/.348, with three home runs and six RBIs.
In 2018, Schwarber was worth 3.2 fWAR compared to 1.1 fWAR by Almora. In their careers, Schwarber has been worth 6.4 fWAR in 355 games. Almora has been worth 2.7 fWAR in 351 games.
Almora is obviously the superior outfielder and plays a more important position in center, but going back to last July he’s been one of the worst hitters in baseball. He brings value to the Cubs because of his defense and his ability to make contact. Yet, Almora is proving that making contact isn’t always good because all he keeps doing is hitting weak ground balls for outs.
Again, Schwarber hasn’t been close to the hitter that Theo Epstein has hyped him up to be, but he’s been average at worst since 2015 and has been more than adequate in left field since embarrassing himself as a rookie in the playoffs.
Almora makes highlight reel plays, but he’s bringing almost nothing to the table on offense for the last four months of his career.
The bigger picture is that both players need to perform better, but I have to point out again that they aren’t dependent on each other. One plays left the other plays center.
But Joe Sheehan can’t let go of his love for Albert Almora Jr.
The first half of that thought is completely fair and if we’re being honest, correct. But then Sheehan takes a sharp left and brings up Almora.
Not really sure how you can think Almora is the better overall player than Schwarber. Better defender? Of course. Everything else?
Sheehan’s biggest argument is that Almora plays good defense in center and started his career hitting .287 in his first 330 games. OK, cool, and that’s great but let’s not pretend that Almora wasn’t doing most of that damage against LHP.
Going back to his minor league stats, Almora had a .738 OPS in 405 games. In the majors, Almora has a .721 OPS. In 2017, Jason Heyward had a .715 OPS, his third lowest total in his career. Almora’s basically been Heyward’s third worst season with less power for his career with the Cubs.
And I’ll say this again. What does Schwarber have to do with Almora?
Almora’s playing time has dipped because he hasn’t been good. Not because Schwarber is taking his at-bats.
Oh, and back to the whole trading Schwarber to the Yankees in 2016 thing, Schwarber was just getting out of crutches after tearing his ACL. Do we even know if the Yankees were at all interested in Schwarber?
I love most of Joe Sheehan’s work, but his fascination with Almora is odd to say the least.