MLB.com: Kyle Schwarber listed as top name to watch with the banning of the shift
Phillies outfielder Kyle Schwarber has been listed as the top name to watch with the banning of the shift starting in 2023, according to MLB.com.
Kyle Schwarber hit .218/.323/.504 in his first season with the Phillies, crushing an NL-leading 46 HRs, along with 94 RBIs, 126 hits, 21 doubles, and 100 runs scored. Schwarber, a pull-hitter when the ball stays in the park, lost a lot of hits to the shift in 2022, and MLB.com believes he is bound to benefit from the changed rule the most in the upcoming season.
Kyle Schwarber (Phillies LF/DH)
+12 potential hits gained, 91% shift rate
Great, great start. Schwarber is a lefty, not terribly fast, and he gets shifted on a ton. He’s exactly the kind of hitter who should be at or near the top of a list like this, which gives us the confidence we’re finding something real. That he’s behind Seager largely comes down to contact because while they had nearly the same number of plate appearances, Schwarber struck out 97 more times, making for fewer balls hit to shifted defenses.
Put another way, using the same method we did for Seager — removing strikeouts, walks, homers, balls hit far too deep for the shift to matter, etc. — only 27% of Schwarber’s plate appearances actually ended with a batted ball that could have been shift-affected, which cuts down his losses to the defense greatly.
Still, because he hits the ball so hard, there are quite a few plays like this one, hit at 109.3 mph but right to a shifted second baseman in short right field — or almost certainly a hit in 2023.
Ultimately, Schwarber struck out so much (200 times), and hit so many home runs (46), that he wasn’t robbed of the raw number of hits Seager likely was, and so he likely wouldn’t see a similar batting average rebound. A projected 12 extra singles isn’t nothing, though.
Kyle Schwarber enters his second year with the Phillies, and although the team did add speedster Trea Turner, there is still a belief that Schwarber will stay in the leadoff spot for the 2023 season.
It’s tough to move the NL leader in home runs out of his spot in the lineup, and that seems to be the belief around the team as well. Both Kyle Schwarber and Trea Turner have stated their disinterest in their spot in the lineup as long as there is consistency.
Other hitters named by MLB.com were former Phillie Carlos Santana, Brewers OF Tyrone Taylor, Marlins OF Jesus Sanchez, Carson Kelly, and more.