Now that we have all had the opportunity to stomach the injury to Kyle Schwarber, I think now is as good a time as any to look ahead to what the injury means for the team as well as Schwarber individually.
To start off, Schwarbs is going to be out for up to about a year, the main reason being the torn ACL. Although there were two other injuries there (torn LCL and badly sprained ankle) the one that will keep him out the full year is the ACL. Coming back from an injury like this can be very difficult for a player for two reasons: the inability to return previous baserunning ability and the difficulties in using your bottom half while at the plate
Looking at Kyle and the way he plays, the baserunning problems should not be too much of an issue for the simple fact that it is not his game. He wasn’t going to go out and get you 25 stolen bases before the injury so to expect that after coming back from the injury. As far as hitting goes, being rushed into a situation where he is not truly 100% could cause some serious problems at the plate. The good thing is that this roster has enough depth that rushing Schwarber back too soon should never be a problem. There will hopefully be no need for rushing with Soler and co. weathering the storm in left field.
Where this injury does come into play in a major way is Schwarber’s ability (or inability) to eventually make his way behind the plate. Although the likelihood of Schwarber improving to the point where he ever had the chance to be a semi-regular catcher was rather unlikely, the hope was still there due to how valuable his bat would be at the catcher position. The argument against moving him back there has always been that the wear and tear of the position could eventually take its toll on his knees and ultimately deteriorate his performance at the plate. Well now that a knee injury has already happened, the consequences of moving him behind the plate are just too great to risk it any future at catcher.
The most important part I want to get across is to not expect too much for Kyle in his 2017 return! The man-child came up in 2015 and set unbelievable expectations for himself by hitting 600 foot homeruns and being an overall fan favorite. I worry that over the next year we will convince ourselves that Schwarber is some super-human player due to not watching him for a year. Kyle Schwarber is damn good. Kyle Schwarber isn’t going to hit .320 with 50 homeruns and 125 RBI every season. Don’t convince yourself that Schwarbs is going to put up the same numbers that he does in your video games.
Here is to a speedy recovery Kyle, hopefully the next time Maddon scribbles your name on the lineup card you are taking the field for a World Series Champion team.