Polling Place: If the Cubs need a DH in 2020, is Kyle Schwarber the obvious answer?
It appears Cubs fans have almost no issue at all with yanking Schwarber off the field. That doesn’t mean they’re all on board with the idea of having the DH in the National League even temporarily.
According to Statcast’s Sprint Speed metric, the average major league player topped out at 27 feet per second in 2019.
For what it’s worth, Cubs left fielder Kyle Schwarber was — at 27.1 — a hair faster than average.
No one can rightly call the man slow, though he ranked only 51st out of 79 left fielders in sprint speed. Also, those sprint numbers were recorded on the base paths, not in the grassy expanses of big-league outfields, where Schwarber’s subpar route-running to fly balls hurt his overall defensive metrics last season.
There is no doubt Schwarber has improved his overall conditioning and athleticism since reaching the majors in 2015. There remains much doubt about his viability as an everyday outfielder, though his metrics in 2018 weren’t bad at all and outstanding defensive outfielders such as teammates Jason Heyward and Albert Almora Jr. vouch for his potential.
Enter the strong possibility of a universal DH being employed for a shortened 2020 season.
Schwarber has made it clear he doesn’t want to end up in that role — especially if it would mean leaving the Cubs — but is he the obvious answer to fill it for the team in 2020?
For this week’s “Polling Place” — your home for Sun-Times sports polls on Twitter — we gave voters four choices for the job. We also asked about the Cubs’ starting rotation and some of the top names they lost from the 2019 squad, earning quite the ringing endorsement from @HardnosedGuy, who commented, “These are the worst poll questions of all time.”
So we’ve got that going for us. (Isn’t Twitter just the loveliest place?) On to the polls:
Poll No. 1: If MLB goes to a universal DH for a shortened 2020 season, which Cub should get the most at-bats in that spot?
Upshot: Sorry to Schwarber, but it appears Cubs fans have almost no issue at all with yanking him off the field. That doesn’t mean they’re all on board with the idea of having the DH in the National League even temporarily. “I’m too disgusted by the concept to vote,” @crudfish44 wrote. Shake if off, Crud Man. Rub some dirt on it if you have to. We need you out there.
Poll No. 2: Assuming there’s a baseball season, the Cubs’ best starting pitcher will be:
Upshot: Is this more of a huge vote of confidence in Darvish or a huge absence of confidence in the rest of the rotation? Surely, it’s a combination of both. Darvish hasn’t had an ace-type season in ages. Is Lester really this completely done for?
Poll No. 3: If Cubs fans could steal back one of these guys for 2020, whom would it be?
Upshot: Speaking of DHing, Castellanos might’ve come in quite handy in that regard for the Cubs. He sure was a fan favorite, the sort of thing that can happen when a guy, you know, crushes the ball for two months.