The talk around baseball the past two weeks has been the Kyle Schwarber hot streak that has seen the former top-five pick in the month of June terrorizing pitchers. Schwarber leads the league with home runs in June with 13 and has 21 on the year in his first season as a National. Since June 12th Schwarber has accumulated 2.1 fWAR which ranks first in that time, the former Cub also has a monstrous 255 wRC+ in that span.
As this article is being put together, Schwarber has left the yard two more times against the New York Mets, and the scorching Kyle Schwarber hot streak continues. Schwarber, since being placed into the leadoff spot, has been on another level; although the 15 home runs over the previous 75 plate appearance sample are unsustainable, the results from the fourth overall pick in 2014 shouldn’t come as a shock.
Kyle Schwarber Hot Streak: It Fits The Profile
All of Schwarber’s June home runs have come since June 12th, the same day that manager Dave Martinez moved Schwarber to the lead-off spot. Schwarber is one of only four names to hit 15 home runs in a 75 plate appearance span, the others being Barry Bonds, Mark McGwire, and Sammy Sosa (stat via @MLBRandomStats on Twitter). On the season, Schwarber is slashing .253/.337/.569 with a career-high 141 wRC+; the season stats have obviously taken a massive jump given the Kyle Schwarber hot streak where he has a slugging percentage of .780 for June and doesn’t appear to be slowing down anytime soon.
The batted ball profile for the Nationals left fielder aligns with what he did in the 2019 season that saw him finish with 38 home runs. Through 2021 we are seeing a bounceback involving his launch angle, which has seen his groundball rate decrease while increasing his flyball and line-drive rate.
Schwarber has a rather robust wRC+ over 300 on both line drives and fly balls for the season and just a 34 wRC+ on ground balls (as expected). The .570 expected slugging percentage (xSLG) sits in the 95th percentile on the season, and that’s no shock when you look at the hard-hit rate that is resembling his 2019 “breakout” campaign. Schwarber is currently ranked fourth in home runs behind Vladimir Guerrero Jr., Shohei Ohtani, and Fernando Tatis Jr. He also has the third-highest HR/FB percentage in the league at 35.8%
In his time as a Chicago Cub, it was established that he was a strong side platoon hitter against right-handers given his .340 slugging percentage against lefties in his career. Since June 12th Schwarber against right-handed pitchers has been incredible, a league-leading 1.455 slugging percentage (second closest is .944) while having a 384 wRC+ higher than second closest by a healthy 101 margin (Fernando Tatis jr.).
Enjoy The Ride
What looks to be on route to a career season for Schwarber, 2021 opposing pitchers when throwing fastballs against Schwarber haven’t gone as planned for the most part.
While Schwarber has been read hot against righties, since June 12th Schwarber has a microscopic 16 wRC+ against left-handed pitchers. For the year Schwarber has only 88 plate appearances against LHP and 204 against right-handers.
This level of dominance from Schwarber is obviously a huge shock but in a way it isn’t. Nothing has really chabged for Schwarber, besides the fact that he has been on another level againt righties and most specifically the fastball. But as the season continues we will like;y see adjustments from pitchers that revolve heavily around pitch repetoir.
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