June 19, 2024

Consider a player with career averages of 41 home runs and a slugging percentage near .500, consistently ranking near the top of the league in plate appearances each season. One would expect such a player to be highly coveted in fantasy drafts every year. However, for Kyle Schwarber, opinions on his value are divided.

If you were to guess players with similar career numbers blindly, names like Matt Olson, Austin Riley, and Rafael Devers might come to mind. Yet, a closer look at Schwarber’s Statcast metrics reveals his impressive performance in terms of average exit velocity, barrel percentage, and hard-hit rate.

While players like Olson, Riley, and Devers are typically drafted within the Top 20, Schwarber’s average draft position (ADP) falls well outside the top 50, at No. 64. So, why the significant difference?

One apparent factor is Schwarber’s typically low batting average, which might deter fantasy managers from recognizing his significant value to their lineups year after year. However, delving deeper into his performance reveals why Schwarber can be an asset in fantasy leagues.

Addressing Schwarber’s main weakness, it’s essential to note that while he had the second-most plate appearances in MLB last season, he also led the league in strikeouts. However, a closer examination shows that his swings outside the strike zone are minimal. Most of his misses occur within the zone, which suggests he can continue hitting homers consistently.

Moreover, despite batting a career-low .197 last season, indicators suggest Schwarber is likely to return to his typical .230 average. Such statistics are often seen in designated hitters who excel with their bats but lack in fielding.

Although Schwarber’s fielding abilities might be questionable, his outfield eligibility is invaluable, especially in leagues where managers need to fill multiple outfield roster spots quickly.

In the range of ADP 50-70, fantasy managers are faced with several choices for outfielders once the elite hitters and pitchers have been selected. Among the options are Cody Bellinger, Nolan Jones, Jazz Chisholm, Mike Trout, and Bryan Reynolds. However, each comes with their own set of concerns and uncertainties.

Bellinger’s recent inconsistent performances raise doubts about his reliability, while Jones still needs to prove himself despite some promising underlying numbers. Chisholm’s injury history and average batting average are factors to consider, and although Trout is undoubtedly talented, his ability to play a full 162 games is uncertain given his injury history.

Meanwhile, Reynolds may lack in steals and only offers a mediocre average, making him less appealing compared to Schwarber. Despite the ongoing speculation surrounding Reynolds potentially being traded, his performance has not consistently matched the hype.

Schwarber’s value, on the other hand, is often underestimated due to his low average. However, a closer look at his plate discipline reveals that while he may strike out frequently, his selectivity in swinging outside the zone is commendable. Furthermore, his consistent performance over the years and ability to contribute in multiple categories make him a valuable asset in fantasy leagues.

Schwarber’s leadoff position in the Phillies’ lineup, alongside Trea Turner and Bryce Harper, is a testament to his ability to get on base despite his strikeouts. His high walk rate and ability to generate runs make him a valuable contributor, especially in leagues that consider OBP.

Despite his defensive shortcomings, Schwarber’s offensive output more than compensates for any deficiencies. He has consistently delivered impressive plate appearances and has shown no signs of slowing down. His versatility, including potential appearances at first base, further enhances his value and eligibility in fantasy leagues.

In terms of Wins Above Replacement (WAR), Schwarber’s defensive metrics may not be favorable, but his offensive contributions outweigh any shortcomings. His consistent performance and overlooked value make him an attractive option for fantasy managers seeking reliable production.

Overall, Schwarber’s consistent performance, combined with his potential for significant offensive output, make him a valuable asset in fantasy leagues. While his low average may deter some managers, his ability to contribute in other categories, particularly in terms of power, makes him a worthy selection in drafts.

Kyle Schwarber is the Most Misunderstood Value in Fantasy Drafts

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