At 6 feet tall and 235 pounds, first-rounder Kyle Schwarber is no pushover at the dish. With a powerful swing and natural agility belying his size, it's no surprise a number of teams were interested in this prototypical outfielder on Draft Day.
The Cubs selected him fourth overall less than two months ago, and now the former All-Ohio prep linebacker is showing they made a wise choice.
Schwarber went 3-for-4 with a solo homer, three RBIs, three runs and two walks in the Class A Advanced Daytona Cubs' 18-2 rout of the host Clearwater Threshers.
"Today was a good day for us as a team," said Schwarber, who batted third and played left field. "We were in a little bit of a slump as a team. It was good to bounce back and put up some runs. It's not a one-day deal and we have to keep going and push for a playoff spot. It's baseball, it happens, it just happened that it wasn't just one or two players slumping, it was the whole team."
The 18 runs tied a season high. The Cubs plated 18 runs again against Clearwater in an April 22 game also started by Thursday's man on the mound, Tayler Scott.
The No. 8 Cubs prospect hit a two-RBI single to right field with two outs in the second inning as the Cubs batted around and plated six runs, and he drew a two-out walk in the fourth.
He singled again in the fifth to put runners on the corners as the Cubs sent nine men to the plate for the second time, and he clubbed a solo dinger to right field to lead off the seventh. He capped his evening with a ninth-inning walk and scored on Billy McKinney's bases-loaded walk three batters later.
It was Schwarber's third Florida State League homer and his performance at the plate raised his average to .268. Across three levels, the 21-year-old is batting .341 with 11 long balls and 39 RBIs over his first eight weeks in pro ball.
"[Kevin Walter] got behind, 1-0, and I was looking for a pitch to be elevated," Schwarber said. "I got a fastball. I got it up and it went out. Being a hitter, you know sometimes when they're gone.
"Tonight was up there. I've had a multi-homer night, but you can't really look at one game. There will be more games, more struggles and more successes, but you just have to keep consistent and put the work in on the field."
Schwarber hit .358 with 14 homers and 48 RBIs in 59 games, including 24 Big Ten Conference contests, as a junior at Indiana University this year prior to the Draft. Selected by the Cubs fourth overall in June, the Ohio native appeared in five Northwest League games with short-season Boise and hit .361 in 83 Midwest League at-bats in Class A Kane County before his callup to the Florida State League.
"It has been a little bit of a whirlwind for me, but it's good to start settling down," said Schwarber, who signed with the Cubs on June 11 and earned a $3.125 million bonus. "[The Cubs] just told me to go out and play and that they will take care of the rest. Wherever they put me, they put me."
Daytona leadoff hitter and center fielder Jacob Hannemann went 3-for-6 with two RBIs and two runs. First baseman Dan Vogelbach slugged a three-run homer and right fielder Rock Shoulders added a solo shot, his 10th of the year.
The offense proved more than enough for Scott (7-8), who allowed two runs on four hits while striking out seven batters over seven innings.
Clearwater's Mark Leiter (2-3) gave up six runs on five hits and two walks over 1 2/3 frames.