Philadelphia Phillies' left fielder and designated hitter Kyle Schwarber has had an odd season to say the least. He is hitting just .192, yet his OBP is .343 and his OPS is .812. He also has 40 home runs— which is fourth most in all of Major League Baseball.
Schwarber weighed in on his "weird" season with Phillies Nation:
"I’ve kept telling myself throughout the season, it’s just trying to find a way to be productive. Productive for the team. Trying to help the team win..."- Nathan Ackerman/ Phillies Nation
Despite hitting below the Mendoza line, Schwarber has been a productive part of this Phillies offense for much of the 2023 season. His home run total alone makes him a value member of this offense, but there are other ways that the Phillies' slugger is contributing as well— his own ways of being "productive for the team".
While his strikeout rate is high, Schwarber is getting on base at a higher clip than his usual average. The disparity between his batting average and on base percentage can be traced to the number of walks he is drawing. Schwarber ranks second in all of baseball with 111 walks this season. That number is already a career high by a significant margin.
Schwarber is also likely to beat his previous number of home runs hit in a season, RBIs in a season, and runs scored in a season. When he is getting on base and hitting home runs, the Phillies are much more likely to win, even if his batting average is low and his strikeout rate is high. In games in which Schwarber hits a home run, the Phillies are 25-11. When he walks multiple times in a game, the club has a record of 18-10 following Tuesday night's loss in San Diego. Through May, the left-handed slugger hit just 13 home runs. Since June— when the Phillies began to turn their season around— he has hit 27 balls out of the yard.
The low batting average has caused some fans in Philadelphia to question Schwarber's effectiveness. While the number is very low, he is contributing to the team winning in other ways. If Schwarber is going, the team is usually following, and the numbers are there to support it. There is a good chance that Schwarber will finish the season with more home runs than singles and that is fine. He is not here to be a singles hitter. Schwarber is here to help the Phillies win ballgames, and as "weird" as his season has been, he is doing just that.