Less than a week after A.J. Pollock fractured his elbow, another young National League player with a high ceiling is making a trip to the disabled list. An MRI on Chicago Cubs catcher/outfielder Kyle Schwarber on Friday revealed complete tears in his ACL and LCL in his left knee, according to Carrie Muskat of MLB.com.
Full ACL and LCL tear for #Cubs Schwarber. Out for the year
— Carrie Muskat (@CarrieMuskat) April 8, 2016
The injury took place when Schwarber collided with center fielder Dexter Fowler on a ball in the gap Thursday night in Arizona. He was carted off the field and originally diagnosed with a left ankle sprain.
Schwarber is considered by many to be one of the most advanced young bats in the game. Originally drafted as a catcher, he started to see considerable time in left field to get his bat in the lineup.
The 2014 fourth overall pick burst onto the scene last season in the All-Star Futures Game in Cincinnati and proved to be a key piece in the Cubs’ lineup down the stretch. He hit 16 homers in just 278 plate appearances with an OPS of .831, while hitting five postseason homers.
Filling Schwarber’s shoes will be no easy task, but if there is one thing the Cubs do not lack – it’s depth. Manager Joe Maddon has several options for left field moving forward:
- Jorge Soler
Soler signed with the Cubs out of Cuba in 2012 and has upside in the power department. He had a career-high 404 plate appearances in 2015 with 10 homers.
- Ben Zobrist
The super utility man signed by Chicago this past offseason was slated to play mostly second base this year, but Schwarber’s absence could cause him to see more innings in the outfield. This becomes more plausible with Tommy La Stella on the bench and the awaited return of 2B Javier Baez from the DL.
- Kris Bryant
Bryant, the starting third baseman and reigning NL Rookie of the Year, played 19 games in the outfield in 2015 and, like Zobrist, could see that number rise this season.
- Matt Szczur
Szczur made the 2016 Opening Day roster as a player with no remaining options, but has began the season with four hits in seven ABs, including a homer.
Munenori Kawasaki is expected to replace Schwarber on the roster.