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“He’s hungry” – Reading Eagle

Frank Schwindel, the first baseman of the Chicago Cubs, can only remember from time to time when he sees catcher Willson Contreras skillfully unleashing a throw at a potential base stealer.

Schwindel was once known for having his arms crossed behind the plate and was a minor league in the Kansas City Royals organization at the time. Cub doesn’t have to stick to scenarios where you need to use an emergency catcher. But if that happens, Schwindel will be an unexpected but obvious choice.

Schwindel started 67 catchers in the Royals farm system over three minor league seasons. Most recently, it’s 2015. When he played for Low A Lexington in 2014, he caught Cubs teammate Alec Mills. Schwindel has a great arm behind the plate, recording an elite stolen base rate of 39% on a rookie ball in 2013 and 40% in 2014.

“I used to be excited to see someone take off and throw, and it was a lot of fun,” Schwindel told Tribune. “But I didn’t like to do anything else. Especially with the A-ball, when I didn’t know where the pitcher was heading, I chose and blocked everything I could. How can I go? Can you find out? “

The Cubs’ focus on finding high-quality backup catchers after last season has unknowingly increased the flexibility of the lineup.

The designated hitter was not officially added to the National League when the Cubs signed veteran Yan Gomes before the lockout. It was an expected change in the collective bargaining agreement, but with the implementation of the DH, manager David Ross ensured that Contreras had plenty of rest early in the season to be rewarded in the summer.

However, due to the catcher’s aggressive profile, it may be worth playing with. Friday night’s match against the Pittsburgh Pirates was the third time last week, and Ross put Contreras and Gomez in the same lineup thanks to the DH spot. Aggressive boosts outweigh the potential risks you face if the cub could go down to the catcher in the event of an in-game injury.

If the Cubs need Schwindel to catch in an emergency, he will gladly fill in. Schwindel even has a catcher’s mitt in his apartment he’s working on, “but hopefully I won’t need it.” His experience as a catcher was rewarded on first base. He believes he has a good hand because he was forced to pick up so many balls from the soil behind the plate and keep his body and hands in place. ..

“If I’m catching a 100 mph heater, standing in front of a ball on the ground isn’t too bad,” Schwindel said.

Schwindel’s bat-to-ball skills and hot hits earned him play time last season. His offensive work has, of course, received more attention, but he also takes the defensive side of the game seriously. After being summoned after the trade deadline, Schwindel often saw him working with bench coach Andy Green before the game on first base.

“He’s growing because he’s anxious to be known as one of the elite first basemen and he didn’t show up in his reputation,” Green said this week. “He puts a lot of effort into his work before reading pitches and swings. He’s doing a really great job.”

Schwindel turned his major league, leading the fourth 3-6-3 double play of the season, to end the first inning of Friday’s 4-2 defeat against the Pittsburgh Pirates. Jesús Aguilar of the Miami Marlins recorded two. This is the only other first baseman to record such a double play more than once. Schwindel makes these plays easy by making sure he has the right positioning, footwork, and a clear throwing angle to avoid the runner going second.

“These are some of the hardest double plays to turn,” Green said.

Schwindel’s improved preparation routine and preparation as the ball entered the zone stood out to Ross throughout the first 13 games.

Rotations featuring pitchers that rely on ground ball for success, such as Kyle Hendricks and Marcus Stroman, require solid infielders. Nakano, in particular, has received a lot of defensive attention, especially with the frequent shifts in the Cubs, but the steady and improved Schwindel will greatly help in their defense.

“I always thought he had nice hands and gloves, which was to make his feet react when the ball was hit,” Ross said. “In the backend of last season, he thought he was doing it much better than when he first came here.”

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“He’s hungry” – Reading Eagle

Source link “He’s hungry” – Reading Eagle

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