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Kyle Schwarber Signs with Philadelphia Phillies - Fantasy Baseball Impact

The Phillies made a splash the day before Spring Training games kicked off, signing slugger Kyle Schwarber to a four-year deal. This was a much-needed move for the Phillies, who were in desperate need of another outfield bat.

Schwarber has been a fantasy-relevant hitter for his whole career, and he is certainly someone to examine with fresh eyes after this signing.

Let's talk about the fantasy impacts of this move and what to do with Schwarber in 2022.

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Career Year

After six years in a Cubs uniform, Schwarber joined the Nationals in 2021. He didn't stay there long, being sent to Boston at the trade deadline after making just 303 plate appearances and hitting the injured list in early July.

All in all, Schwarber posted the best marks of his career last season, slashing .266/.374/.554 with 32 homers and 71 RBI in 471 plate appearances. He was one of the game's best per-game power hitters, setting a blazing pace of 43 homers over a full season's worth of PAs.

His barrel rate ticked up, his strikeout rate ticked down, and the OPS sky-rocketed.

He has always been a guy to make a ton of loud contact, consistently posting double-digit barrel rates in his career. The high strikeout rate and lack of steals have kept him shy of fantasy greatness, but the slight improvement in K% last year really manifested in some huge benefits.

For the first time in his career, Schwarber was not a liability in batting average, as that .266 mark was above the league average. He needed a .306 BABIP to make this happen, and we probably should not be expecting a repeat of that since his career BABIP sits at .274 - pretty typical for a slow-footed power hitter with a higher strikeout rate.


Impact of the Move

Leaving Fenway Park and that Red Sox lineup is going to be a negative move in most cases, but Schwarber only played 36% of his games with the Red Sox last year, so most of his work came with the Nationals – which was not a great situation for hitters last season.

The Phillies have Bryce Harper, of course, but the rest of the lineup is middling. Schwarber does not get a boost in terms of supporting cast here, but it is a great ballpark for him. Here are the park factors for all of the parks that Schwarber has called his home park in his career.

These numbers are relative to the league average, which is 100 in this case - so when you see a 110 that means the park adds 10% to the league average in that category. Here are the numbers:

Citizens Bank Park leads the way here in homer friendliness, and it was the 7th best park for the long ball overall in 2021. If we check on the Citizens Bank Park overlay for Schwarber's 2021 batted balls, it paints a pretty picture.

The majority of Schwarber's homers clear any fence you put out there, but you can see that there is some opportunity here as there are several balls that went for outs that would have likely gone for doubles or homers in Philadelphia.

The second big impact here is the protection that Harper offers. We will have to see if Schwarber hits ahead of or behind Harper, but he is likely to bat consecutively with him. That's a significant help. No pitcher wants to put a guy on in front of Harper, so Schwarber could see some extra pitches to hit this year, and he's known to be a patient hitter that waits for those good pitches and takes walks when he can. If he hits behind Harper, well that's a .400+ OBP guy in front of him providing extra RBI opportunities.


Fantasy Impact

This is a positive move for Schwarber's fantasy impact. The batting average is likely to come down significantly from what we saw in 2021, and he's not going to steal bases, but he should be an elite source of homers and RBI. He also gets a boost in OBP leagues with that high walk rate. It will not be surprising to see 40+ bombs from Schwarber this year, so he's a superb guy to add if you start your team by prioritizing speed and pitching instead of power.

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