Smokies catcher Kyle Schwarber promoted to the Cubs

ZZ Kyle the new Cub

Kyle Schwarber/photo submitted

22-year-old becomes second player in Cubs era to be called up directly to Chicago from Tennessee.

By Andrew Green

The Chicago Cubs announced Tuesday that they have selected the contract of Tennessee Smokies catcher Kyle Schwarber, and has joined the club prior to their contest this evening against the Cleveland Indians at Wrigley Field in Chicago, Illinois. Corresponding roster move(s) to the Smokies roster have not yet been announced.

A first round selection by the Cubs in the 2014 MLB Draft out of Indiana University, the Ohio native compiled a .318 batting average (61-192), adding 38 runs scored, nine doubles, one triple, 13 homers and 39 RBI in 57 games with Tennessee. At the time of his promotion, the backstop paces all Southern Leaguers in on-base percentage (.438) and walks (42), while also ranking second in home runs and slugging percentage (.579) and third in RBI, as well as fourth in batting average and total bases (114).

The 22-year-old surged in the month of May, slamming eight of his 13 longballs in that month while also recording a .297 mark (27-91) and driving in 17 RBI in 28 games en route to being named the Cubs’ Minor League Player of the Month. The left-handed slugger also enjoyed two multi-homer games with Tennessee that month, smashing two big flies on May 17 versus the Jackson Generals and on May 30 versus the Mobile BayBears.

Schwarber also began his first full professional season on a high note, tallying a .375 average (21-56) in 17 contests with the Smokies in April, adding four longballs and 14 RBI, while also capping his time with the Smokies by compiling a .300 clip (15-50) in 13 games this month, adding nine runs, thre doubles, a homer and eight RBI. Prior to this season, Schwarber was rated the number 19 overall prospect in baseball by Baseball America, in addition to the fourth-best prospect in the Cubs organization behind only former Smokies and current Chicago Cubs Kris Bryant, Addison Russell and Jorge Soler.

The backstop becomes the second player to be promoted directly to the Cubs from the Smokies roster, joining current Chicago shortstop Starlin Castro, who made his Major League debut on May 7, 2010. When he plays his first game, Schwarber will also become the third Smokies alum to make his Major League debut with the Cubs this season after 2014 Smokies infielders Kris Bryant (April 17) and Addison Russell (April 21). In addition, the catcher will also become the 54th former Smokies player to go on to make his Big League debut with the Cubs since the two teams became aligned at the beginning of the 2007 season. Last season the Smokies and Cubs agreed to four-year extension of their Player Development Contract, meaning Tennessee will be affiliated with Chicago through at least the 2018 season.

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