The Chicago Cubs today announced they have signed catcher/outfielder Kyle Schwarber, the club's first round pick (fourth overall) of the 2014 Draft. Terms of the deal were not disclosed. Schwarber will join the club's affiliate in Boise, which plays its short Single-A Northwest League season opener at home on Friday.
Schwarber, 21, was selected out of Indiana University following his junior season. He batted .341 (238-for-697) with 40 home runs and 149 RBI in 180 games in his three seasons with Indiana, adding 182 runs, 41 doubles, 12 triples and 23 stolen bases. He walked 116 times compared to 91 strikeouts, leading to a .437 on-base percentage. He recorded a .984 career fielding percentage, primarily at catcher while also playing some outfield, and threw out 51 of 154 (33 percent) of attempted base stealers.
The six-foot, 235-pound college junior from Middletown, Ohio, hit .358 (83-for-232) with 14 home runs (tied for seventh-most in the nation) and 48 RBI for the Hoosiers in 2014, adding career-highs with 66 runs, 16 doubles, six triples, 44 walks (compared to 30 strikeouts) and 10 stolen bases while starting all 59 of Indiana's games. Schwarber, a left-handed hitter, recorded a .464 on-base percentage alongside a .659 slugging percentage, good for a 1.123 OPS.
Schwarber registered a .992 fielding percentage (3 E/383 TC) this season, and threw out 16 of 43 (37 percent) of attempted base stealers, en route to being named one of three finalists for the 2014 Johnny Bench Award, given to the top Division I catcher in the nation.
In 2013, he was named the top catcher in the country and First Team All-American by Perfect Game and the NCBWA after hitting .366 (86-for-235) with 18 home runs (first in the Big Ten and third nationally) and 54 RBI in 61 games. He recorded a .456 on-base percentage, walking 42 times, and slugged .647, best in the Big Ten. He committed just three errors en route to a .989 fielding percentage. He was named Academic All-Big Ten and joined USA's Collegiate National Team after the season.
As a freshman in 2012, Schwarber started all 60 of Indiana's games, including 54 at catcher. He posted a .300 batting average (69-for-230) alongside a .390 on-base percentage and a .513 slugging percentage while hitting eight homers and driving in 47 runs. Behind the dish, he nabbed 27 would-be base stealers, good for second-most in the conference.
Schwarber is a 2011 graduate of Middletown High School in his hometown Middletown, Ohio. He was recommended by Cubs area scout Stan Zielinski.