Kyle Schwarber is starting to prove last season was just a fluke.
The Nationals outfielder, who is leading off, might be the hottest hitter in baseball right now. In Thursday’s matchup against the Marlins, Schwarber opened the 7-3 win with a home run, his fifth lead-off homer over the past 12 games.
He added to that performance when he sent a 0-2 pitch flying to dead center for a three-run home run just one inning later. In the last five games, Schwarber has blasted eight home runs. Going back further, he now has 13 homers in the past 12 games.
Over the course of the season, Schwarber has had 21 home runs — two in April, seven in May, and 12 in June. Bryce Harper holds the Nationals record for most home runs in a month with 13.
It is a far cry from last season. Schwarber, once a slugging cult hero for the Cubs, found himself mostly unwanted as a free agent this offseason after he posted a .188 batting average over 191 at-bats in the pandemic-shortened season. After that nightmare performance, the 27-year-old had his contract non-tendered with one year left to go.
Schwarber was drafted to the Cubs in 2014 as the No. 4 overall pick; with the team he made five postseason appearances, including a victorious World Series run.
Schwarber had to settle for a one-year, $10 million deal with Washington. He now looks like one of the biggest bargains in baseball.