Every season there seems to be a guy that bursts onto the scene. This season is no different. One of the biggest surprises so far this season is the explosive offense of the Cincinnati Reds and their shiny new toy in right field.
We all knew Votto would be his usual, incredible self. We hoped Duvall wasn’t just being a tease with last season’s breakout performance. We knew Billy Hamilton was the closest thing to The Flash we’ve seen since Wally West himself. We knew Jose Peraza would be….well actually I think we all have been a bit underwhelmed to this point….
Scott Schebler, though, is one person we’ve all been a bit surprised by. Don’t act like you haven’t been.
While in the Dodgers minor league system, Schebler looked like a promising young talent. Hell, in 135 Double A games in 2014 he had 23 doubles, 14 triples, 28 homeruns and stole 10 bases. The following season, in Triple A, wasn’t quite as amazing but the talent was still there. Then, in 2016 he got his first real shot in the majors playing 82 games with the Reds. It was a very average season by all standards. 9 HR, 101 wRC+, .265 average, 20.9% K rate. Schebler was well on his way to becoming another “good enough” player in a lackluster offense.
Then 2017 happened
In Schebler’s first season as the full time right fielder, not only has he impressed, he’s actually shown signs that he still has room to improve. Through his first 50 games, he is hitting .248 with eight doubles, 16 HR and 30 RBI. As a matter of fact, those 16 dingers are actually tied for second best in all of baseball with the likes of Mike Trout, Khris Davis and Joey Gallo.
A 41.3% hard contact rate, combined with a 42.6% flyball rate, as well as a 26.7% HR/FB rate means this dude is swinging a big stick and hitting the ball really far. He actually seems to have followed the launch angle trend that is sweeping baseball. Last season, Schebler’s launch angle was a meager 6.6 degrees. This season it’s all the way up to 10.2%. Not only that, he’s doing all of this while sporting a painfully low .228 BABIP. Imagine when that normalizes. Close your eyes for a second, picture a world where Schebler jumps his BABIP up to .275. It won’t jump up his homerun power, but imagine him adding all of those doubles and triples from the minor league, plus all the dingers. He’d be swimming in Total Bases. Plus, he actually has the speed to steal 10-12 bases over the course of the year. That’s a world where you, the (future) Schebler owner, should want to live in.