Cubs outfielder Kyle Schwarber

Joe Camporeale/USA Today Sports

Cubs' Kyle Schwarber Believes He Has His Mojo Back

"I like the progress we have made with the swing," Schwarber says.

Bruce Levine
March 12, 2018 - 11:56 am

By Bruce Levine--

MESA, Ariz. (670 The Score) -- Cubs outfielder Kyle Schwarber's confidence appears to be back in a spring training camp that has featured a different vibe. After struggling for much of 2017, the 25-year-old Schwarber entered this spring with some tempered expectations, but he's turned heads with a well-documented body transofrmation and a more compact swing. 

On Sunday, Schwarber hit his third homer of the season. Beyond his .333 average and 1.178 OPS in 11 games, the impressive part has been that Schwarber has used an effortless approach that has still generated power and bat speed while using the whole field. 

"I generally feel very good with my whole game at this point," Schwarber said. "I like the progress we have made with the swing and my outfield defense. Everything seems to be going according to plan right now."

A tireless worker, Schwarber lost about 25 pounds in the offseason as he worked to enhance his agility. 

"Personally, I just love to work," Schwarber said. "The coaching staff has done a great job of letting me be me and also relate when it is time to tone things down and not overdo things. There seems to have been a good mix of both.

"The goal has been to find consistent contact with the barrel of the bat. It is about lining balls and hitting them properly. It is only a centimeter of difference between hitting a hard line drive or a soft groundball. I want to control the process and whenever the ball goes, it goes. The home runs will still happen."

Schwarber hit .211 with 30 homers and 59 RBIs in 2017, when severe first-half struggles necessitated a trip to Triple-A Iowa for several weeks. Schwarber repsonded well late in the season, and he's also happy now to have had a full offseason focused on work and not rehabbing after knee surgery, as he was following the 2016 season. Schwarber was saddled with and slowed by a knee brace in 2017.

"I feel much stronger, and losing the brace is a big thing for me," Schwarber said. "I think two years out from the surgery, everything feels like it needs to feel like in the leg. The big difference for me as I was able to work out in the offseason without hesitation, I was done with rehabbing. That was important for both my mind and body."

Schwarber believes he's found a peace of mind entering this season.

"This is a game of adjustments," Schwarber said. "If you don't make adjustments, pitchers are going to continue to throw the ball out of the zone. You want to make weaknesses a strength and your strength's consistent. That has been a focus for me as well this offseason. I hold myself to a high standard. I am happy that the fans hold me accountable. I feel the same way. I use those expectations as motivation. I have learned to get something positive out of what went wrong. I wasn't the best at that last year. I put to much pressure on myself to perform. Taking things day by day is my attitude this year. You try to learn from that day whether it is good or bad, just learn from it." 

Bruce Levine covers the Cubs and White Sox for 670 The Score. Follow him on Twitter @MLBBruceLevine.