Meet me in Iowa: Cubs demote Kyle Schwarber

Which way to Iowa? (AP)

The modern shape of baseball is becoming a bombastic thing. Home runs are everywhere, and strikeouts are generally accepted. To whiff is human. To crush one into the seats, divine.

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But that doesn’t mean there isn’t a breaking point for teams, a line where a low batting average won’t be tolerated, no matter what power is coming along for the ride. We saw Ryan Schimpf (.158 average, 14 homers) get demoted by the Padres two weeks ago.

Thursday, the other clear dropped on The Mayor of Waveland Avenue, Kyle Schwarber.

The move can’t be a shock to anyone, given that The Schwarbs has a .171/.295/.378 slash and is a defensive liability in left field. The 12 home runs are nice, but they don’t overcome the other baggage. Schwarber was expected to struggle against lefties, but he’s been putrid against all kinds of pitching this year.

Interestingly. Schwarber’s walk and strikeout rates are almost identical to his 2015 line, when he had a .246/.355/.487 run with 16 homers in 69 games. The problem is the quality of contact. Schwarber’s hard-hit rate is down 7.7 percent, his soft-hit rate is up about the same amount, his line-drive clip is down five percent (and 12.3 percent is absurdly low), and the old BABIP sits at .193. That’s unlucky, but it’s not completely unlucky. No line drives, not many hits.

Schwarber should be able to tear up the minors sooner or later, and it seems like the Cubs will probably have him back up at some point in the second half. A little rebuilt confidence can go a long way. Given that Schwarber has catcher eligibility in Yahoo, he could be a conceivable hold for some teams, given your needs, bench space, and free-agent pool.

I’m not the type of player who generally waits on that sort of thing, so I won’t be scooping up Schwarber even if he’s dropped. Obviously most fantasy decisions come down to context, and this is one of those times. I lean towards the drop side of things, but season it to your room.

If you’re dipping into the free agent pool, here are some names to consider:

— Shallow: Mike Zunino (discussed here); Russell Martin (the walks are partially bailing him out)

— Medium: Wilson Ramos, on the mend; Austin Hedges

— Deep: Tyler Flowers (basically the NL’s version of Alex Avila this year); Tom Murphy; Travis D’Arnaud; Manny Pina; Martin Maldonado