2022 Fantasy Baseball Player Outlook: Frank Schwindel

Mike Kurland reviews Chicago Cubs Frank Schwindel's 2021 and looks forward to 2022 and discusses Schwindel's outlook.

To move forward we must first look at the past. The idea is to look back at 2021 and look at how a player produced, see if the peripherals match the production, and then hopefully have an idea of expectations heading into 2022. Frank Schwindel has been a name I have been asked about a couple of times so why not start this article series with him?

Frank Schwindel came up last season for the Cubs and we saw him hit 14 home runs in just 64 games at the MLB level. This was accompanied by a 3.26 batting average and .962 OPS. Ultimately this led to him posting a 152 wRC+ (league average in 100) and he was a darling for fantasy managers. The 29-year-old had a great run to end 2021 but at 29 years old was this a flash in the pan or could this be a warning of things to come? Let’s dive in and take a look.

A Look At Seasons Past

Frank Scwhindel has a long minor league track record. One thing that stands out immediately is the lack of swing-and-miss in his profile. Outside of a nine-game sample in Triple-A for the Cubs in 2021, he never posted a strikeout rate above 19.7% ever. He does not walk much so with the lack of holes in the swing, we can tell he makes plenty of contact and is willing to swing. The standout addition to his game in 2021 was the power. In just 118 games total between Triple-A and the MLB level he managed to hit 31 home runs. This is the most he has hit in any season with the next highest total being 24 home runs in 2018 in 134 games in Triple-A. So right away you have to ask if the power is real?

Is The Power Production Legit?

In 2021 the power surge occurred. His power metrics do not stand out as anything beyond average.

YearAVG EVEVFB/LDHH%Barrel%sd(LA)
202186.988.939.8%832
League Avg.88.79339.3%7.9%29.2

His hard-hit rate (39.8%) and barrel rate (8%) are essentially league average. The 88.9 MPH exit velocity on line drives and fly balls as well as the overall exit velocity of 86.9 MPH are below average. Frank Schwindel does hit the ball in the air often and put the ball to the pull side (39.3%) and up the middle (38.8%). This can assist in power production but is not enough to buy into what we saw in this small sample. This should assist in continued success with the batting average.

This profile does not scream power and he likely overperformed in 2021 which is backed by the expected stats compared to the actual stats.

BAxBADiff.SLGxSLGDiff.wOBAxwOBADiff.
.326.27056.591.451140.403.32974

A reminder that expected stats are a reflection of production not a predictor of future production. In this case, the profile lacks a reason to believe that power production and the expected stats have some credence to them.

Plate Discipline

YearO-Swing%Z-Swing%Swing%O-Contact%Z-Contact%Contact%Zone%F-Strike%SwStr%
202138.70%72.00%52.10%61.50%91.30%78.00%40.10%64.50%11.30%
League Avg.31.30%68.90%47.20%62.40%84.60%76.10%42.10%60.60%11.20%

This is Frank Schwindel’s strength. He can make an above-average amount of contact overall as well as in the zone. He does this while swinging at an above-average clip. The issue, or potential issue, is his willingness to chase. With an O-Swing% of 38.7% paired with his ability to make contact could lead to a lot of soft contact and pitchers will be able to adjust and exploit this. The sprint speed (32nd percentile) is not a strong enough tool to take advantage of soft contact.

It is clear to see Schwindel can hit the ball in the zone. 91.3% zone contact rate is among the top 35 overall in the league of hitters with at least 250 PA. This ranked better than Wander Franco for reference. If he improves on his willingness to chase pitches outside the zone, my confidence in his production would improve. However, it is hard to predict said growth given the only other example we have of his plate discipline at the MLB level he posted a 40.7% O-Swing%. He will not strike out much and the mix of contact skill with the line drives should lend itself to a good batting average.

2022 Outlook

The Steamer projections have Frank Schwindel hitting 27 home runs while hitting .270 in just 130 games. The batting average makes sense but to get close to the 30 home run mark I believe he would require closer to the 150 game mark. His bat can keep him into the lineup but a power breakout at 29-years-old (turning 30 next year) paired with a lack of evidence in the profile that the power production we saw was real is hard to buy into. The projection does not feel far from reality but only if the games played total nears 150 compared to the 130 they have him currently allotted.

The current NFBC ADP is 236.5 since December 1st. This is with a minimum pick of 182 and a max pick of 287. This is the 24th first baseman and he is being drafted next to the likes of Nathaniel Lowe and Bobby Dalbec. Regression is already baked into this draft cost and Schwindel is being drafted appropriately in my opinion. Ultimately Frank Schwindel offers a good floor but you should temper expectations on the ceiling.


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