By John Bombatch
CINCINNATI — The ball player who lived the closest to the stadium for Sunday’s All-Star Futures Game was also the game’s most valuable.
Kyle Schwarber, a hot Chicago Cubs 22-year-old prospect who played his high school baseball at Middletown High School maybe a half hour up Interstate 75 from Cincinnati, threw out a World Team runner who was trying to steal second base and later tripled home two U.S. Team runs in a convincing 10-1 rout at Great American Ball Park.
He gunned down World Team lead-off speedster Ketel Marte, who tried to steal second in the first inning. In the third, he tripled to score Tony Kemp and J.P. Crawford.
Having shown his talent both with his bat and his arm, Schwarber was named the game’s Most Valuable Player.
“It’s a good award, but it was a team award. We all pitched in and did our parts today. This shouldn’t just go to one individual, it should go to one team,” he said, amidst the glare of two television overhead lights and a large throng of reporters. The large pack of journalists overflowed into the lockerroom stalls of Amir Garrett and C.J. Edwards, who both patiently dealt with the packed corner of the Reds’ regular season clubhouse.
“It was a great experience being able to play with all these guys in front of these fans,” Schwarber said. “It’s probably one of the more packed houses for a Futures Game, I think. It was great to see us have a little success, pitch it around a little bit and get some hits and scores.”
Schwarber played his collegiate ball at Indiana University. The Chicago Cubs drafted him in the first round (fourth overall) in the 2014 Major League Baseball draft, and the 6-foot, 235-pound backstop first saw Major League action on June 16 of this season.
He said he could hear the many Middletown-area fans in the stands. Schwarber drew one of the loudest rounds of applause during the game.
“It was great. I had a lot of family and friends out here. Having them be able to share this experience with me, it really meant a lot,” he said.
Asked just how many Middletonians he knew of who were on hand to watch him, Schwarber just had to laugh.
“A lot!” he smiled.
Kyle Schwarber 17 C
Full Name: Kyle Joseph Schwarber
Born: March 5, 1993
Birthplace: Middletown, OH
Height: 6’ 0”
Draft: Round 1 (2014, CHC)
MLB Debut: 06/16/2015
Selected by the Chicago Cubs in the first round (No. 4 overall) of the 2014 MLB Draft out of Indiana University… signed with the Cubs on June 11, 2014 for $3.125 million… ranked the No. 16 overall player in the Draft… voted the best catcher in the country by Perfect Game and the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association in 2013… hit .358 with 14 HR, 16 2B, 6 3B, 48 RBIs, 66 R, 10 SB, and a .464 OBP in 59 games in 2014.