As we now transition to the outfield, one of the things you will notice is the Cubs have multiple options that can play the outfield, which will help Maddon in some of these games. In left field, he has one of the more versatile options in baseball in Ben Zobrist. As a disclaimer, Maddon likes to play different players at different spots, so this is our best guess.
Zobrist has played 25+ games in each of the corner outfield spots, but his numbers were down each year. His .232 average was the lowest in his career. Since he is not a home run hitter, the batting average is really what carries Zobrist’s value in most cases.
However, he is still their best defensive option at the position (two defensive runs according to Fangraphs). Schwarber is not the best defensive player, but he can change any game with his home run power.
Last year, Schwarber came back from an ACL injury to play in the World Series and was critical to the Cubs winning the title. He spent part of the year at Triple-A Iowa, but his 17 home runs were the most of any Cubs player in the second half of the season.
Out in D.C., the question marks remain around Jayson Werth in what is probably his last postseason in a Washington Nationals uniform. Werth has not been the same player since coming back from a broken toe injury in late August (.132 batting average in September).
With that being said, Werth’s value to the Washington Nationals comes with his ability to take pitches and work the count. Baker is going to give his veterans a chance to prove themselves and Werth will get that chance. Also, keep an eye on Howie Kendrick and his professional at-bats late in the game.
Advantage: It will be interesting to see what each of these managers decides to do in left field. While he may not get the most playing time in this series, Schwarber is the player with the chance to make the most impact. In addition to his power, he sees 4.34 pitches per plate appearance (most on the Cubs).
While I think Werth will find a way to make an impact in this series either with a clutch hit or a long at-bat, Schwarber and Zobrist give the Cubs an edge at this position.