By Bob Behre
Livingston High School grad Frank Schwindel is a couple weeks from completing a second straight highly productive season with the Kansas City Royals Triple-A affiliate Omaha, so the question begs, “When will the Royals call him up to the big club?”
Now would be nice but more likely the St. John’s University grad will get the call when rosters expand on September 1. Schwindel, an 18th round pick in 2013, has a couple prospects ahead of him in Kansas City in fellow first baseman/DH Hunter Dozier and Ryan O’Hearn, not to mention veteran Lucas Duda.
Duda (.237, 11 HR, 43 RBI) recently cleared waivers and could depart in a trade if the Royals can pry a prospect or two from a suitor. Dozier is batting .213 in 229 at bats and O’Hearn is hitting .182 in just 44 at bats. Schwindel should get his first taste of the big leagues either way. And he deserves it off yet another impressive season in the minors.
The 6-1, 205-pounder has 56 extra-base hits, including 33 doubles and 22 home runs that have produced much of his 85 RBI in 120 games this summer. Equally telling in his steady improvement, Schwindel has dropped his strikeout rate while increasing his walks rate.
Schwindel earned Second Team All-State in New Jersey as a catcher for Livingston in 2010. He was not drafted out of high school before embarking on three outstanding seasons at St. John’s. He did continue to catch in the early going as a professional before he was converted to a full-time first base by the time he reached Double-A ball.
Schwindel climbed steadily through the Royals chain before reaching Triple-A last summer. He was invited to the Royals’ spring training camp this year and had an excellent exhibition season before being sent down to Omaha shortly before the MLB season began.
Schwindel put some staggering numbers together last summer in a season split between Double-A Northwest Arkansas and Triple-A Omaha. He batted .329 with 177 hits, reached base at a .349 pace and slugged at a .541 clip to post an impressive .890 OPS. Sure, he drew just 16 walks and struck out 85 times, but Schwindel continues to improved on those numbers.
Schwindel’s 2017 numbers at Triple-A Omaha really didn’t experience a drop off from his Double-A stat line. He batted . 321 with 126 hits, 30 doubles, 17 home runs and 72 RBI. He also had a .321 on-base percentage, slugged at .528 and posted a .868 OPS over his final 99 games of the seasons for the Storm Chasers.
He has also done an excellent job fielding his position. Schwindel has not committed an error this season in 442 chances at first base.
Schwindel’s 2018 stat line at Omaha is impressive at every turn.
G-120; AB-453; R-60; H-131; 2B-33; T-1; HR-22; RBI-85; BA-.289; OBP-.342; SLG-.512; OPS-.854.
He is 26 and has put together two very good seasons in Triple-A. The time has come to see what Frank Schwindel can do against major league pitchers. The rest of the Royals first basemen certainly are not lighting it up.