When the Philadelphia Phillies signed Kyle Schwarber to a four-year contract in 2022, they knew what they were going to get: a great clubhouse presence, a mediocre glove, and a veteran who has been there and done that in the postseason. Oh, and a lot of home runs, too.
Two years in, Schwarber has brought an electric bat to the Phillies’ lineup, primarily out of the lead-off position. In 2022, Schwarber slugged 46 dingers for the Phillies. In 2023? 47. He is the fifth player in Phillies history to hit 40+ home runs in back-to-back seasons (Chuck Klein, Mike Schmidt, Jim Thome, and Ryan Howard).
Jumping Up the All-Time List
93 home runs in a two-year span is quite the feat, no matter how you chalk it up. In so short a time, Schwarber has worked his way up to 31st on the Phillies’ All-Time Home Run list. At the top of the list is none other than Michael Jack Schmidt, the best third basemen of all-time, who slugged 548 home runs over his 18-year career. Ryan Howard is second on the list with 382 home runs. Here’s the full top ten:
|1. Mike Schmidt
|2. Ryan Howard
|3. Del Ennis
|4. Pat Burrell
|5. Chuck Klein
|6. Chase Utley
|7. Greg Luzinski
|8. Cy Williams
|9. Jimmy Rollins
|10. Dick Allen
Ahead of Schwarber are, of course, many familiar names to Phillies fans. Specifically, there are four players ahead of Schwarber who have not yet retired from professional baseball. Closest to Schwarber on the list is fellow teammate J.T. Realmuto. Since joining the Phillies in 2019, Realmuto is 28th currently on the All-Time Home Runs list with 95 (currently tied with Sam Thompson and Jayson Werth). Barring an atypical season from either Realmuto or Schwarber, Schwarber will quickly usurp Realmuto in 2024.
Next, at 102 home runs and 25th on the All-Time list, is a friendly face from the Phillies’ dark ages: Maikel Franco. Franco, who debuted with the Phillies in 2014 and served as the starting third baseman through 2019, bounced around a bit since leaving the Phillies, spending time with the Royals, Orioles, and Nationals. Currently, Franco can be found playing for the Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles of Japan’s Nippon Professional Baseball League. It’s safe to say Schwarber will eclipse Franco’s home run count with the Phillies as well.
Then, we find everyone’s favorite first baseman: Bryce Harper. Harper is currently 20th on the Phillies’ home run list with 122 dingers. Harper, who still has eight years remaining on his 12-year contract with the Phillies, will almost certainly take Del Ennis’ spot in the top three of the All-Time Home Run list. The question is, can Harper catch up to Ryan Howard for a second? Schwarber might catch up to Harper in the next two years, but unless the Phillies keep him around through 2031 as well, Harper will end his career higher up on the Phillies’ list.
The final current ballplayer on the list is none other than Rhys Hoskins. Hoskins is 16th on the All-Time list with 148 home runs. If the Phillies were to re-sign Hoskins, an argument could be made as to if Schwarber would catch up to him. Given, however, that the Phillies have moved on from the former clubhouse staple, it will only be a matter of time until Schwarber catches Hoskins.
How Far Can Schwarber Go?
With only two years remaining on Schwarber’s contract, his potential to rise up the All-Time Home Run list is limited. If Schwarber were to match his first two years total in the final two years of his contract, he would end up with 186 home runs, barely sneaking by Johnny Callison (185) for 12th overall. Conservatively, given that he is entering his age-31 season, Schwarber will probably begin a slow form of regression in his abilities due to age. In just the two years he has remaining, Schwarber will, barring injury, likely hit another 80 home runs or so, placing him right in between Willie Jones (180) and Scott Rolen (and Mike Liberthal) (150) for 14th overall.
So, unless Schwarber sees a massive increase in home run production or, conversely, he sees an injury or reduction in playing time, Schwarber will likely end his Phillies’ tenure somewhere between 12th and 14th All-Time.
What if the Phillies Extend Schwarber’s Contract?
Now, with the Designated Hitter here to stay, an argument can certainly be made for the Phillies to extend Kyle Schwarber. Now, there are certainly arguments against that decision as well (Harper likely to become DH as he ages, potentially a new DH emerging in the system, moving Realmuto to DH if he regresses behind the plate, etc.), but we are going to ignore those arguments right now.
Let’s say the Phillies gave Schwarber $125 million for five years after his current contract expires. That would mean, rather than having only two years remaining, Schwarber would have seven. Where would he end up, then?
Looking at the All-Time Listing, Schwarber would need 167 home runs to overtake Ennis for third All-Time. That would be an average of 23.9 home runs per year, very easily attainable for Schwarber. If Schwarber were to usurp Howard, he would need 290 more home runs, an average of 41.4 home runs per year. An average of over 40 home runs per year over seven years would be difficult to attain but not impossible. Given, however, that age regression will inevitably factor in, I think it’s safe to assume that Schwarber would, given a five-year extension, have the ability to end his career in Philadelphia with the third most home runs in team history.
The elephant in the room, in this case, is Bryce Harper, as Harper would likely still end up with more home runs than Schwarber, but that would work itself out in time.
Regardless of where he ends up on the All-Time Home Run List, one thing is for certain: as long as Kyle Schwarber is in a Phillies uniform, you can expect more Schwarbombs to come.
Photo Credit: (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)