For a time, Frank Schwindel looked like the one that got away.
He had made just eight appearances with the A’s at the major league level before being designated for assignment. While he did homer in that time, Schwindel had just three hits in his 20 plate appearances and seemed to be a Quad-A player at best.
Frank Schwindel hoping to recapture 2021 glory
Then came a wonderful two month span after he was picked up from waivers by the Cubs. That run led to Schwindel being named the Cubs’ first baseman to begin the 2022 season, although he was able to build on that performance. Released on September 18, he had been looking for a chance to prove himself once again.
That opportunity is coming in Nippon Professional Baseball. Schwindel has reportedly signed with the Orix Buffaloes for 2023 as he looks to recapture the magic from his first stint with the Cubs.
He had one of the more improbable runs of success in the majors in recent history. A 29 year old with just 14 games of major league experience on his resume, Schwindel took the league by storm for those two months in 2021. He produced a .342/.389/.613 batting line in his 239 plate appearances, hitting 13 homers and 19 doubles. That performance was enough for Schwindel to earn Rookie of the Year votes despite appearing in just 56 games.
That success did not carry over in 2022. Schwindel posted a .229/.277/.358 batting line in his 292 plate appearances, hitting eight homers and 11 doubles. He shuffled between the majors and Triple-A as the Cubs hoped to find a way for him to replicate those two months.
Maybe a stint in Japan can help. He will turn 31 years old in 2023 and could still have a few years left as a productive major league first baseman. But he needs to recapture that form first.
Former Oakland A’s first baseman Frank Schwindel has a new team. He is heading to the Orix Buffaloes in hopes of resurrecting his career.