are few opportunities when a player moves through the minor league
ranks as fast as the Chicago Cubs fourth overall pick of the 2014 MLB
Amateur Draft, Kyle Schwarber. Schwarber has impressed through 18
games in the minors, with Class A Kane County and Class Short-Season
A Boise, hitting for a .446 batting average with eight home runs, 20
RBI and 19 runs scored.
of Schwarber’s teammates from Indiana University, Demetrius Webb
and Austin Foote, both red-shirted their freshmen years; in doing so
both had the opportunity to learn valuable lessons that they are
implanting in the PGCBL and the rest of their baseball careers. Both
Webb and Foote are current members of the Albany Dutchmen and have
both seen playing time so far early in the season.
far, Webb has started in nine games and played in 10 and has four
hits, two RBI and is a perfect 3-for-3 in stolen base attempts.
has been a good time so far,” Webb said about how his experience in
the PGCBL has been so far this summer. “Playing with guys from
other schools and meeting other players from other teams has been
just met another catcher from the Utica Brewers and we started
talking and he told me how he was from the Bahamas. His story is very
interesting on how he got the opportunity to come over to the U.S. to
play the game he loves.”
Foote, he has pitched in five games and started one, posting a 2.53
ERA and is currently second on the team with 15 strikeouts in 10 2/3
innings of work.
is my first year of playing summer ball, so I didn’t know what to
expect, but the experience has been a blast so far,” Foote said.
“Having new teammates from all around the country is great, and the
level of competition is really good too.”
Webb, who may soon take the reigns as Indiana’s next catcher, he
said watching Schwarber has taught him a lot as a player and to just
have fun playing the game.
able to step on the field with him every day was an honor,” Webb
said. “He is a very humble and down to earth guy. No matter how
good he was, he always wanted to get better and most importantly, he
had fun playing.”
Webb said he learned the most from Schwarber was that hard work
always pays off.
knew he was leaving after the season,” Webb added. “When we would
practice, he would make sure I understood everything so next year I
would be prepared.
think the most important thing I learned from him was to always work
hard. He wasn’t highly recruited coming out of high school; he work
to get where he is today. Yeah the guy has unbelievable hitting
skills, but it’s not like he got that over night. He wanted to be
great, so he challenged himself and worked hard to be great.”
Although he red-shirted this past spring, Demetrius Webb (right) learned a lot from Kyle Schwarber (left).
that’s what Webb plans to do in the offseason in preparation for
the upcoming college season. He said his main focus this summer is to
improve his hitting, since that’s what scouts said he needed to
into my freshman year, I knew my hitting was my weakness. When I was
recruited, that’s what all the coaches would tell me, that I’m
lacking hitting,” Webb said. “I have always had good defensive
skills behind the plate. I am hoping to improve my hitting capability
which so far I can see improvement.
Albany Dutchmen coaching staff knows how bad I want to improve my
hitting, so they are helping me out a lot and trying to get me where
I need to be.”
also plans to get the necessary reps to keep himself in the baseball
mindset and not let his play get rusty as he heads back to campus in
play every day basically, so being able to get a lot of reps before
going back to school is a plus,” he said. “I didn’t see any
playing time last year because they red-shirted me, so coming out
here is helping me improve my game and getting my rust out so I can
be prepared in the fall.”
would a catcher be without a pitcher throwing him the ball? A pitcher
and a catcher go together like peanut butter and jelly, and for
Foote, continuing getting practice with Webb behind the plate has
helped their chemistry.
been really great to pitch to a catcher I’m already comfortable
with,” Foote said. “Meech [Webb] and I were roommates freshman
year at school so it works out perfectly that we play for the same
summer team. He’s a great player and really likes to control the
game behind the plate and neutralizes a lot of my mistakes off the
Webb, Foote said he has also learned a lot about work ethic from
watching Schwarber play.
learned a lot about work ethic and how to play the game the right
way,” Foote said. “To watch him was a great learning experience.
think it elevates the play of the team when you have a player like
him. You see him playing well and the rest of the team follows.”
offseason, Foote plans to improve on his mechanics as a pitcher and
to attack hitters with all three of his pitches.
main goal this summer is to get on the mound and compete to give my
team the best chance to win,” he said. “But specifically, I’m
focused on attacking the zone with all three of my pitches and to
develop a better pick-off move.”
watching the success of Schwarber their freshmen year at Indiana and
seeing the success he’s having in the minors, Foote and Webb will
take what they have learned from watching Schwarber and apply it to
said even with the recent news of hearing IU’s coaching staff has
departed to coach at Arizona State; he will still compete hard and do
everything he can to help his team succeed.
one of the best coaches in college baseball and the guy who built the
program is a downfall,” Webb said. “But we [the team] have come
together and we are happy for Coach Smith. We know we are capable of
still being a top program in the nation. We lost three of our best
hitters, our best left-handed pitcher and only losing one pitcher to
the draft, I believe our pitching staff is going to be hard to beat.
can say IU baseball will never be the same. IU baseball plays as a
team. We know what we have to do next year. Like I said, we are going
to be a hard team to beat. No matter who our coach is, we are all
going to have the same goal and that is to win and compete at the