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Levine: Legend Of Kyle Schwarber Continues To Grow

By Bruce Levine--

MESA, Ariz. (CBS) -- Nobody has ever been compared to the legendary Babe Ruth. You hear baseball people talk about the next Mickey Mantle or Willie Mays, but comparing someone to the Sultan of Swat has always been forbidden territory for comps.

Within the confines of Sloan Park in Mesa and Wrigley Field in Chicago, that comparison is now being broached. The sudden impact Kyle Schwarber had last summer for the Cubs has been noticed throughout the game. The home run that came to rest on top of the right-field video board at Wrigley Field in the playoffs, the blast he hit into the river in Pittsburgh during the wild-card game and the car window he broke with a homer a few days ago in spring training have helped create the long ball myth.

Cubs area scout Stan Zielinski was the first to point his superiors toward picking the Indiana University catcher with their first-round pick in 2014. The team's organizational scout of the year, Zielinski believed that he was watching the next great power hitter in the game. Zielinski asked his bosses to watch Schwarber and tell him if his comparison held water. Theo Epstein, Jed Hoyer and Jason McLeod all agreed that Schwarber was worth the high draft selection.

The outfielder/catcher hasn't disappointed anyone yet. Asked for advice to give onlookers during batting practice, Schwarber responded, "Don't park your car out there."

"It was just a home run swing that happened to hit a car," he said.

Schwarber, who turns 23 on March 5, doesn't shy away from the Ruth comparison. He also paid homage to the veteran scout who was in his corner from the first time he saw him hit.

"That is a real compliment, especially coming from Stan," Schwarber said. "Stan is a great guy, and I got to know him through my college days. I really have to thank him because he pushed for me to get here. He believed in me, and Stan is just an overall great person. For him and the others to say that really does mean something to me personally. Coming from a guy who has been around baseball a long time, it's a great compliment."

Schwarber will be both an outfielder and catcher this season. The Cubs' brass believe that he's capable of learning his trade at both positions.

Last year, he hit 16 homers in 273 plate appearances in the regular season, then blasted five homers in the postseason.

"I am trying to get better at both positions," Schwarber said. "I worked hard on it all offseason. Anything can happen. Last year, (Miguel) Montero got hurt and I got called up to come catch. Anything happens like that, I have to be ready. I am still going to prepare like I am a catcher. At the same time, I will try to get better in the outfield."

Don't forget, Babe Ruth was a two-position man himself.

Bruce Levine covers the Cubs and White Sox for 670 The Score and Follow him on Twitter @MLBBruceLevine.

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