Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Contemplating Jordan Schafer

Jordan Schafer steals second base Tuesday. He is
six-for-six as a base stealer in seven games with the Twins.

Jordan Schafer has been a fixture in the Twins lineup since they landed him on waivers Aug. 3. Part of it, of course, was injury (Oswaldo Arcia missed a few games). Part of it is wanting to see what he's got.

And part of it is defense. It's worth remembering that Sam Fuld was playing a lot of corner outfield before the Twins traded him to Oakland. Almost every outstanding Twins team of the Metrodome era had two outfield regulars (and sometimes three) with center field range. Kirby Puckett and Dan Gladden (1987), followed a few years later by Puckett-Gladden-Shane Mack (1991). Torii Hunter and Jacque Jones, at times with Lew Ford. Carlos Gomez and Denard Span.

Danny Santana isn't a true center fielder, but Santana and Schafer (or Fuld) do offer the speed to help the strikeout-adverse pitchers. That's not a small thing at all.

As for the rest of his game: Schafer appears to rely on his wheels a lot. He's a good, aggressive basestealer, and he is certainly willing to bunt (just not very effective at it). I get the impression that even he doesn't think he can get a hit off a left-hander (.163 career batting average against southpaws), which probably had something to do with the bad on-his-own squeeze attempt on Sunday that wound up getting Eduardo Nunez trapped off third base.

We may well continue to see a lot of Schafer in these final weeks of the season, and certainly in August. He's second-year arbitration eligible, and the Twins will want to decide if he's worth the price as a reserve outfielder for 2015. They went through a lot of them this year.

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