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Schafer!

speed defense jordan schafer
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#1 stringer bell

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Posted 28 August 2014 - 10:17 PM

Schafer has done well, no question. Has he rendered his 80 ABs for the Braves moot? He's arb eligible and almost 28. Maybe coming to the Twins is the do-over he needed.
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#2 Seth Stohs

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Posted 28 August 2014 - 11:14 PM

I remember thinking when the Twins were good that they should work and alter the back end of the 40-man roster. They've done a nice job of that this year, trading out the likes of Alex Pressly and Darin Mastroiani for Jordan Schafer and Sam Fuld. 

 

He's arb eligible, but he wouldn't make more than about $1 million. Enough potential yet, and worst case, a solid fourth outfielder.

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#3 Reider

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Posted 28 August 2014 - 11:16 PM

He definitely played a great game tonight! I'm not sure what happens from here on out. Let him play and see how he does the rest of the season.

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#4 Otwins

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Posted 29 August 2014 - 12:04 AM

It's not as if there aren't any outfield jobs open.I think he is forcing his way into the picture for next year.I like him batting ninth.His speed and stolen bases are for real. And as Seth said he makes a good 4th outfielder at the very least.

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#5 Parker Hageman

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Posted 29 August 2014 - 12:34 AM

First it was Sam Fuld, now the Minnesota Twins front office have worked their waiver wire magic on Jordan Schafer.

On Thursday night, Schafer continued his unpredictably solid batsmanship against the Royals. In five at-bats, he collected three hits including a double, drove in three, scored another two on his own and also swiped a base. Just another day at the office for Schafer who is now hitting .328/.411/.438 in 77 plate appearances since coming over to the Twins.

Who would have seen this coming?There are plenty of scouts in the Braves, Astros and Twins organization who would say they knew he is capable of this type of production. Once upon a time, Schafer was a top-50 rated prospect in the Braves system but that promise never came to fruition in two stints in Atlanta which sandwiched time in Houston as well. A vicious cycle of injuries and the subsequent ineffectiveness contributed to the struggle over his big league career. In all, from 2009 until he was claimed by the Twins this season, Schafer put up a sad trombone line of .222/.307/.304 over 1,251 plate appearances.

At 27, Schafer was back with his original organization to begin the 2014 season and was pressed to find a consistent role. He would start in just 14 of the 63 games he would play in for the Braves. Offensively, his career hit a jagged rock bottom when he could not hit anything. Perhaps it was pressing to do too much in order to gain more playing time but Schafer’s swing rate increased exponentially as he offered at every other pitch regardless of where it may be located.

Is this stretch a breakout or a blip?

With the sample size as miniscule as it is, it is easy to consider this streak one of those sample sample size flukes. There certainly is an element of that, no question, however with the regular playing time, Schafer has seemingly shorn up his wild swing (reducing his chase rate from 33% to 25%) and increased his connectivity (dropping his swing-and-miss rate from 31% to 22%). What’s more is that the contact is far better has his line drive rate has jumped (from 16% to 28%) as has his hard-hit average (from .084 to .162). These are solid progress marks.

When the Braves had re-obtained the outfielder in 2013, Schafer confessed to falling into bad habits at the plate that dragged down his numbers. He was trying to pull the ball far too often and lost the ability to drive the ball up the middle and to the opposite field. Turning over when being pitched away resulted in groundouts instead of base hits where he could showcase his blazing speed. He reached out to Braves’ hitting coach Greg Walker to help fix this.

While he showed a better ability to go the other way in 2013 but a foul ball off his ankle led to a stress fracture that sidelined him for 31 days that year, Schafer never came back the same and it seemed his sound approach at the plate he displayed before the injury had disappeared. Opposing teams in the National League exploited Schafer’s overzealous approach and targeted the outer half of the zone:

Download attachment: strike-zone (46).png

According to ESPN/TruMedia, when being pitched on the outer-half (middle and away), Schafer pounded a vast majority of those into the ground, yanking almost 50% of those balls in play and predictably performed poorly (6-for-52, .115).

Maybe it was because of regularly scheduled at-bats or a sweet nothing that Twins hitting coach Tom Brunansky whispered in his ear, but after the Twins got their hooks into him, Schafer turned things around, particularly in this area. On pitches on the outer-half, Schafer has driven those to the middle of the field (60%) which has yielded plenty of hits (14-for-39, .359).

As an example, here is a clip of Schafer versus Joba Chamberlain in which Schafer -- rather than turning over on the pitch -- stays behind the ball to intentionally drive the pitch to the spacious 5.5 hole where the third baseman is drawn in and the shortstop is playing at double-play depth.

Posted Image

What does the future hold for Schafer and the Twins?

After his performance against the Royals, manager Ron Gardenhire said that the organization is going to continue to feed him playing time for the rest of the year and see how he responds.

“That’s what we’re trying to figure out here. We’re letting him play and giving him plenty of at bats and he’s responding and he’s doing well,” Gardenhire told reporters after the game, “You see him running the bases, he can fly -- he scored on that ball late in the game there. He was absolutely flying, I thought he had no chance to score. He has a lot of talent and we’re going to see how he does here the rest of the way for us. And we’ll to kind of figure out how he fits in this organization. We like the young man, he’s come over here and he’s shown some of his skills.”

So we will see more of Schafer in September and the Twins will make an evaluation on what to do with him heading into 2015. He might not be a starter but he could be a very good contributor both defensively and offensively.

The Minnesota Twins stomped on the Kansas City Royals, so Friday you can get 50% off a L or XL pizza at PapaJohns.com. Enjoy!

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#6 jokin

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Posted 29 August 2014 - 01:25 AM

Great article.  I'm not sure who gets credit, but Shafer sure is swinging better than since he first arrived in the Twins outfield.

 

As in the case of Sam Fuld, guys like Jordan Shafer and Emilio Bonifacio and Todd Redmond become available every year and homework on them needs to be done well in advance.  The Twins FO did their job well in both waiver claim cases.  Ultra low risk, medium reward options.  What's not to like?  Especially for team with so many holes and fringy guys on the 40-man roster.  

 

I still have my doubts about Shafer longer-term (especially against LHP), but guys with a certain level of a mix of talent, skills and athleticism can have it all come together for a short or even an intermediate stretch of time that can prove beneficial and possibly downright valuable to the club.  Puts doubt on the blanket theory of many that 25th men spots are.to be so easily dismissed.  And now you set up a scenario where a CF job will not just be handed to Aaron Hicks in April, 2015.  A little competition and depth are good things!

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#7 USAFChief

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Posted 29 August 2014 - 06:21 AM

While I would certainly agree he's hit well in 77 PAs for the Twins, he has 1300 MLB PAs of 228/.313/.311 that make me very skeptical he's even an adequate 4th OFer on a good team.
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#8 Seth Stohs

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Posted 29 August 2014 - 06:32 AM

Great article... As I wrote in another thread, it's good to see the Twins working at the back end of the 40 man roster, getting rid of the likes of Alex Pressly and Darin Mastroianni and picking up the likes of Sam Fuld and Jordan Schafer.

 

When the Twins claimed him, I was hoping he's play LF instead of WIllingham just because of the improved defense. He's been better than I would have suspected, though 77 plate appearances isn't enough to make any final decisions. But I like the idea of picking up a 27 year old with his prospect background, giving him 2 months of nearly every day playing time and just seeing if there's something there.

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#9 luckylager

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Posted 29 August 2014 - 06:51 AM

I love what he has added to the team. Hope to see him back next year.


#10 Dman

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Posted 29 August 2014 - 07:00 AM

I like him as a 4th outfielder and if on the bench he can pinch run in the late innings of close games and do some damage stealing bases and\or getting to home extremely fast.  His batting average and poor bunting are definite downers.  If he can improve those this is an excellent find.

 

The one problem he and the Twins have is that they have at least 4 guys they need to protect on the 40 man this year and some would argue 6 or 7 spots.  How important is it to keep him versus the possibility of losing young talented players to the rule 5 draft? The answer to that question will determine his future with the Twins.

Edited by Dman, 29 August 2014 - 07:02 AM.


#11 TKGuy

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Posted 29 August 2014 - 07:13 AM

He has been great since he gotten here.  I think that he would make a great 4th outfielder/pinch runner/defensive replacement.  I really like him in the 9 hole since he causes so much havoc on the base paths.  I really think he would be a good piece to have on the 2015 club, whether starting like he is now until replacements are ready or as a bench player.  His emergence, along with the Vargas emergence to play 1b, should spell the end of Parmalee and Colabello.


#12 drivlikejehu

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Posted 29 August 2014 - 07:31 AM

The guy is not a good hitter. That's reality. I guess offense is hard enough to find these days that he can be an OK bench player for a couple years.

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#13 Lazarus

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Posted 29 August 2014 - 07:55 AM

His skill set seems to be that of what we'd want in a 4th/5th outfielder - decent defense, pinch runner, late-inning defensive replacement.Not a solution as a starter (I've had my fill of bench players being dressed up as starters the last few years) but seems to be a valuable roster addition for the right role.

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#14 terencemann

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Posted 29 August 2014 - 08:07 AM

Schafer put up a .381 wOBA over 146 PAs in the first half of 2013 but it was largely BABIP driven which meant that, when his luck ran out, he was worse than BJ Upton. His speed is a very real part of his game now and he can add value with it but he will need to show me that he can hit well over a long stretch of time before I buy into what he's doing and believe he can make the day-to-day adjustments he needs to be a good hitter.

 

In addition to what might be mechanical adjustments mentioned above, the good news is Schafer has walked as much as he's struck out this month so I'll be curious to see if he can build off that. If he can hit just a little, he'll make for a decent bench guy. That just hasn't been the case for him in his career so far. The problem for the Braves with Schafer was, because of his speed, he could do well for a few weeks and it will buy him playing time with Fredi Gonzalez for a couple months that should have gone to someone else.

Edited by terencemann, 29 August 2014 - 08:08 AM.


#15 IndyTwinsFan

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Posted 29 August 2014 - 08:22 AM

Great article... As I wrote in another thread, it's good to see the Twins working at the back end of the 40 man roster, getting rid of the likes of Alex Pressly and Darin Mastroianni and picking up the likes of Sam Fuld and Jordan Schafer.

 

When the Twins claimed him, I was hoping he's play LF instead of WIllingham just because of the improved defense. He's been better than I would have suspected, though 77 plate appearances isn't enough to make any final decisions. But I like the idea of picking up a 27 year old with his prospect background, giving him 2 months of nearly every day playing time and just seeing if there's something there.

I agree.While the sample size is far too small to draw any definitive conclusions about his Twins future at this point in time, if he continues to show at least something positive at the plate and in the field the remainder of the season, I see no reason not to give him a decent shot at the 4th outfielder spot next season.He certainly hasn't embarrassed himself thus far.

 

If nothing else, his speed certainly lends an element that the team has experienced far too little of in recent seasons (provided, of course, he can continue to get on-base), Danny Santana notwithstanding. 


#16 DJL44

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Posted 29 August 2014 - 08:40 AM

If Schafer can improve his bunting as a Twin he could be quite valuable in certain situations. I haven't really seen anyone improve their bunting as a Twin though.


#17 IndyTwinsFan

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Posted 29 August 2014 - 08:46 AM

If Schafer can improve his bunting as a Twin he could be quite valuable in certain situations. I haven't really seen anyone improve their bunting as a Twin though.

Valid point!Maybe they can get Rod Carew to work with him in Spring Training, provided he'll be on the roster.


#18 MileHighTwinsFan

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Posted 29 August 2014 - 08:47 AM

One only need to have watched the Royals in this past series to see what a game changer speed can be for a competitive baseball team.  The Royals have the capacity to generate runs in a flash and to kill an opposing team's rally with their speed.  In close games, like those in this series, where a run will make the difference - the team that can drag a bunt or easily steal to get someone in scoring position has a decided advantage. It is also amazing to see how athleticism creates a swagger and confidence for teams like the Royals that are making a run for the playoffs. The Royals clearly looked like a team that is destined for the playoffs.

 

While Schaefer may not be a long term answer, it is easy to see how someone with his defensive skills and athleticism can positively impact a line-up that has the right combination of power and speed. Schaefer's performance last night at both the plate and in left was key to the victory. In fact, speed and the ability to manufacture runs is often the best way to beat a team with a strong pitching staff like the Royals.

 

Great to see him performing well.  Let's hope it continues. 

Edited by MileHighTwinsFan, 29 August 2014 - 08:56 AM.

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#19 Brandon

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Posted 29 August 2014 - 08:57 AM

but can he bunt?


#20 Mike Sixel

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Posted 29 August 2014 - 09:03 AM

Agree with Seth.....improving the bottom of your roster makes the team better (even the 25th man is important.......), but he's probably not a good starter. He might be an ok starter, but I don' think it likely he's a key player on a great team. But, Seth is right, upgrading the team from top to bottom is helpful.

I don't know, it is a site to discuss sports, not airline safety.....maybe we should take it less seriously?




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