Finally healthy again, could Schafer challenge for job?

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. – Hindered for two seasons by a hand injury, center fielder Jordan Schafer finally looks fit again — and raring to go. This is good news for the Braves.

Suddenly, center field doesn’t seem like it’s Nate McLouth-or-bust. If Schafer is the player he was before an April 2009 hand fracture, outfield depth might not be an acute concern.

Jordan Schafer (right) is healthy again after being slowed two seasons by a fractured left hand. Here he chats with rookie first baseman Freddie Freeman while wating to hit. (Jason Getz photo/AJC)

Jordan Schafer (right) is healthy after being slowed two seasons by a fractured hand. Here he chats with rookie first baseman Freddie Freeman. (Jason Getz photo/AJC)

“I think when we get to the end of spring, if he’s had a great spring, he’s going to make us think about some things, for sure,” general manager Frank Wren said. “Whether it’s where he should play, or does he fit on our team somehow.

“He’s clearly a talented guy that got off track for a couple of years.”

After playing only 135 games in two seasons, conventional wisdom says Schafer starts the 2011 season in the minors, where he could play every day. But what if the speedy left-hander, who’s hit almost nothing but line drives in the first week of camp, surpasses expectations in spring training?

What is he’s ready to be the fourth outfielder or push McLouth for a starting job?

McLouth hit .190 with six homers and a .298 on-base percentage in 85 games during a season that included a concussion and a demotion to the minors to repair his swing. The veteran’s in the final year of his contract and has the inside track on the starting job.

McLouth has also impressed Wren and manager Fredi Gonzalez in early workouts.

So where could that leave Schafer?

“We’ll see,” said Schafer, 24, unable to contain a smile when asked about his work so far. “How do I feel? Like [bleeping] success. Unbelievably good.

“I felt good coming in, but this is way beyond anything I could have expected. I couldn’t ask for anything more. This is the best that I’ve felt coming into any spring training, as far as being prepared, as far as strength-wise, just everything.”

That’s saying something, considering how he played during 2009 spring training. Few expected him to make the major league team as a non-roster invitee that spring.

Not only did he make the team, he won the starting center-field job, displaying a package of speed, power and aggression in spring training too good to keep on the farm. He homered on opening day at Philadelphia in his major league debut.

“If you roll it back to when we broke camp two years ago, people were talking about him as one of the most dynamic, impressive players they saw in Florida,” Wren said. “So if he can get back to that and be a guy that’s an option for us, that’s big. For him and for us.”

Schafer homered in his first and third major league games in 2009, and the left-hander was 8-for-19 with four extra-base hits, three walks and six runs after five games.

But he also had a sore left hand that was a lot worse than he led on, stemming from a swing he took in his home debut. Schafer would later say he heard a pop in his wrist that day, but kept playing.

After the first five games, he hit .176 with no homers, five RBIs and 59 strikeouts in 148 at-bats over his next 45. Schafer has not played in the majors since.

Doubts crept into his mind during an injury ordeal that included multiple MRIs, September 2009 surgery and frustrating setbacks. Now he finally feels back in the game.

“I feel comfortable with everything,” he said. “I don’t have any [pain].”

He reported to camp early. He simplified his stance, eliminating a toe tap and leg lift.

“The first day I was out here, Chip [Chipper Jones] was like, your swing is so much better now,” Schafer said, “because my hands are going down to the ball. I’ve tried to limit everything – no fly balls, just line drives. Try not to hit any home runs in [batting practice]. Just try to be more of a productive leadoff-type hitter that will get on base.”

Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez said, “I think his approach should be just that. A gap guy, line drives. He’s got enough juice where he can run into quite a few [homers]. But if you [try to hit home runs], it’s not good. Lot of swinging and missing.”

Schafer hit a home run off Braves left-hander Jonny Venters during a workout last week. With Gonzalez watching Saturday, he hit line drives off the outfield fence against top pitching prospects Julio Teheran and Randall Delgado.

“He had a helluva round,” said Gonzalez, who was not with the Braves in 2009 and never saw Schafer at his best.

Schafer, whose weight dipped to 169 in the weeks after surgery, is a wiry 202 now.

A year ago in spring training, when he tried to rush his return, he was disheartened by recurring pain that prevented him from even hitting on consecutive days.

“That was useless a year ago,” said Schafer, who spent the season in the minors, hitting .201 with one homer in 209 at-bats at Triple-A before a late demotion to Double-A.

He played 18 games at Mississippi before the Braves pulled the plug and decided it best to send him home to rest and get ready winter rehab.

Things finally improved in November while he worked with Braves minor league physical therapist Troy Jones. By December, Schafer was brimming with his former confidence, which had been absent since his injury.

Now, he’s showing he might be ready to compete for a job.

“That’s very encouraging,” Wren said. “He’s a good player when he’s right. So we need to be thankful he’s right, and take it from there now, and see where it goes.”

99 comments Add your comment

Josh

February 20th, 2011
6:26 pm

Edward

February 20th, 2011
6:27 pm

Here’s hoping Schafer can be the man in CF. I hope he can pull through and be the young stud he can be. I’m just not down with Nate being there. He’s a offensive and defensive problem.

justin1

February 20th, 2011
6:27 pm

I hope so. Nate was just supposed to be a stopgap anyway right?

douglasville dawg

February 20th, 2011
6:28 pm

He cant be any worse than Mclouth!

Beach Dawg

February 20th, 2011
6:29 pm

I’m pulling for the kid

john braves

February 20th, 2011
6:31 pm

Still has talent.

justin1

February 20th, 2011
6:31 pm

“We’ll see,” said Schafer, 24, unable to contain a smile when asked about his work so far. “How do I feel? Like [bleeping] success. Unbelievably good

Haha. Finally someone with something different to say.

DHD

February 20th, 2011
6:31 pm

He will be in center, McLouth in left and Prado at 3rd because Chipper is done.

Mitchell

February 20th, 2011
6:31 pm

Innocent Bystander

February 20th, 2011
6:31 pm

It’d be a great surprise if Schafer found his stride again soon. I like that he’s aiming to be a leadoff type with his swing. We haven’t had a legit leadoff hitter since Furcal.

Mitchell

February 20th, 2011
6:33 pm

Ah, crap.

Stupid computer. You’re lucky you’re not sitting in a dumpster somewhere.

Darryl Blackberry

February 20th, 2011
6:34 pm

Even Nate at his best (i.e. in Pittsburgh) only hit .280; Jordan has the ability to be a .300-plus hitter with a bit more pop, not to mention youth. Would love to see these two push each other to do their best, not only in spring training, but throughout the regular season. Here’s hoping…

Mitchell

February 20th, 2011
6:38 pm

This just shows you why Bobby Cox needed to retire or have been let go.

It shouldn’t take you two months and change to figure out that there’s something wrong with the guy when he explodes out of the gate and then suddenly can’t make contact for weeks on end.

Him Tudson

February 20th, 2011
6:39 pm

JHeyBravos

February 20th, 2011
6:40 pm

A healthy Schafer is like getting two top prospect rookies on the team(freeman being the other). That would for sure put us with the phillies. Nate being our leftfielder whenever chipper needs a day off

alanfalcon

February 20th, 2011
6:40 pm

Wake up, you should feel good about some center field competition quite frankly I have to wonder why you jump on the first suggestion instead of the two of them going head to head and may the best man win !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

collegeballfan

February 20th, 2011
6:44 pm

Yeah, would love to see an old fashioned battle for the CF spot.

heyward4mvp

February 20th, 2011
6:46 pm

That would be huge if at the LEAST, Schafer made the team. He’d be a big asset off the bench or if he starts. Good to see him do well so far, hopefully it carries over in ST.

DBrave

February 20th, 2011
6:49 pm

If Schafer can return to his earlier form than it gives the braves so much more depth. Chipper is not going to be able to play evey game so Prado can fill in at third and Nate can move over to left. Looking good defensivly, as long as the pitching can stay healthy than we have a good chance at going a long way this year.

JHeyBravos

February 20th, 2011
6:52 pm

Schafer>McOut on his best day
Schafer can leadoff and hit 300 will a OBP at 350 while also hitting 10+ homeruns. McOut can hit 270 max… i want Schafer thats all im saying

justin1

February 20th, 2011
6:53 pm

Well it looks like Schafer will be our new CFer by at least June.

Nate will be traded or demoted.

Mather will be the dark horse.

If Chipper goes down, Prado will play 3rd.

Outfield will then consist of Mather, Schafer, Heyward.

Infield Prado, Gonzo, Uggla, Freeman, Mac.

joedub

February 20th, 2011
6:58 pm

yeah this is great news. mclouth hasn’t earned [bleep]. whoever plays best during the spring should get the cf job.

i’m tired of the chipper haters already! what a bunch of amateurs.

JHeyBravos

February 20th, 2011
7:00 pm

I’m hating of Larry, but you know the man is going to need a day off a week if he wants to remain fresh. With Schafer we can do that and be no worse for the wear.

DBrave

February 20th, 2011
7:03 pm

My lineup

1. Schafer CF
2. Prado. 3B
3. Mac C
4. Uggla 2B
5. Heyward RF
6. Gonzo SS
7. Freeman 1B
8. Nate LF

With Chipper in

1. Prado LF
2. Nate/Schafer CF
3. Chipper 3B
4. Mac C
5. Uggla 2B
6.Heyward RF
7. Gonzo SS
8. Freeman 1B

Zing

February 20th, 2011
7:03 pm

Jordan–

PLEASE win the CF job from Nate McLout. (Intentional Misspelling.) PLEASE.

Sincerely,

Braves fans everywhere

Ray Kinsella

February 20th, 2011
7:04 pm

It would be awesome if he could get back.
Dave, Who are some of the Braves top minor league prospects?
I would like to see an article on that subject, this Spring.

JHeyBravos

February 20th, 2011
7:12 pm

*not hating

DBrave yes, that first line up looks pretty good. Schafer would complete our team. You even put everybody in the order.

Logan

February 20th, 2011
7:13 pm

Greg

February 20th, 2011
7:17 pm

DBrave is right on with his first line-up. I suspect that’s the one we’re going to see. There just could not be better news than Schafer really showing up this year. It’s huge. If this kid can run-hit-throw like we all thought he could a couple years ago, it gives us a chance to be really good this year. I hope McClouth has a big come-back too, but if Schafer starts reaching his potential, McClouth will ride the bench.

justin1

February 20th, 2011
7:22 pm

Mather the dark horse of 2011.

Heard it here 1st.

Bam.

bowman

February 20th, 2011
7:22 pm

McLouth is a bust. Has been since the day he arrived. One of the most over-rated trade acquisitions in Braves history. So here’s hoping that Schafer can find his mojo and make this team better.

bowman
– -
“Art will always be Art.” – Goethe

DBrave

February 20th, 2011
7:25 pm

As much as I hate the DH, just imagine Chipper being our DH and not having to play any D. The Braves would have such a stacked lineup plus Chipper could stay healthy almost all year long. That combined with our above average pitching staff would mean the Braves could win the Series easily!!!

The Monger

February 20th, 2011
7:33 pm

If Nate plays this year I think we are looking at .260-.265 18-20 HRs, 75 RBI, 75 Runs and 10-15 sbs. I think if Schaefer plays CF it will look like .305-.310 14-16 HRs, 70 RBI, 85 Runs and 20-25 sbs. They both walk a good amount, I like schaefer and think he can easily become a .320 hitter with 20-25 HR and 50 double a season power, and can steal you 25-30 bases a year, lacing line drives everywhere, a true 5 tool player, because if i remember back to April 09, the kid can play some amazing defense and has a rifle similar to Francouer’s arm in the outfield.

-Also, to those that say Nate’s defense is as bad as his offense, you are incorrect. I dont think Nate is a gold glover, but being a former centerfielder myself, I know he takes great angles, has good insticts, knows how to go back on a ball, makes accurate throws, is a good fielder on flyballs and grounders up the middle, and has really good speed, and HUSTLES…thats the key. His stats back up the fact that he is above average as a CF. I agree his offense and that .180 Batting Average, and .298 OBP were atrocious!! He will back bounce this year. Nate will hit .260 with 20 Hrs and 20 sbs…you heard it here first…

The Monger

February 20th, 2011
7:39 pm

The Monger’s lineup:

1. Schaefer CF
2. Prado LF
3. Heyward RF
4. Uggla 2B
5. McCann C
6. C. Jones 3B
7. Freeman 1B
8. Gonzalez SS

I swear if Freddie Gonzalez bats Chipper 3rd the whole year, regardless of his struggles, and turns a blind eye to it like bobby, he is NO BETTER THAN COX!!! And I will BOO Freddie G the whole year until Chipper is dropped to the 6th or 7th spot, it is best for the team, and we NEED to COMPETE this year, not play favorites with Chipper….I am a TRUE FAN, and if he hits like the old chipper for .300+ average, and 20-25 Hrs, and alot of walks than i am fine with him in the 3 hole, but if he hits .250 with no power or extra base hits like last year, he needs to permanently be placed in the 6 or 7 hole….THE TRUTH!!!!

Philco

February 20th, 2011
7:40 pm

Chipper to Texas for Michael Young….

wreckbuzz

February 20th, 2011
7:45 pm

I think having Jordan Schafer starting in CF is the best case for the Braves because I think he had potential beyond what we’ve seen from Nate McLouth in the big leagues. Schafer’s struggles are all injury related. McLouth’s were not. So I think if Schafer’s healthy that he could beat out McLouth in an open competition and that’s better for the Braves since his ceiling in 2009 before the injury was .300 with a high on base %, but McLouth is a max .260 hitter with just over a .300 on base %. Not quite the same.

justin1

February 20th, 2011
7:49 pm

Philco-
Never get on another Braves blog for the rest of your life.

Fredi's Fu Manchu

February 20th, 2011
7:55 pm

Defense rarely struggles. This alone puts Schafer ahead of McLouth. Nate, AGon, Uggs, and BMac up the middle is atrocious. The only way to upgrade is w/ Schafer. Hey Nate! You better start looking for real estate in KC.

Steve

February 20th, 2011
8:11 pm

I really think he starts the season with Atlanta to spot start about 3 out of 5 games. Sitting Nate a game and Chipper a game each week. Maybe even spelling Prado or letting Prado spell Uggla for a game each week. Or maybe Heyward once every two weeks or so.

It would be well worth it to the Braves to establish this kind of rotation to keep everyone fresh, especially Prado and Chipper. could also be seen as a late inning defensive replacement in CF, moving McLouth to LF and Prado to 2B or 3B. Another thing to about is that if Heyward’s thumb isn’t healthy, Schafer is the only other guy with an arm good enough to play RF.

Truth is, if he has a good spring he has to be on this club. We are just not solid enough to send a guy who is possibly one of our most talented guys back to Gwinnett. He did just that in 2009, and the buzz around his first series was huge (not Heyward’esque, but still a ton of buzz). It’s amazing how fast some Braves fans soured on this kid.

The Braves pretty much have to play McLouth to see if he can get back to norm. They need to do this if they want to have any chance of moving him before the deadline if they don’t appear to be playoff bound. I know it’s negative to say that, but it’s the truth. If McLouth is having a good year but the Braves are not, he will be a sought after commodity. That limits Schafer’s AB’s to be certain, but there are enough fill in games for him to get 300+ AB’s if Gonzo uses him correctly. That’s as many or more than he would get in Gwinnet, and it’s against more stable pitching instead of guys working on stuff and throwing 56 foot pitches that are ‘just a bit outside’.

I am rooting for him because he represents a 20/hr, 30/sb, 100run type guy who is solid defensively. Braves fans only get to see that about once or twice a decade … and we might have three on this team if Schafer, Heyward, and McLouth all come back to form. And don’t give me this McLouth can’t field crap, as he is above average in CF (his range is very good, and arm isn’t bad .. when he decides to use it). If you consider Schafer in CF, thus moving McLouth to LF, he becomes one of the best defensive LF’ers in baseball EASILY. That position is where sloths go to die and McLouth would be a stud there.

I love the depth of having Schafer and Mather as our backup OF’s brings.

Tommy Boggs

February 20th, 2011
8:11 pm

Prado in left, Schafer in Center, McClouth pinch runner 4th outfielder. And pick up a back up third baseman that can field the position. Defense last year sucked. When Chipper is out we need a Pedro Feliz or Wes Helms type player that can field the position. Chipper needs at least one day a week off and you could pull him in the 7th inning with a three run lead.

Versiroth

February 20th, 2011
8:12 pm

Some of you are crazy. I hope Schafer does well as well, but…. 320 hitter with 25 HR/25 SB ability? So, a guy with a minor league career of 258 326 416 averaging 10 HRs and 10 SB (with a bad success rate as well) is going to be a 320 hitter with 25/25 ability at the highest level of the sport? I hope Schafer gets it figured out, but don’t expect the next Pujols, because you will end up disappointed.

In Fredi I Trust

February 20th, 2011
8:59 pm

I never lost hope in Schafer. The kid unfortunately had a nasty injury and he didn’t say anything because he didn’t want to lose his dream of playing in the big leagues. How can anyone fault a guy with that much passion who is willing to play hurt to keep his dream alive?

While I hope McLouth turns it around, I am really hoping that Schafer can win the starting job back this year. Could you imagine a lineup like this?

1. Schafer
2. Prado
3. Chipper
4. McCann
5. Uggla
6. Heyward
7. Gonzo
8. Freeman
9. Pitcher

If Schafer turned into a speedy leadoff hitter who hits for the gaps, this team would be dangerous offensively from top to bottom. The only players not proven at this point in our lineup are Schafer and Freeman. Schafer has already shown signs of what he can do, and Freeman I am sure will handle himself just fine and be way better then a typical #8 hitter.

What team really wants to pitch to Prado, a healthy Chipper, McCann, the powerful Uggla, the phenom Heyward? This has the potential to be a dominant offense, and when you put that with a very solid starting pitching staff and a very good bullpen, I like our chances this year. This is a exciting time to be a Braves fan that is for sure.

Ronald Millsaps

February 20th, 2011
9:02 pm

The AJC used to run a segment I loved before every NFL season which read: “Players poised for breakout seasons:.” I think Schafer definitely falls under this category now. Am I giving up on McLouth? No, I’m not.

Atlanta rushed Schafer into CF two years ago, lest we forget, and lest we forget also, they had no reason to, as Josh Anderson had more than earned the position. Though he had MLB experience and was ready to bat leadoff from day one, Schafer got the roster spot and Anderson the axe, while Kelly Johnson once again batted uncomfortably at leadoff. Schafer managed a home run in his first game, and that’s all we heard about for three weeks.

Schafer’s defense alone makes putting him in CF a prudent move, especially since our infield and left-field defense probably each take a hit.

In the future, let’s not accelerate a Schafer. Let’s be more careful and patient with the young talent; we’re either rushing a Schafer or trading an Andrus.

urban redneck

February 20th, 2011
9:21 pm

schafer up to 209 lbs? holy cow. he’s always been kinda skinny–ripped but skinny. i’m pulling for him also. i liked him in 09 and hated to see him have to go back down for a while….but we all have our path.

anybody else think we have a pretty decent chance of beating the phils? we have a REALLY good team this year………..and mather is a friggin cannon. imagine meeting him, j-hey and freeman in a dark alley.

Woody

February 20th, 2011
9:31 pm

You can’t have enough talent. Every year, someone goes down for a month or two, or someone just doesn’t have anything left in the tank, and it’s nice to have quality depth that can play full-time and compete for a job. Just think about Prado earning the job from Johnson.

Coach (2011 and Fredi G. a GO!)

February 20th, 2011
10:09 pm

Jordan Schafer is the lead off hitter we have been missing since Furcal left for L.A. If the kid stays healthy he’s gonna force Fredi Gonzalez to revamp the entire line up. That said, Schafer and Mather are already an improvement athletically. Prado is too but but I get the feeling he’s gonna see more time at 3B than in the outfield.

David O'Brien

February 20th, 2011
10:18 pm

urban redneck: Schafer’s 202 pounds, not 209

billmaier

February 20th, 2011
10:22 pm

Good to hear about schafer, and what is so great about this year is that bobby is gone, and there will be no more playing people that are not producing.. bottom line nate hits like last year it will not take half a year to get him out of the lineup, like with k.j and franceour in 2009, and melky all year in 2010. And i am confident that if schafer produces in st and nate does not, schafer will be starting– no longer will you see the best hitters on the bench, ie prado and diaz for half season in 2009. Our future is going to be brighter than our past and there will be more than one w.s flag under fredi, and no more blowing it in the playoffs.

Biff Pocoroba

February 20th, 2011
10:24 pm

Put me in coach!!!!

Highlights

February 20th, 2011
10:41 pm

I just watched this kids highlights from his short lived MLB career; if he can get back to that form I’d take it over McLouth anyday. McLouth was good when he was with Pitt but he really hasn’t shown much as a Brave. He seems like a nice guy but I think Schafer is way more talented and I sincerely hope he plays well enough to be our everyday CF.

BTW based on all the reports, the all these players seem like they have something to prove this year and I so hope they beat up on Phillies.

Bruce

February 20th, 2011
10:54 pm

This is very good news!

loy

February 20th, 2011
11:16 pm

Wren traded away two players last year and look at what he got in return. The Braves stuggle at the end of the season. Wren broke the chemistry of the team. Can he avoid not making stupid trades after the allstar game. Remember Infante and Gregor blanco.

David O'Brien

February 20th, 2011
11:22 pm

Good to hear about schafer, and what is so great about this year is that bobby is gone, and there will be no more playing people that are not producing.. bottom line nate hits like last year it will not take half a year to get him out of the lineup, like with k.j and franceour in 2009, and melky all year in 2010. — billmaier

On what are you basing this statement?

Lollygagger

February 21st, 2011
2:52 am

How about Derek Lowe to Texas for Young? Aren’t their contracts about the same per year, so the money would be about a wash. Just a thought- and besides, I guess Young would have no starting spot on this team really. Tempting to trade those contracts for one another though, isn’t it?

Deployed Braves Fan

February 21st, 2011
3:13 am

DOB, I can’t tell you how much i really appreciate your coverage of the braves. Being forward deployed your blog really keeps me up to date of how things are going. I hope Schafer has a great year and proves to a bunch of nay sayers that when healthy, he’s a heck of a ballplayer. I met him last summer in Norfolk and even though he was struggling, he took time to sign my daughters glove and take a picture with her. He’s a class act from what I can tell and I really wish him well.

David O'Brien

February 21st, 2011
4:35 am

How about Derek Lowe to Texas for Young? Aren’t their contracts about the same per year, so the money would be about a wash. Just a thought- and besides, I guess Young would have no starting spot on this team really. Tempting to trade those contracts for one another though, isn’t it? — Lollygagger

No, I don’t think it’s tempting. You’d open a gaping hole in the top of your rotation, trading a proven veteran whom you can count on for about 200 innings and at least 14-16 wins, and fill it with what? A rookie with very limited experience? And then what if there’s an injury to startter? Add Rodrigo Lopez or yet another rookie to your rotation? All so you could add a very good hitter who’d only have a starting position if Chipper’s comeback falls short? And what if it doesn’t? What if Chipper plays 120-130 games? Where’s Young play then?

Meanwhile, you’ve got two rookies, — or a rookie and Rodrigo Lopez — in your rotation. And with one injury to one of the top three remaining starters, you’d have two rookies and Lopez (or Kawakami) in your rotation. And you’re in a division with the Phillies.

David O'Brien

February 21st, 2011
4:37 am

Deployed Braves Fan: Thanks for the kind words. And thank you for what you do.

Obee

February 21st, 2011
6:39 am

Thanks for the Schafer update. Much appreciated. He could well be one of the top stories of spring training.

JoeBravesFan

February 21st, 2011
9:06 am

If Schafer CAN come back, I will feel a lot better about our outfield options. I’m pulling for him! Oh, and DOB…if we got Young from TX I would play him at SS over Alex Gonzales…that’s just me, though. Do you think Lowe will get resigned after his contract is up, especially with all of the pitching depth we have coming up?

bvillebaron

February 21st, 2011
9:25 am

I have been as supportive of Schafer as anyone and hope he fulfills his promise (his defense and arm alone would be a huge help in CF), but let’s see how he does in the spring. Hitting line drives in batting practice isn’t the same thing as facing Doc Halladay in Philly.

McCann Fan

February 21st, 2011
9:47 am

Very excited to hear the kid may be back to week 1 2009 form. I’m beginning to think we may have a very formidable offense this year

richbrave

February 21st, 2011
10:32 am

That’s great news. We need someone behind McLOUTH to keep the heat on him. I hope he beats out YOUNG for the job because I think he’s got the best talant of the two.

guest

February 21st, 2011
10:40 am

“I like schaefer and think he can easily become a .320 hitter with 20-25 HR and 50 double a season power”

^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

You do realize that only 7 players hit .320 or better this past season? Only 19 hit .300 or better.

I like the optimism, but it should also be tempered with reality as well.

WPB Brave

February 21st, 2011
11:39 am

1) McLouth / Schefer – CF
2) Prado – 3B
3) J-Hey – RF
4) Uggla – 2B
5) B-Mac – C
6) Gonzo – SS
7) Hinskie – LF
8) Freeman – 1B

Spud Webb

February 21st, 2011
12:05 pm

WPB Brave, I think that lineup you have is spot on. Possibly McLouth in left though. I think they want Kinskie coming up for PH duties.

Del

February 21st, 2011
12:14 pm

JS will be the answer to the black outfield hole we currently have. He will either take over CF or be the primary backup. Take it to the bank.

John

February 21st, 2011
12:18 pm

And it starts……..Jordan will be in CF before we know it!

Disbott 3000

February 21st, 2011
12:53 pm

People who get on here to bash Bobby Cox make no sense to me at all. He’s only a Hall of Fame manager,after all. Anyway, I’m sure Fredi will have his own way of doing some things, but if you’re the type of knucklehead who desires to see a dramatic change from the way Bobby did things, you might want to start following a different team, ’cause Fredi and Bobby are a lot more alike as managers than they are different.

Go Braves!

Disbott 3000

February 21st, 2011
12:56 pm

Question: Has any link ever been made between Schafer’s, um, shall we say, pharmaceutical intake, of the past and his injury and long, complicated recovery? I don’t really know much about it, so I am genuinely curious. I wish him all the best and hope to see him helping the big team in the near future.

John in Wichita

February 21st, 2011
1:25 pm

Dave.. Love Fredi’s quote: “He’s got enough juice where he can run into quite a few [homers].” “juice” wasn’t exactly a good choice of word in this case!

Thanks for your work. I’ll go back to reading quietly now.

ramblingman

February 21st, 2011
2:11 pm

The only pharmaceutical component of Schafer’s history involves him being suspended for associating with some others who were using. Schafer was never proven to be using, has never admitted using, and was never positive on any test. He was guilty of hanging around some dumb jocks, and probably deserved his suspension. He has learned his lesson, it would appear, and there has never been a whisper either before or since linking him to any types of drugs.

Note – this is coming from someone who has never been that big of a Schafer fan. I think he was very cocky early. I saw him play for Mississippi and he did not exactly impress me. This was after the suspension, and it seemed as if he tried to overswing on everything, and he played lazy in the field. He began earning my respect when he made the big team the following spring, and I am willing to give him the benefit of the doubt now that he is fully healthy again. He seems to have matured. In an obtuse way, the suspension and injury may wind up being the best thing that could have happened to him for the long haul.

Bubba1121

February 21st, 2011
6:08 pm

All I have to say is that with a healthy Schafer in center field, there would be a lot less extra base hits. He has a rocket for a arm and faster than McOut.

Gumbylovespokey

February 21st, 2011
8:09 pm

Enjoyed your comments ramblingman, but the quote “I feel like [bleeping] success tells me quite a bit. Hopefully Schafer and McClouth competing will be good for both but with Nate’s contract, he is the starting CF. If Schafer is on the team all they’ll need are buns at the concession stands.

Greene Hornet

February 21st, 2011
9:25 pm

I’m not going to call McLouth names or anyone else for that matter. To me, they are all major leaguers and are trying to be better. They (Shafer, McLouth, Conrad, or anyone else who has had a bad time of it in a Braves uniform) recently have stood up like men, not bad mouthing the manager/ coaches, played their hearts out and let the chips fall where they may. Whether he is or isn’t the player he was at Pitt, it doesn’t matter. Until Gonzalez changes the lineup, McLouth is my centerfielder and I will root for and support him all the way- if not for his play, then for what is not written about which is him not whining, not complaining, not blaming others, etc like some players in the world of sports do on a weekly basis.

I’m not speaking for anyone else and everyone has a right to say whatever, but goodness folks, if you had a bad time of it at your work I’m sure we all would want support instead of ridicule. I’m sure we all want better play out of everyone in the lineup, but let’s at the least root for the underdog in McLouth, Conrad, etc and support these guys. If Shafer takes over, that’s fine and I’ll support him. I guess I support the team and pull for the weaker members until they get back on track. It’s been instilled in me in the military and in my family. I’m not going to dog out my kid if he fails. I’ll try my best to root for him to be better if he fails.

ChillyMutt

February 22nd, 2011
9:03 am

It was painful to watch Schafer after his quick start in 2009. There was something obviously wrong but but the Braves kept trotting him out there. Similarly, from watching McLouth play – bat and defense – last year, I think he must have some vision problem. Hopefully one or both of them can figure things out and be productive this year.

ramblingman

February 22nd, 2011
12:54 pm

Greene Hornet – well said.

ChillyMutt – I think that is a safe bet.

Bob the Blogger

February 22nd, 2011
3:48 pm

I think this is going to be Schafer’s year. He didn’t lose any of his talent due to the injury; he just needs some health playing time. I can’t fault him for trying to play through the pain. He had the hand checked by the best doctors available, and the diagnosis was that the bone was not broken, and was given the go-ahead to play.

If Schafer cracks the lineup at some point this year, and Freeman is as good defensively as they say, that will fix a lot of the Braves’ defensive woes.

Largo

February 22nd, 2011
4:19 pm

I notice Schafer has regained some of his cockiness now that he is healthy again. That was his attitude when he first came up to the majors but that’s ok, he played great until his injury. It’s good to have confidence and besides, It’s not braggin’ if you can do it. . . and I think he can do it.

Dave

February 22nd, 2011
4:35 pm

If Chipper can’t go – Prado at 3rd – Jordan and Nate at center and left! That would make a tremendous outfield.

Mark

February 22nd, 2011
7:01 pm

Looks to me like Freddie needs a bigger cap.

Dorothy Davis

February 23rd, 2011
1:52 pm

Am I the only one who see’s Jordan Schafer has baseball talent BUT lacks off field sense? He is a young man who has not learned how a MLB player should present himself on and off the field. Untill he gets that, he is destined to be a Minor Leaguer. If he does not step up and mature, he should not be a Major League Brave.

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