Talk with Chipper helps Schafer identify as leadoff hitter

Two years after going to Chipper Jones for help out of the slump that would eventually land him back in the minor leagues, Jordan Schafer went back to the veteran third baseman for advice on how to get back to the major leagues.

Schafer points to a conversation he had with Jones in spring training about what he needed to do to establish himself as a leadoff hitter that has helped him come into his own. It’s paying off now in his return to the majors after two years since his slump and subsequent wrist surgery.

Schafer has reached base safely in each of his first six games in center field starting in place of the injured Nate McLouth. Entering Monday, he had two bunt singles, four walks, and had scored the winning run in extra innings on Saturday night and the tying run on Martin Prado’s go-ahead two-run homer on Sunday night.

“I told him flat out you don’t make enough contact to hit up in the lineup here,” said Jones, who encouraged Schafer to hit the ball on the ground and use his speed. “’You’ve got to put the ball in play on the ground, put the ball in play to the left side, and be the table-setter. And until you start doing those things, there’s no need for you here.’”

Schafer said he took that to heart when he started his season in Triple-A Gwinnett.

“He was pretty blunt and pretty honest with me,” Schafer said. “That’s what I was looking for. Going into the season in Gwinnett this year, it was something I tried to apply every game. It’s worked pretty well so far.”

Two years after hitting a home run in his first major league at-bat in Philadelphia and going on to strike out 63 times in 167 at-bats, Schafer admits it might have been the worst thing that could have happened to him, outside of his wrist injury.

He’s shed that homer-happy approach and is playing within himself now. And if he doesn’t? He’s got somebody nearby who will remind him.

“Schafe will get kind of homer-happy on your every once in a while if he hits a couple,” Jones said. “And that’s not what we need. We don’t need a Napoleonic leadoff hitter. We don’t need somebody with that complex. I’d much rather have that guy who’s satisfied with the single and able to steal second.”

Upon further review

Catcher David Ross said Monday morning he thought he had tagged out baserunner Paul Janish at the plate in the eighth inning on Sunday night, representing the tying run in the Braves’ 2-1 win over the Reds. But after seeing the TV replay, he knows the Braves probably caught a break.

“It looks like his foot may have been in there, but at the time I thought he was out,” Ross said.

Ross probably benefitted from the fact that the throw from Martin Prado beat the runner, and with him going for a high swipe tag on Janish, it made it a tough call for home plate umpire Dan Iassogna.

“That’s a real, real tough call for these guys,” Ross said. “You can’t see both. You can see the high tag but you can’t see if his foot (was in there) at the same time.”

39 comments Add your comment

count_schemula

May 30th, 2011
1:47 pm

Great story and I think we see this in Schafer’s game.

count_schemula

May 30th, 2011
1:50 pm

Chicks dig the long ball. We saw this with Furcal too, all of the sudden he thought he was Derek Jeter with 20HR power. If Schafer can hit line drives, drop bunts to keep the infield honest, and take these walks he has a job for a long time. Nate set the bar low at the plate and in the field.

Bravo_fan 52

May 30th, 2011
1:54 pm

That article is superb great insight really pullin for this guy to make it in the bigs

eddiemathews57

May 30th, 2011
1:59 pm

Can’t fault Shafer for the throw trying to double-up the pitcher. McLousy would have double-pumped and the lollypopped the throw back to the cutoff man.

DC Braves Fan

May 30th, 2011
2:04 pm

Come on folks, we blogging or what? Let’s get some runs!!

count_schemula

May 30th, 2011
2:10 pm

DOBs other blog is the hot one at the moment. Blog mania!

Just Sayin'

May 30th, 2011
2:20 pm

Chipper, you’re the singles guy, that should be hitting leadoff, or at least #2.

Hughdaman

May 30th, 2011
2:23 pm

I would think as a little league player someone should have even told him then.

Bob the Blogger

May 30th, 2011
2:24 pm

Frank advise from Chipper. Schafer has the tools to be a good leadoff hitter, with occasional power thrown in. He’s playing like his hair is on fire – like he doesn’t want to go back to AAA.

Steve

May 30th, 2011
3:02 pm

Need to send Uggla down to work on his swing where he does’nt hurt the club.

Piedmont Blues

May 30th, 2011
3:10 pm

If Schafer keeps getting on base, he needs to remain the everyday leadoff hitter. His defense in CF is stellar.

Steve

May 30th, 2011
3:42 pm

Unfreaking believable,Braves can’t hit s##t !

mathman

May 30th, 2011
6:03 pm

Schafer has been on base 13 times in 6 games. He has to be the CF and leadoff man for this team to have a chance. Now, if we could get some hits by the guys following him.
Not a smart play to call a steal by Fredi today on the first pitch. The other team simply pitched out, and Prado didn’t swing to protect him. Looked like he was safe anyway, but the ump thumbed him out.

Hawes

May 30th, 2011
6:45 pm

Larry Wayne is a better hitting coach than Larry Parrish…

Can he talk to Uggly, too?

chas

May 30th, 2011
6:56 pm

chipper giving advice to schafer to hit singles maybe right but some time i think if chipper would take the bat off his shoulder, he might get a hit . to look at his average uggla might be hitting better right now

wayn-o

May 30th, 2011
8:27 pm

When McClouth or Heyward get back from their injuries, move Prado back to 2B & drop Uggla to the Minor for 2 weeks to get some confidence back. This is sad that some is making this much money with no results. There should be a clause in every contract to get some of the $$$ back if they under perform.

wayn-o

May 30th, 2011
8:31 pm

*drop Uggla to the minors

[...] Atlanta Braves [...]

JB

May 31st, 2011
2:01 am

Good advice from Chipper and good that Schafer had the maturity to listen. He has speed, but also needs to work on his base stealing.

bowilly

May 31st, 2011
2:48 am

Why keep hitting Uggla so high in order. If Fredi keeps playing him, 8th would be the spot. Or, bat him 4th in Gwinnett.

need4speed

May 31st, 2011
4:02 am

Amen brother!! What the Braves need is speeeeed!!! line drive,,, bunt on.. walk … just get on… steal 2nd, make the pitcher edgy…off balance… generate it… like nixon did.. oh where art thou nixon and sanders…

klmbbfan

May 31st, 2011
7:40 am

UGGLA- YOU ARE KILLING THE BRAVES, please take a back seat and let someone else bat, your glove has been great but you stink at the plate. You are the reason the Braves can’t score more than 2 runs per game. Come on if you can’t see this Braves oranization (Wren) then get out of the business.

Rusty

May 31st, 2011
7:57 am

We have to put yesterday behind us. Now lets go out there and get those two runs like I know you can.

Rusty

May 31st, 2011
7:59 am

The pitching needs to do a better job and throw more shut outs and no hitters and perfect games.

Prado 4 MVP

May 31st, 2011
8:17 am

Actually, Chipper should worry more about himself than another player. Maybe Chipper should go to Mac and ask him for advice on hitting right about now. Its not like Chipper is lighting it up these days.

jerry

May 31st, 2011
8:25 am

Wren has hamstrung this team with Lowe, KK, Nate, and now Uggggggly.

tom varacalli

May 31st, 2011
8:49 am

if Jones is saying his knee is bothering him and is not 100% and Uggla’s slump his getting worse when do you make some changes? 2 months have gone by and it looks like FG is the Cox clone they wanted all along.

John A.

May 31st, 2011
10:06 am

I certainly hope Shaffer’s time has arrived. With the performance of McLouth the job seems to be wide open.

John A.

May 31st, 2011
10:12 am

Jerry, I have stated many times that Frank Wren is not the person John S. thinks he is. If he had been worth his salt in Baltimore he’d still be there. You are being kind by only pointing out his present misques. Look back on the black eyes he has given the franchise.

EJM

May 31st, 2011
10:13 am

When Jhey and McLouth return maybe we can put Uggla on the DL and and Prado to play 2nd again.

Reid in EAV

May 31st, 2011
10:47 am

Table setters, check! RBI producers… hello? Hello? *crickets*

Tomahawk

May 31st, 2011
11:24 am

i have to say, ive been quite impressed with schafer’s mature approach. he seems less like a hot-shot and more like ballplayer. kudos, and keep it up, schafer.

Braves Fan Since "80

May 31st, 2011
11:51 am

Funny how we an see things in others but fail to see ourselves….same for chipper….. he does not hit the ball with enough power to be in the three hole and uggala does not make enough contact to be in the 5 hole….. When J hey comes back I would like to see him in the three Prado in the two and schafer owing the one B Mcann the four Chip five,Freeman 6, Uggly7 Agon 8

Hopefully Ugly will snap out of it and be the five….. I love the defense Schafer is showing should he keep his OBP above 350 we have to play him…… one more pop of speed in the outfield or a bat even inhouse and we will be outstanding

Smiling Jack

May 31st, 2011
12:16 pm

Hopefully, Dan Uggla does not read AJC blog comments. He, of all people, knows his failures. He has so much pressure on himself it leads to the reverse of what he wants and what you really want. He’s not going to the minors. He is not going to be benched for any long period of time. So why don’t you just shut up about him. Let him play ball! Go Braves!

Jborodawg

May 31st, 2011
12:44 pm

Amen, Smiling Jack. Saying Chipper should “stop worrying about…and worry about himself…” The advice was given in spring training; not last week. Uggla is just a complete mystery…to us and to himself.

The reasoning here is sometimes pretty pathet…uh, baffling:…if you’re not batting .300 you should be in the minors. That’d be about half the team. All gushy over Schafer…who’s only played six games. “…F.G. a Bobby clone…” I’m sometimes overwhelmed at the expertise…knowing more about managing and batting order than the manager…and more about hitting and fielding than a paid, pro player.

I’m not saying don’t post your opinions, I’m just sayin’….

DSGB

May 31st, 2011
1:30 pm

idk why people are so excited to see heyward coming back cause last i remember he wasnt hitting much either

alanfalcon

May 31st, 2011
4:26 pm

Glad that Jordan thought enough of Chipper to ask for his advice and then put it into action. I wish the rest of the team with a few exceptions would do the same instead of playing as individuals and not as a team when they are up to bat.

Dale_in_NC

May 31st, 2011
4:41 pm

No. It’s not so much that Uggla is killing the Braves, as it is Larry Parrish killing the Braves.

Choppinmama

May 31st, 2011
5:56 pm

alanfalcon –

are you even watching the games? These guys play as a unit, win as a unit or loose as a unit. There has been plenty of “picking each other up” in all kinds of situations this season so far. This team knows what it takes to play cohesively and always play to win. Their execution with the bat hasn’t been outstanding, but it hasn’t been my observation that any of them are playing selfish.

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