I’ve spoken about him recently, mentioning him as a sleeper for the Braves (click here to read). With the trade of Josh Anderson to Detroit (for Pitcher Rudy Darrow) the door now seems open for him to break camp with the team (click here for more on the trade). Yes, they could still utilize Gregor Blanco, but Schafer has been quite impressive this spring and that scenario just seems unlikely. If Schafer wasn’t going to be given the job, it seems like the Braves, a team who want to compete in the NL East, would have kept Anderson around a bit longer, until Schafer was ready.
This spring, Schafer is hitting .373 (22-59) with 1 HR, 3 RBI, 13 R and 5 SB. That seems like the perfect type of player to be sitting atop the Braves order. This is the type of performance everyone expected to see from him last season (in 2007 he hit 15 HR, and had 23 SB between two Single-A levels), though a 50-game suspension for HGH certainly played a role.
Strikeouts have continued to plague him, striking out16 times this spring (a K% of 27.12%). That certainly is not prototypical of a speed option and should be kept in mind. Last season at Double-A his K% was 29.63%.
Still, in 5 OFer formats he is a player that holds plenty of potential. While he could develop into a speed/power option down-the-line, this season seems to be more about his legs. Think of him as a player along the lines of Carlos Gomez and Cameron Maybin, though his speed may be slightly below theirs. There is value there, but I wouldn’t do anything drastic to get him as the average has the potential to struggle.
What does everyone else think? Is Schafer a player you are considering using at this point? Why or why not?