Brewers By the (Jersey) Numbers – #22 Logan Schafer

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With apologies to today’s profile subject, I got a late start on things today.

After a long night of World Baseball Classic viewing, I needed some rest and had some things to get done today before being able to sit down and write up this installment of “Brewers By the (Jersey) Numbers”.

If you’ve been following along, you’re acutely aware that we sit exactly 22 days away from Opening Day at Miller Park. Therefore today we profile a player who looks to make his first Opening Day roster in 2013…

Logan Schafer.

Schafer

I’ve been following the minor league career of Logan Edward Schafer ever since his selection in the 3rd round of the 2008 First-Year Player Draft by the Milwaukee Brewers. He’s been on the cusp for a couple of seasons, earning September call-ups in both 2011 and 2012. There wasn’t a spot for him on last year’s ball club after the Brewers brought in Japanese star Norichika Aoki and committed to beginning 2012 how they ended 2011 with a hard platoon in centerfield between Carlos Gomez and Nyjer Morgan. Even after Mat Gamel was hurt and Aoki eventually became a starting outfielder with Corey Hart’s move to first base, the Brewers kept Schafer starting at Class-AAA Nashville so he could continue to develop. The benefits of that patience should be seen finally in 2013.

Following a 2011 season in which Schafer hit .331/.401/.521, big things were expected again. That didn’t work out right away as Schafer had a slow start to the 2012 regular season. He wasn’t alone in that as many of his Nashville Sounds teammates fared similarly. Schafer was only hitting .269 through the end of April and actually hit worse in May when he totaled a .262 average for the second full month of the season. Schafer would break out in June to the tune of .344/.375/.510 before a cover-your-eyes awful July in which he only hit .162 in 19 games. It would cause his season batting average to plummet 25 points before rebounding to finish out his Triple-A season before getting the call up to Milwaukee.

Defensively, Schafer performed customarily well once again. A scout told me that at times Schafer took poor routes and relied on his plus speed to simply make up the ground, but certainly has a plus defensive profile overall. He can play all three outfield positions well and does cover a ton of ground. He will be a most valuable bench player in Milwaukee, capable of spelling any of the starters for a game here and there. He should also prove valuable to Ron Roenicke as a pinch-hitter and pinch-runner. Schafer has demonstrated good instincts on the bases and while he doesn’t have a stolen base percentage that is considered to be “worth the risk”, he can still swipe a base on occasion to help out as well.

The biggest thing about 2013 for Schafer though is the realization that it might be the final season for Gomez in Milwaukee. There could be a couple of turnovers at key positions for the Brewers going into 2014, in fact, which both have an impact on Schafer. For example, if Hart is re-signed and Gomez leaves, the Brewers could put Hart back in right field and theoretically shift Aoki over to center to bring up Hunter Morris to play first. Rather if they leave Hart at first or simply let both him and Gomez walk, Aoki likely remains the starter in right and Schafer assumes the everyday job in center.

For the Brewers’ to be successful in 2013 with the plan they have in place to enter the season, Schafer won’t be getting many opportunities to show what he can do which is why he needs to make the most of the chances he does get. To be fair, if Schafer is starting every day then that means either Gomez or Aoki suffered a major injury and that would negatively affect the Brewers from a plan perspective. Still, Schafer should get enough chances especially when considering that Roenicke believes that playing time is the best way to keep players sharp.

To Schafer’s credit, he’s making the most of the extra playing time this spring with Ryan Braun away at the World Baseball Classic. Schafer is hitting .346/.370/.462 entering play today.

Those numbers will serve him quite well in Milwaukee regardless of his eventual role.

Miss anyone along the way? Catch up on the Brewers By the (Jersey) Numbers profiles to this point:

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