Schafer placed in the leadoff spot

Braves manager Bobby Cox has put Kelly Johnson back in the lineup for Saturday’s game against the Astros.  But Johnson will be batting sixth, while Jordan Schafer gets his first chance in the leadoff role. 

Schafer is undoubtedly the closest thing the Braves have to a prototypical leadoff hitter.   During the past nine games, the 22-year-old rookie center fielder has hit .273 with a .529 on-base percentage.   The 12 walks he’s drawn during this span are encouraging and also a product of the fact that opposing pitchers have been more comfortable facing the other hitters at the bottom of the Braves lineup. 

In the 19 plate appearances he’s collected while beginning an inning this year, Schafer has hit .375 with a .474 on-base percentage.

The fact Schafer has just one stolen base attempt this year is also a product of his former position near the bottom of the order. He has the speed and instincts to record at least 25 stolen bases this year. 

Plus while batting in front of Yunel Escobar, who has a 3.75 groundball-to-flyball ratio, Schafer is going to find himself involved a lot more hit-and-run attempts.    Escobar also puts the ball in play, striking out just seven times during his first 77 at-bats.

You have to like Schafer and Escobar at the top of the lineup together.  There was little doubt that Cox wasn’t going to put Johnson back in the leadoff spot and yesterday I ran these graphs while wondering if Cox would use Escobar at the top of the lineup and wait a little longer to put Schafer in this role: 

In 72 career plate appearances while serving as his team’s first batter
of the game, he’s hit .429 with a .444 on-base percentage.

In the 251 plate appearances he’s gathered while leading off an inning, he’s hit .333 with a .378 on-base percentage.

But with that being said, Schafer is the best option in the leadoff role and I don’t think putting him there will affect his development.  He’s had just one rough week during his first month in the Majors and I think you’ll see him show some of the same patience that he has displayed while hitting seventh and eighth this year.

The only question is, will pitchers approach him in the same manner?

This move also benefits Johnson, who has the ability to be a solid run producer.  In the
133 at-bats he combined for while hitting sixth or seventh last year, he hit .294
and seemed much more comfortable in roles that allowed him to maintain
his aggressive offensive approach.

Despite his three-RBI performance last night, Jeff Francoeur is hitting fifth today.  With the Astros starting right-hander Roy Oswalt, Cox has put the left-handed hitting Casey Kotchman back in the cleanup spot. 

Back from being with his wife while she delivered their newest child yesterday, David Ross is back behind the plate for this afternoon’s game.   

 
       

14 Comments

Mark, for my birthday, can you tell me what you think of a trade for David DeJesus? I like the idea especially because of his contract.

BTW I dont like Schaffer batting leadoff yet, I like him at 8th (If he leadsoff the inning). Then the pitcher bunts him over and we have golden opportunity to score

What would DeJesus brig to the Braves that they don’t have now?

Clutch/Situational Hitting, .300-plus average, double-digit homers, steals and 125-plus runs.

His career highs, not averages, are 12 HR, 73 RBI, and 11 SB (and barely over 50% ratio). He has only hit .300 once, and he has only had 100 runs once.
SO, where do the your numbers come from, because THAT guy we could use.
You sound like the guys telling us Kotchman is going to hit 20 HR with a .300 average when he has never had either.

Those numbers are ESPN’s 2009 projection granted not the most reliable 2009 stats but better than anything G. Anderson, Matt D, or Brandon J. can put up. Kotchman might hit 8 – 15 HRs and will reach anywhere from .250 to .275ish although he is fully capable of winning a Gold Glove

Agreed with rother, Pass on DeJesus.

Not a fan in particular of G.Anderson but willing to give him a month if he can trouble himself to make it on the field daily to see what he can do. If he(Anderson) can’t remain healthy nor produce then I would still look internally at a couple of options, B.Jones, Infante, Barton,Blanco.

If McCann can return healthy our LF needs to play good defense and probably hold down the #7-8 slot in the order.

Like the lineup today with Schafer leading off, only thing I would have changed would be Infante playing LF today. Keep him in the lineup while he’s hot.

If we are still struggling to score runs then yes LF can be a place to possibly upgrade by the Trade deadline.

My number one option for an upgrade that is affordable in terms of acquistion would be Randy Winn.

Switch hitter with some XBH pop. Good speed, good glove and by all accounts a solid clubhouse presence.

Also most importantly on the final year of his contract, leaves Wren needed flexibility.

Last part of post above disappeared.

Before anyone trashes Winn,

He had 107 XBH during the last two seasons along with 40 out of 45 stolen bases. Very underrated player that can help any pennant contending team.

David Dejesus is making about 500k a year until 2011

Look, I’m not willing to say DeJesus isn’t better than any of the options that the Braves currently possess. He gains this nod as a decent defensive player with some speed. But at the age of 28 last year, he enjoyed a career season that included a .307 batting average, 12 homers, 11 steals (19 attempts) and an .818 OPS. He’s making $3.6 million this year and his salary increases to $4.7 million next year. In 2011, he has a $6 million option with a $500,000 buyout.

I hope this doesn’t ruin your birthday, but I’d have to say there are better options out there. David mentioned Randy Winn and the Braves have shown interest in him in the past. But for now, we’re just going to have to give Garret a chance to prove that he wants to play here. But even with his max effort level, he’s going to have to do a whole lot of hitting to compensate for the defensive skills that have seemingly been lost.

Dude, I can understand salivating over the possibility of bringing in an Adrian Gonzalez or a Mark Teixeira or a Jake Peavy or even a Ryan Ludwick, but David Dejesus?

Not salivating just an option, I dont really care or take offence about trades and signing because I know I have no control over it, and thanks Mark and no it didnt ruin my B day but tanking my SNL audition might ; )

Thanks everyone!

Something I want to know, Since Fox is supposed to be running this race at 7pm tonight, if the Braves don’t start playing until 6pm, who’s going to air the rest of the Braves game tonight? Peachtree? SportSouth? FSN?

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