Jordan Schafer was once one of the top prospects in the Braves organization and in all of baseball. In 2008 he was the number 25 prospect by Baseball Americaand in 2009 he was ranked 42nd. In 2009 Schafer broke camp as the Braves starting centerfielder and the organization had high hopes for him after an impressive spring. He opened the season pretty hot but he soon started to decline and was soon sidelined for the remainder of the year with a left wrist injury. He played for a bit with this wrist injury which potentially did much more damage. Schafer went on to have surgery on that wrist in the offseason. He saw only 195 plate appearances at the big level and 38 PA at AAA in that 2009 season.
In 2010, Schafer was still recovering from this injury and struggled once he started to play. He spent the year between class A and Triple A and did not see anytime at the big league level. His line was .201/.268/.255 and things were not looking good for Schafer at all. In 2011 he spent time at both AAA and the major league level but he still was not performing but in July he was placed on the disabled list with a chip fracture in his left middle finger. The Braves were in need of a center fielder at the deadline after Nate McLouth went down and they made a deal with the Astros for Michael Bourn and Jordan Schafer was a part of the package to Houston.
Schafer went on to finish the year as Houston’s starting center fielder in 2011 after recovering from injury. He hit .245/.314/.311 in 118 plate appearances. Now that brings us to 2012.
Schafer broke camp as the Astros 2012 center fielder and he has not disappointed thus far. He is hitting .348/.423/.478 as the Astros leadoff hitter. While the sample size is very very small, only 26 at bats so far, things are looking promising. He has put together a handful of multi hit games now and he’s already hit more homerun. Prior to this season he had only 4 career homeruns. Schafer is also showing off his impressive speed after picking up 3 stolen bases in one game.
This is such a small sample size but Shafer has flashed this potential in the past and now that he is healthy, he could keep this up. Schafer is still young at age 25 and I think we will see a solid year out of him in 2012. He would be a nice sleeper in the average department as well as with stolen bases. He could turn into something similar as to what happened to Cameron Maybin. The Marlins had high expectations for Maybin but he was not able to live up to those. In 2011 though, at age 24, he really broke out with the Padres, earning him a nice extension.
I know the season is still so very young and Schafer’s performance is such a small sample size, but you have to be rooting for this kid after not living up to expectations early on in his career and dealing with injuries. It will be interesting how the rest of the season unfolds but I am buying into Schafer turning it around in 2012.