Tag: Jordan Schafer

Fantasy Baseball Sleepers 2012: Will Venable and 4 Versatile Value Picks

Fantasy baseball owners hoping to sneak underrated players with quality power and speed need look no further than Will Venable.

The San Diego Padres right fielder will likely be overlooked, as is the case for three other similar players on this list.

Your opponents’ misses are your gain.

These late-round steals offer fantastic versatility. They’ll produce home runs and provide plenty of points through stolen bases.

Patient, risk-taking owners will profit from Venable and more, while friends mistake bigger names as better talent.

Here are the four guys who will be available and will round out your squad nicely.


Will Venable

Venable will be disregarded merely because of the team he plays for—the Padres are awful.

Awful teams must be filled with awful players, right?


Venable hits a consistent .250, nothing overwhelming, but he’ll still give you around 15 home runs and 50 RBI.

Better yet, he’ll net you 30 stolen bases.

Decent numbers for a mid-round guy. Great numbers for a player who will fall to the later rounds.


Jordan Schafer

In just 82 games last season, Schafer hit two home runs and stole 22 bases.

At just 25 years old, Schafer has found a home as the starting center fielder with the Houston Astros.

Now that he finally has the opportunity to play a full season with one team, he will benefit and so should fantasy owners.

He has the speed to steal 30 bases and enough pop to hit around a dozen home runs.

Schafer, like Venable, plays for a bad team—the Houston Astros—so he’ll likely be forgotten by many when they’re putting together their draft boards.

If you’re daring enough to acquire Schafer, you won’t be sorry.


Tyler Pastornicky

The 22-year-old shortstop finds himself starting for the Atlanta Braves.

When considering players from the NL East, most fantasy owners will look at the big names on the Philadelphia Phillies and the Miami Marlins.

Even those who look at the Braves will likely pass over Pastornicky for Brian McCann, Jason Heyward and even Martin Prado, yet Pastornicky has the stuff to garner Rookie of the Year consideration.

In the minors, he averaged about six home runs and 35 stolen bases. The minor leagues haven’t provided him an opportunity to play in more than 125 games though.

His power and speed should continue to develop, and given 30 more games a season, Pastornicky can produce eight to 10 home runs and 40 stolen bases.


Dexter Fowler

In his fifth year, Fowler will benefit from consistency as the everyday center fielder.

Like Pastornicky, Fowler will be passed up by owners reviewing the Colorado Rockies lineup for bigger names such as Troy Tulowitzki and Carlos Gonzalez.

Fowler averages about five home runs each season, but hitting at Coors Field, there’s always hope he can produce more.

If he can stay healthy and start in 30 more games than he normally does, his numbers can easily rise.

Though he stole a low number of bases the last two seasons, he has the speed to steal over 25, as shown in 2009.

He’s only 26 years old, so he has youth on his side. Consistency and development will make him worth a look in 2012.

Read more MLB news on BleacherReport.com

Projecting the Houston Astros 2012 Depth Chart

2011 has been a year to forget for the Houston Astros. The only good thing that has come out of 2011 is a good look at some new, young players and the No. 1 draft pick in next year’s draft. Next year’s team is expected to be even younger than it is this year, with few veterans, returning sophomores and some new rookies. Although the team will almost definitely not be in contention next year, it still shouldn’t be underestimated. It carries a lot of young, promising and enthusiastic players who are eager to win.

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Atlanta Braves Spring Training 2011: Weekly Update for March 7-12, 2011

Throughout the process of Spring Training, I intend to bring you a weekly update on the progress of key Atlanta Braves‘ players and of the team as a whole.  As we all know, Spring Training is a situation in flux, so the status quo changes every day, much less every week.  So, in an attempt to better inform the reader and the fan, I’ll be bringing you week by week updates on the progress of players, coaches thoughts and more!  So, stay tuned and you might just learn something.

Nate McLouth enjoying hot Spring Training session

Coming into this season, there was a plethora of talk about the status of Nate McLouth.  McLouth, the former All-Star and Gold Glove winner who shined in 2008 with the Pittsburgh Pirates but has disappointed as of late and finished 2010 batting under .200, is experiencing a resurgence again.  If spring training is any indication and it seems to provide a trend in McLouth’s case, McLouth is off to a fantastic start this year.  Last year, the worst of his career, saw him hit .118 with one home run and four RBI’s through the course of Spring Training.  Out of 51 at-bats, he only had six hits.  This year is proving to be much different.  In the course of 15 Spring Training at-bats, McLouth has seven hits, two doubles, one home run, three RBI’s and is hitting .467.  Yet, there seems to be a tell-tale stat that provides a difference from last year.  In Spring Training 2010, McLouth struck out 16 times; the year before, he fanned 14 times.  This season?  None.  Absolutely no strikeouts to this point.  Plus, his walks (5) almost match the total for all of Spring Training each year in 2009 and 2010 (he walked 7 times each year).  Maybe we are seeing a revitalized Nate McLouth who is ready to reclaim his spot in center field and silence the naysayers.  I certainly hope he can return to his 2008 form and take this Braves squad to a ring.

Jordan Schafer heating up

If anyone has followed the saga of Jordan Schafer, you have to be rooting for this kid.  Drafted in the third round of the 2005 MLB draft, Schafer came with a world of promise and was a “toolsy” kid.  Then, in April 2008, Schafer was suspended 50 games for supposedly taking Human Growth Hormone (HGH), an allegation that was never proven; Schafer was tested but didn’t test positive and there was never any proof of him possessing HGH.  For a time, Schafer seemed to rebound, being named the starting centerfielder for the Braves in 2009; he sealed the deal with a first at-bat home run on April 5, 2009, against Philadelphia Phillies pitcher Brett Myers.  Yet, not two months later, Schafer was demoted to AAA Gwinnett after only batting .204 with 63 strikeouts in 167 major league at-bats.  To put the icing on the cake, he was demoted from AAA to AA Mississippi in July 2010 and subsequently placed on the DL with a season ending injury.  Schafer was about as low as a player can get.  Flash forward to Spring Training 2011.  After struggling this spring training, Schafer is starting to heat up.  Yesterday, against the split-squad Yankees, Schafer went 2-4 with a home run and a strikeout.  Schafer is good defensively, but his hitting needs to show some improvement to make it into camp.  Hopefully, Jordan Schafer will keep plugging away and get back to the glory he reveled in after being drafted. 

Luis Salazar improving following near-fatal on-field accident

If you have been under a rock for a week or so, you would be wondering what in the world happened.  While Brian McCann was batting, Luis Salazar was getting a little experience in a big league dugout before assuming his role as the manager of Class A Advanced Lynchburg.  Brian McCann pulled a pitch foul into the first base dugout that struck Salazar in the left eye, knocking him unconscious and shattering the socket around his eye.  While doctors say that his injury had the potential to be life-threatening, they credited the quick actions of medical staff with stabilizing Salazar prior to transporting him to the local hospital.  Only three days after this scare, Salazar is alert and speaking with family again.  There is no word as to whether or not Salazar will start his duties with Lynchburg on time.  Please keep this family in your thoughts and prayers; this incident makes one think of what happened to Mike Coolbaugh prior to the 2007 season when he was struck in the head with a line drive and subsequently lost his life. 

Notable Player Update

For a roundup of notable players, we’ll look at the guys expected to make a major contribution this year.

HOT: Chipper Jones is having a decent Spring coming off of knee surgery.  He’s hitting .276 (8-29) with 2 doubles, a home run, and 4 RBI.  He is also feeling more and more comfortable on that knee and feels that it won’t be a distraction this season.  Freddie Freeman is also having a good spring, batting .364 (12-33) with three doubles and four RBI.  One guy that is seeing the ball in a major way is Jason Heyward, who is batting .417 (10-24) with two doubles, an RBI, and a .517 on base percentage. 

NOT:  Brian McCann is having a rough time this spring, hitting just .182 (4-22) with 3 RBI and 4 strikeouts.  McCann was also the source of the ball that struck Luis Salazar, so we’ll look to see if that has any psychological impact on McCann as the season progresses.

What To Watch For Next Week

On Wednesday the 16th, Boston comes to Disney’s Wide World of Sports for a little spring fun with the Braves.  This will give us our first look at the retooled Red Sox, featuring Carl Crawford, Adrian Gonzalez and former Braves Jarrod Saltalamacchia as the new starting catcher. 

Read more MLB news on BleacherReport.com

Why Jordan Schafer Should be in Center for the Braves Before the All-Star Break

Does anyone else remember the hype machine surrounding Jordan Schafer from about, say, 2007 up until 50 games into the 2009 season?

The sky was the limit for this kid.

He was (and still is) a superb glove in center and has the potential from a speed/contact standpoint to turn into something resembling an above-average Major League talent.

Pretty amazing what a 50-game suspension and a broken wrist can do to a career isn’t it?

After winning the center field job in Atlanta in Spring Training ’09, Schafer promptly introduced himself to the Major League community with two home runs in the Braves’ opening series in Philadelphia.

Then, the strikeouts came (63 to be exact) over the next 50 games as Schafer saw his line plummet to an abysmal .204/.313/.287.

Hoping to remedy the problem, the Braves sent Charlie Morton, Gorkys Hernandez, and Jeff Locke to the Pittsburgh Pirates for a reigning NL All Star and gold glove recipient in Nate McLouth.

And all was good in Braves Nation…so we thought.

A .237 average and only (considering what the Braves thought they were getting) 14 homers in 129 games since joining the Braves has reduced McLouth to the No. 8 hole in Atlanta and left Atlanta looking around the outfield for an effective answer for their bat in center.

Amazing how things have sort of come full circle, huh?

Now, I think the time is fast-approaching to throw Jordan Schafer back to the wolves and to ship McLouth out of town.

You may be asking why I would suggest throwing a 23-year-old that has struggled to a .232/.319/.317 line in the minors this season into a situation that was not particularly kind to him last year with a guy with very strong potential already manning that spot.

For me, it comes down to glovework, money, and the future.

If you’re going to have a black hole in the lineup, he might as well be able to “go get ’em.”

While UZR painted McLouth as a “neutral” fielder at 0.8 and Schafer as below average at -4.0 in 2009, I think we can all recall Andruw Jones-esqe fielding prowess from Schafer last season while McLouth looked a little more like a mortal.

Or, to put this a little better, Schafer could fly around the field and get to a lot more in the field than the slightly-less-athletic McLouth. 

Add to that the fact that Schafer would be making the league minimum for what may well prove to be lackluster play as opposed to McLouth’s $5 million and the pendulum swings even further to the former No. 1 prospect in the Braves’ organization.

Oh, and let’s not forget that Schafer is still very “toolsy” and is likely to be the Opening Day starter in 2011 anyway.

Why not let him play through his issues a little more at the major league level (that’s how you have to learn)?

As I’ve been trying to say, it really couldn’t be much worse than what the Braves are currently getting.

Now, I’m not suggesting that this needs to go down today.

No, Melky Cabrera and Eric Hinske should be starting in the outfield right now along with J-Hey (both are swinging red-to white-hot bats right now) instead of the Hinske/Cabrera-McLouth-Heyward situation we’ve been seeing.

But once everyone starts leveling out a bit in terms of “playing to talent,” I think Schafer has to be the guy you look to.

Plus, if he starts to figure it out, he’s got the talent and speed that would look awfully good at No. 8 or leading off if he really works out the kinks (SomeoneFast, Prado, Heyward is scarier than Prado, Heyward, Chipper-—by a mile…and let’s remember that he drew 27 walks in 50 games which in one less than Jason Heyward’s 28 through 43 games, as a point of reference).

Nate-Dogg just isn’t doing the job for the Braves right now (and hasn’t looked comfortable at the plate in a long time).

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