Jordan Schafer has a 35 Weighted Runs Created Plus (wRC+). Basically that just means he’s 65 percent worse than the average National League batter. Also, for all the credit he gets for playing solid defense, he’s actually accumulated -22 Defensive Runs Saved throughout his major league career. So over the course of his whole career, he’s 22 runs below average. Offensively for his career, Schafer has a wRC+ of 70.
When Frank Wren and company reacquired Schafer, I applauded the move. I thought this was exactly the type of player teams like the Braves should take chances on, players who have displayed tools and baseball skills before, who play a premium position, who have under-performed those tools and skills, and who are still young. I still think the Braves reacquiring Schafer was the right move.
But at this point, at age 27, and not showing signs of improvement offensively and not getting any playing time, there is no reason to keep Schafer around. Sure, Schafer is fast. But since he hasn’t shown that he can do anything else well he’s essentially a pinch-runner. There is value in having pinch-runners but not in pinch-runners who can do nothing else. Schafer isn’t a very good defensive player and all indications are he’s never going to hit in the major leagues. So the Braves are using a roster spot on a guy who only provides value as a pinch-runner.
The Braves could add another hitter, even if it’s not a player who can play centerfield, because they have Jason Heyward who could handle centerfield, if needed there. Or they could add a player who could pinch-run and who could legitimately provide good defense as a backup outfielder.
After two seasons it’s become apparent that the Jordan Schafer experiment should come to an end. They’ve given him ample time and he’s not shown that he’s capable of being even a good extra player in the majors. Maybe he can catch on with a team that can afford to play him everyday at the big league level, to give him one last chance to see if there is any chance he can get back to the tools and skills he displayed in the minors. But it’s time for the Braves, a team fighting for a division title, to let go of a player who so far has shown he offers limited value in the majors.